DC Scene Interview: Maroon 5

The DC scene interviewed the Grammy-winning soul and funk-influenced rock band Maroon 5. The band from Los Angeles, Calif., is comprised of five members: Adam Levine (lead vocals, guitar), James Valentine (guitar, backing vocals), Jesse Carmichael (keyboards, backing vocals), Mickey Madden (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Matt Flynn (drums). Maroon 5 is best known for their hit singles "Harder to Breathe," "This Love," "She Will Be Loved," "Sunday Morning" and most recently, "Makes Me Wonder."

Maroon 5 has won several awards for its debut album, "Songs About Jane." Released in June 2002, the album enjoyed major chart success, going gold, platinum, and triple platinum in many countries around the world.

DC Scene: Originally you guys called yourselves Kara's Flowers. Why did you end up changing it to Maroon 5 and how did you come up with that name (Maroon 5)?
Jesse Carmichael: Our music had changed a lot since we released the Kara's Flowers record and watched it fail completely -- thankfully, in the long run, because it helped us get better -- and also helped us really appreciate everything that's happened since then, and so when James joined the band, we knew that it was a new thing altogether. In terms of Maroon 5, no one outside of the band knows what it means, except for Billy Joel -- true story.

DC Scene: Were there any challenges that affected Maroon 5 early on being signed to Octone Records, an independent label?
Jesse Carmichael: We were really fortunate to have Octone as a label, because they were prepared to stay with us and help keep us out on the road during the long first couple years of touring while we were slowly convincing people that we were a good band. There wasn't anything else that sounded like us on the radio so we all knew it was a gamble ... and any other major label wouldn't have been as committed to the organic nature that we made a name for ourselves. Then once things started up, we moved up to J records who were already paired with Octone, so they'd at least known about us from the beginning, and that made the transition a lot smoother.

DC Scene: Has winning a Grammy changed the band in any way, shape, or form?
Jesse Carmichael: Those kinds of awards are really flattering and helpful, but it's not a competition ... everyone is a Grammy winner in our eyes. Especially Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins.

DC Scene: Just how special did you feel when MTV asked you to be on a episode of "Cribs"?
Jesse Carmichael: I think it's a shame that people are encouraged to look into other peoples lives so much. The culture of celebrity is pretty shallow and the whole thing seems like a big distraction. I don't think we would do that show again if they offered it to us today. It probably made us feel pretty special at the time though.

DC Scene: About how many MySpace messages do you guys get each day?
Jesse Carmichael: I just checked ... we have about 16,000 messages on our page right now. Too many to tackle with our schedule of traveling ... we don't get enough sunshine as it is.

DC Scene: What was the privilege like playing on the most popular TV show in the U.S., "American Idol"?
Jesse Carmichael: It's a great honor to get that big of an audience's attention. It's nice to get to play your music for a lot of people at one time.

DC Scene: And finally, what can fans expect from your new album?
Jesse Carmichael: The best that we were capable of at that time ... and then the next one will be even better.

DC Scene: Thanks Jesse

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