When Maritime formed from the ashes of seminal emo-rock darlings The Promise Ring, people weren't sure exactly to expect, especially with the addition of Dismemberment Plan bassist Eric Axelson. Their first album, Glass Floor, was drubbed in some circles for being too lightweight, but, really, it was drubbed because everyone thought it was going to sound like the Dismemberment Ring. Songs like the gorgeous "Window is the Door" and the poppy "Someone Has to Die" showed there were far more important things going on than just aiming for that six-string sweet spot. Their 2006 disc We, The Vehicles was more immediate and striking, and by the time that Axelson left, lead singer/guitarist Davey Von Bohlen and drummer Dan Didier went in an even further guitar-rock direction, resulting in 2007's fantastic Heresy & the Hotel Choir.

Sitting down with Evcat, Von Bohlen and Didier do a great tag team interview, discussing their dual legacies, ignoring expectations, and regretting that darned Tony Hawk video game.


>>To be quite blunt, I think you guys had one incredibly difficult hurdle to overcome when you first started out: there was just too much anticipatory hype surronding the idea of a Promise Ring + Dismemberment Plan sound, which, of course Glass Floor was about as far from as you could imagine with its wistful acoustic indie-pop. How did this effect you as a band?

Davey: Not really at all. For whatever reason, we always expect to get panned for everything we ever do, and always have. Every bit of criticism and ego-stroking seems to fall somewhere outside the group and we just keep doing the same thing. Seems to me, to take public opinion and let it influence you isn't authentic.

>>Of course you now have three full-lengths under your belt, and Heresy wound up rocking much, much harder. How has the gradual electric-guitar pileup changed your live shows?

Dan: Well, our live shows now have a lot more energy than our first couple tours when we were playing Glass Floor stuff. Not that we didn't play the Glass Floor stuff without energy, its just that the latter songs were written with the idea of playing them live in mind, whereas with Glass Floor we just put whatever we wanted into the songs without any forethought of playing those songs live (i.e. layering every song with strings, piano, horns, etc.). So the transition from studio to live for the early songs was pretty tough. So when we started writing We, the Vehicles it was a conscience decision to keep the instrumentation a lot simpler. So, I guess to us, simpler instrumentation equals rock.

>>I look back on the Aidos EP and your tons of B-sides and unreleased tracks: what goes into the process of deciding what goes on an album for you guys?

Davey: We just pick the good songs. Actually, that's true: when we reach that stage, it is always pretty obvious which songs are definitely in and which group are definitely out ... The group on the fence tends to reveal themselves during recording, where songs grow and fall apart one last time. They pretty much sort themselves out.

>>It feels like We, the Vehicles was very much designed as the disc to break conventions that Glass Door set up, proving your ambition was more than just lo-fi acoustic strummings. What went into that disc that was so different? Now that you've firmly established yourself as an indie-guitar act, what's next?

Dan: The biggest difference with the writing of We, The Vehicles was that Eric Axelson was in the writing process from the start. With Glass Floor, the songs started with just Davey and I and we didn't get Eric involved until later in the writing process. We also didn't rely on ProTools as much. We started in the studio with us playing the songs and only went to the computer when the songs were mostly fleshed out. Heresy was the same way, but this time with Justin Klug and Dan Hinz. Well, we are just starting the writing process for the next record, so its too early to tell what it may sound like.

>>Do you still feel bound to the Promise Ring legacy at all, or does Maritime mark a completely new phase in your life?

Davey: In as much as I was part of it, and it me ... yea. I don't think of songs with legacies or expectations. I think of them as individual statements and I am just really happy to still be creating and interacting with them.

>>Lastly, in your career thus far, what's been your biggest regret and, conversely, what's been your proudest accomplishment?

Dan: My biggest regret, honestly, is that while I was in The Promise Ring I didn't learn a craft or something while we were living off the band. Instead I got really good at the Tony Hawk video games. But, as far as an accomplishment, I guess I am just happy to still be able to do this. Being able to travel and tour (albeit a lot less now with all of our family responsibilities) and write songs with guys I highly respect for such long time. Its something to be proud of.