- Mon, 2007-11-26 11:14
Maroon 5 released their third single Won’t Go Home Without You on Nov 19th. This coincides with their first UK tour in over three years which kicked off at Nottingham Arena on November 25th 2007.
I Like Music caught up with guitarist James Valentine before he headed home for Thanksgiving to talk about the new single, playing live and bizarre fan encounters
''I Like Music because.... it is a gateway into the present moment.'' James Valentine, Maroon 5
ILM: Your new single Won’t Go Home Without You was released this week. Please describe its vibe and how it came about?
James: This was one that Adam wrote on his own and brought in to us. Sometimes we’ll jam and write a melody to it, but this one was completely finished by Adam before any of us saw it, so he brought it in. It’s just one of the most sincere simple songs that he had written ever. It’s one of my favourite songs that he’s ever written in our entire career. It’s a very simple song. It reminds me of the harmony and chord progression of the Beach Boys kind of Motown-esque kind of song. So it was real easy to figure it out. We started playing it and when we first started playing it, the arrangement was more like The Strokes, because we were just strumming on these notes really aggressively. But then we got in the studio and it took on this Police sort of vibe as we added a chorus and moody guitar part.
ILM: You guys Mike and Spike (Mark Stent) produced it together. Is there anything you learned from those guys on this track or the album?
James: Oh yeah absolutely. Mike’s strength as a producer, he’s a great musician, so he really helped with the parts. He’s not only a great bass player who plays bass on all those Dre tracks and a million other things, but he’s also a great keyboard player, a great guitar player and comes up with some really great parts. Then Spike is just a wizard with sounds and one of the best mixers, so we were really lucky to have him there.
ILM: You kicked off your first UK tour in over three years on November 25th. What do you look forward to most about playing live?
James: I mostly look forward to getting up on the stage. Everything else around it can start to tedious after a while. I love travelling and seeing the world, it’s one of the best things about what I do. But mostly I like that moment right before we get out there, when the lights go down and we start to hear the crowd go crazy, then no matter what was annoying me that day goes away and we get up there and have a great time.
ILM: Adam performed with Stevie Wonder at Live 8 in Phili. Who would be your dream musician to perform with (dead or alive)?
James: For me it would probably be Frank Zappa.
ILM: Can you describe either the most bizarre and/or the most wonderful moment you’ve ever had while touring?
James: I had a very strange experience recently where we were signing autographs and there’s often a lot of strange fan interaction, but this one was definitely strange. This girl grabbed my arm and she sprayed it with perfume and she frankly said, “I want you to smell like me!” That was pretty bizarre.
ILM: Please describe the Maroon 5 process of making such good music? Is it the lyrics and rhymes that come first or the melody?
James: It tends to follow a few different pathways. Either we’ve got a riff or a chord progression that one of us has written and then Adam will come up with something over it, or we’re all begin on something together and it’ll organic come out that way or Adam will finish the song completely. And it’s funny because it never goes the same way and a lot of times songs will be laying around for a really long time before they end up being used
Makes Me Wonder was sitting around for four years and This Love was pieces of two different songs that had been laying around for a long time, that we ultimately put together, so it is fairly random.
ILM: It Won’t Be Soon Before Long’ is a very polished record with a fusion of pop, R&B and rock and it got to #1 in the UK album chart and in seven countries in all. Which track on the album was the most fun to record?
James: That would be Can’t Stop, that’s one of the songs that I co-wrote. And that’s one of the ones we did with Eric Valentine who produced Queens Of The Stone Age who I’m a big fan of. We were going after that sound in the studio, or at least our version of our sound. And that was a lot of fun because we could be like, well how did you get that drum sound on that record and then we’d go after it; it was fun.
ILM: What's your advice for young people on pursuing their dream career?
James: I would give the same motivational speaker type of advice, which is to find out what you’re passionate about and then go for it. Always be trying to improve your craft, and as long as you’re doing that then you’ll continue to move forward.