Pop-rock outfit’s sophomore album tops the charts
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With two Grammy awards under their stylish belts, millions of copies of their debut album sold and the first single from their second album climbing the Billboard Hot 100 chart, it’s safe to say L.A. pop-rock act Maroon 5 have quashed any doubts about the dreaded sophomore curse.
“We tried not to think about that; we’ve been playing music together since we were 13 years old, and so we know what it feels like when it feels really honest and sincere,” said Jesse Carmichael, the band’s keyboardist during a recent stop in Toronto. “Everything that we did while we were writing was the result of a moment that felt really natural, and so all the songs came about really spontaneously.”
Mixing the soul, R&B, funk and pop beats that made Songs About Jane a bonafide hit a few years after it was released in 2002, their latest album, It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, was written in a mansion in the Hollywood Hills formerly owned by famed magician Harry Houdini and rumoured to be haunted.
The album, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard album chart when it was released last month, gets its name from a nonsensical quote taken from a book of comments compiled while touring.
As for how the band manages to maintain a unique sound despite massive commercial success, Carmichael said it could be because their inspiration comes from a variety of genres.
“Maybe (it’s) because we like to listen to a lot of different styles of music, and so one day it could be Bob Dylan that’s influencing us and one day it could be Wu-Tang Clan, and so when those things come together,” Carmichael pauses, then laughing, he continues: “That’s basically what our band is: Bob Dylan meets Wu-Tang Clan.”
The addition of new drummer Matt Flynn also changed the band’s sound, Carmichael said, and it’s the group’s decades-long friendship that has allowed each member to stay level-headed despite sold-out shows, screaming fans and critical accolades.
“We’re all here to keep each other in check and keep reminding ourselves that this is just some kind of surreal experience that we’re having,” Carmichael said. “We’re just like everybody else, and we’re playing music ‘cause we like it and it just so happens that people all around the world get to hear it.”
As for what expectations he has for the album — Carmichael says he has none.
“I’m just sitting back and watching what happens; it’s too big to try and get my head around.”