Maroon 5 Discuss Sia-Penned Gwen Stefani Duet & 'Experimenting With Electronic Elements' on 'V'
Maroon 5's upcoming new album "V" represents a continuum from 2012's platinum "Overexposed," according to guitarist James Valentine.
"We didn't really stop recording after we finished 'Overexposed,'" Valentine tells Billboard. "On 'Overexposed' we started working with outside producers and writers, and we just kind of kept the process going after we finished with that record because we built great relationships with these guys. Things are just a little bit more relaxed now, because we have Adam [Levine] doing ['The Voice'] and the touring thing is a little different for us. So the writing and recording just keeps going, and ['Maps'] seems as much like the fifth single off of 'Overexposed' as it does the first single from ['V']."
"V," which is due out Sept. 2, finds Maroon 5 again working with collaborators such as Ryan Tedder and Benny Blanco (including on 'Maps'), Shellback and Max Martin, as well as new associates such as The Monsters and The Strangerz, Jason Evigan and Sam Martin.
"A lot of our fans would love to hear us make another 'Songs About Jane' type of record, and I think as some point we'll go back in and make a record in that sort of way, but this is not that type of record," Valentine explains. "I think it's a natural evolution for us. The sounds that we're interested in right now are coming from lots of different arenas, lots of different worlds. It's not the way we used to make records. And it's about wanting to be part of the dialogue of what's happening on radio right now and being a part of that. It's more of a producer's medium right now. So right now it's about experimenting with more of these electronic elements and more of the beats and seeing where that takes us. That seems more exciting right now."
"Maps," Valentine says, was brought in by Tedder and Blanco and "just sort of workshopped" into the form it's in now. "It really has those elements of the Police that have always been a huge, huge influence on us," Valentine says. "We're usually trying to do stuff that sounds contemporary but is still classic. I mean, everybody says that. That's what they're always going for. I think that song sort of achieves that, at least in my mind."
Valentine also expects some excitement for the track "My Heart is Open," which was co-written with Sia and features No Doubt's Gwen Stefani, who's joining Levine on the upcoming season of "The Voice."
"Living here in Los Angeles we've known Sia for a long time, back from when she was just an artist, before her second act as, like, the most brilliant pop songwriter of all time, so it was really cool just to work with her," says Valentine.
No Doubt, he adds, influenced Maroon 5 predecessor Kara's Flowers. "It's cool for all of us to have her on the record. And Adam won't shut up about how cool she is as a person. A lot of times when you meet your idols it's a letdown, but it's the opposite case with Gwen, apparently."
"V" also marks founding keyboardist Jesse Carmichael's return to the band after sitting out the "Overexposed" cycle, "proving he's maybe the sanest person of all of us," Valentine says with a laugh. Due to Levine's TV schedule, Maroon 5 aren't planning to hit the road in support of "V" until early 2015, but he says there will be special promotional performances and "random one-off" concerts for the rest of the year.