'We're more focused than we've ever been,' says guitarist James Valentine
Though it's only two singles into the campaign, the highly collaborative experience of making its new album, "Overexposed," has Maroon 5 chomping at the bit to make its next album already.
"I think we're more focused than we've ever been, and all we really are interested in doing now is working on music," guitarist James Valentine tells Billboard.com. "Usually we'd be on tour and have fun and come back home and use that time to make a record. Now I think we're just at a point where we feel like there's more music in us than that. I always have my laptop with my recording interface, and there's usually always a few things I'm working on at any given point. So, yeah, we're working on a lot of stuff. I think the next recording's going to be ready a lot sooner than our previous records."
"Overexposed," of course, is just at its starting point, with a No. 2 debut on this week's Billboard 200 chart and a second single, "One More Night," just out to follow the Wiz Khalifa-featuring hit "Payphone." Valentine credits co-writers and producers by Max Martin and Shellback with inspiring "One More Night," explaining, "We've wanted to do a reggae-influenced sort of track for a long time...and they came up with what I think was the perfect sense of the reggae feel with a beat that is very contemporary, and it's so much fun to play live." Shellback, he adds, is responsible for the tune's hook. "He was the one who came up with the 'Moves Like Jagger' whistle," Valentine says. "This is just another piece of ear candy like that. He's got some sort of mad genius for being able to create these little earworms that instantly get stuck in your head."
Despite the presence of myriad collaborators -- including Benny Blanco, Ryan Tedder, Mailbox, Sam Farrar and others -- Valentine considers "Overexposed" to have "actually more band collaboration than on any of the previous three records." That includes bassist Michael "Mickey" Madden stepping up to co-write three tracks, while Valentine shares credits for four and also co-produced three. "At this point, 10 years in, we had to switch it up and we needed some new inspiration," the guitarist explains. "At the beginning I think we were a bit territorial, thinking 'What does this mean for our roles?' and 'Are we just simply fulfilling the prophecy that everyone said from the moment we got on the scene that, oh, Adam (Levine) is going to go solo?' But it was really education for all of us to work with all these different writers and producers. We learned a lot of new tricks and got to see their processes...So it actually opened up more collaboration within the band."
Not on board at the moment, however, is original keyboardist Jesse Carmichael, who in March announced a hiatus from Maroon5 for "spiritual healing" and also to further his musical studies. "He wanted a break, and it's totally reasonable," Valentine says. "We've just worked really intensely ever since 'Songs About Jane' came out, and he's been playing music with Adam and Mickey since they were 13, so that's 20 years of playing music with the same guys and he just wanted some time to do some other stuff." Valentine says Carmichael's decision was amicable, and the group expects him to return for its next album.
Maroon5 begins touring in support of "Overexposed" on July 21 in Stateline, Nevada, it's only scheduled U.S. date so far. The group will play South America and Mexico this summer and the Pacific Rim and Australia during early fall, with a North American run expected later in the year.