Oracle Appreciation Event headline band Maroon 5 members talk in depth about their life in music and the musical life.
You probably get this all the time, but can you tell us the story behind your band's name?
We do get asked that all the time, but unfortunately we’re still keeping it a secret. Sorry!
How does the collaboration work when you jam? Who starts, who lays down a structure, who changes the structure as you play?
The way we work has changed over the years. When we started working on songs for "Overexposed" we started accepting tracks and songs from other writers and multiple producers for the first time. We brought in a couple different producers on that album and now we’re doing it again while working on new songs for the next album. They made us approach the collaboration process on a song differently; now we’re all getting more involved in writing and production, where Adam used to do a lot of that. So, now it varies: sometimes we just jam by ourselves and bring in something we laid down to try out with the other guys, or someone submits something to us that we go into the studio and rework and change the way we like it for one producer or another. There’s no specific method to the process, we’re open to any way that we can create a hit song.
Which comes first: lyrics or melody? Discuss.
Again, like as mentioned above, it varies. Sometimes, Adam or one of us has some lyrics pop into our head that we have to put down on paper immediately and start building a song around. Or we get a melody in our head we start playing out and then build the song and lyrics around. But, as mentioned now that we’re getting more song submissions from outside that have both melody and/or lyrics already down, we take what we like and add to it.
Which is more fun for the group: recording or playing in front of a live audience? Why?
Definitely playing in front of a live audience because the energy is so much different when you’re on stage. In a recording studio you have the presence that’s where you are. When you’re on stage performing live everything goes away and you’re in a different state of mind—you just go to a different place and everything fades but the energy from the crowd. It’s the best feeling.
The video of your hit "Moves Like Jagger" has been played on YouTube more than 165 million times—that's more views than there are people in Russia! Why do you think this song/video was such a smash?
We took a risk with that song and went in a new direction with that style pop that we hadn’t really done before. I think the combination of bringing on Christina, debuting on The Voice with The Voice’s success at the time, all caused a perfect storm and we hoped it would have that reaction but couldn’t believe and still can’t believe it’s become as big as it has.
What other past musicians/groups influence your sound? How about current musicians/groups?
Prince, Police, Stevie Wonder, Frank Zappa, the Beatles, the list could go on with past influences. Currently, can’t say we pull influence from what’s out here now, but Mumford & Sons is a big favorite of ours.
What keeps you mentally enthusiastic, engaged, and energized while you're on the road touring?
The fans, 100% the fans have always been there for us and supported us every step of the way for the past 10 years. And since "Moves Like Jagger" we’ve brought on a whole new demographic of fans and we love being able to go out and play the new songs they love and introduce them to the old ones that the fans since Day 1 love so much. So, that’s what keeps us going throughout a long tour is getting out there every night playing for them.
Did you ever think Maroon 5 would be as successful as it is?
Well you hope it all goes this way when you start as a musician, I think every kid who picks up a guitar, or drumsticks, or sings wants to imagine themselves as successful performers one day. But, it still is a shock when we go out there and play sold out arenas or get a #1 single that we’ve actually made it here and have been able to stay up there as of recent.
Are you musicians first, or entertainers? Or are they one and the same?
Musicians first, they are one and the same but we definitely love to play first and foremost for the love we have of music. Started out playing to entertain ourselves because we loved what we heard from others entertaining us with the music they loved to create and play. So, we’re home playing around on instruments and working on new songs because we love music and being musicians. But, we love entertaining others with the music we love to make.
Do you most prefer playing in a large venue, or in a more intimate setting? Why?
There are pros and cons on both of those. Large venues are amazing because there’s nothing like performing in front of that big of a crowd with the noise and energy you feed off the crowd on. But, intimate venues and shows are great because it reminds you of what it was like to first be starting out as musicians and trying to make it winning people over in a small room. We like to get our fair share of both to balance it out.