Maroon 5 are about to set sail on another exhaustive world tour, promoting their second album, 2007's It Won't Be Soon Before Long – but the LA band's third release is already taking shape. “It's going to be some sort of collaboration record, with a lot of different artists from the hip hop world,” according to Jesse.
"I think that it's seductive to get into the mindset of hedonism and pleasure and the whole way you can lose yourself in music, and sex.”
Would you work with Kanye West again? “It would be great to work with him again. There will be a bunch of artists, and other singers, and other musicians. We're going to do some new songs, and some remixes and collaborations with people on the songs from this record [It Won't Be Soon Before Long],” he continues, though he confirms their next album will be once again delayed by their lengthy series of tour dates. “You don't have a lot of energy left behind for the whole creative side of things,” he says.
Jesse's collaboration wish list? “From the hip hop world, I would like to have Method Man. From the jazz world, I would say, Herbie Hancock. Stevie Wonder is at the top of our list, the all time musical genius. “We like the greats in every genre,” he says emphatically. “Whether it's hardcore, or metal, or pop music. It's a little bit of Slayer, and a little bit of The Eagles, mixed together.” They've already stepped into the studio with a few different talents, most recently – Mary J Blige. “She's so incredible to watch when she's singing, she really connects to something deep inside of her.”
Though the band's next release is a while away, “We just shot a new video for the song Goodnight, Goodnight. That's my favourite video we've ever done,” he says. “It's a split screen video all about what happens at the beginning of a relationship, and what happens at the end of a relationship, and the cycles people go through. When you see them happening side by side, it's very interesting. The director, Mark Webb, did the video for Harder To Breathe - the first video we ever did. It was nice to return back to him. He did a great job,” he says.
The making of the band's third album will reflect the lessons learned from the last, an intense, year-long process. “We just worked with different producers and re-recorded some songs a bunch of times, we really made sure everyone in the band was happy. I just wanted it to come from a very sincere place.” Actually laying their songs down in the studio was, “a little more difficult ... It's easier when you're alone with your friends making music to be really free – then when it gets time to execute the songs in the studio, there's a bit of pressure that makes it harder. Next time around, we'll make the writing process and the recording process one and the same.”
"I think it would be outdoors, as the sun was starting to set,” he says of his ultimate gig. We'd have some great opening bands. I'd want to figure out the best opening band possible. Do you know Sara Barreilles? She's a great singer, just starting to break in America,” he asks. “It'd be a lot like a very magical DVD we just watched of Wembley Stadium, with Queen. There would be pyrotechnics and flying suits but there would also be some very intimate moments. We're all about the extremes at both ends. We want to go all the way into rock and roll cliché, and then we want to pull back and go all the way into acoustic. We're all over the place,” he says. Expect both extremes on their upcoming Australian tour.
How do you see the relationship between your music and women? “I think that it's seductive to get into the mindset of hedonism and pleasure and the whole way you can lose yourself in music, and sex. I think it's really important to pull back from that temptation and keep things rooted in a grounded way, in situations and relationships that are very stable, and involve a lot of trust. That's the kind of relationship we're all looking for. One that's shallow and surface is not what we're looking for,” he says emphatically.
So wild after parties are off the agenda, in theory. “We've all figured out touring can't be a 24 hour party. In a lot of senses, we're athletes now. We've got a yoga teacher that comes on the road with us, and a chef to prepare really healthy food. It's all about keeping our bodies fit and our minds sane.”
It took a while to come to this place – on the 6th of February, Jesse celebrated 14 years in a band with singer Adam Levine, They formed their first band, Kara's Flowers, in high school. “We just sent each other text messages congratulating each other on making it alive this far,” Jesse laughs.
“When we were 14 years old, it was Pearl Jam and Nirvana, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Yeah, all those bands were our heroes,” he says of starting out. “We would stay up all night on the phone talking about Pearl Jam and the concerts we'd seen that weekend and how badly we wanted to do that for the rest of our lives. We laugh about it all the time that it worked out that way."
There's been “so many wild twists of fate. Things that we weren't expecting, things that came true that were so incredible to watch happen. There was the difficulty of losing Ryan, our drummer... every emotion you could imagine.”
“Everyone's always in some degree of relationship drama or another,” Jesse says of his band. When Ben Lee's admiration of their way with women is brought up, he laughs uproariously, “Really?!!” he says. “If you want to get deep, the heaviest part of life is the whole dynamic between men and women.” What are your best tips for the dudes out there? Sadly, no Casanova guarantees are forthcoming.
Beyond the complications of womenfolk, Jesse is heartened by his fellow musos, which are everywhere in Hollywood. “What gets to me is there's this whole thing between generations - the greats from the older generation looking in at what's happening, and liking it. That's very cool. I'm always surprised when we meet people from the older generation who like what we do. Ron Wood, from The Stones was really nice to us when we opened for them because his daughter really loved our band, so he took it upon himself to be a gentleman. The same with Bruce Springsteen, The Police, too. All those situations are very surreal.. These are bands we grew up with, idolising from a distance, and all of a sudden our lives are intersecting theirs.”
“They're intertwined, how you are as a person is how you are as a musician,” Jesse says of lessons learned in life and music. “Listening to other people as they're playing their thing and harmonising with them. I think the biggest lesson is the concept of listening and taking in what's going on around me. Whether it feels good or bad, it's something that you've got to pay attention to and learn from. Then you know it comes down to that thing that John Lennon said – all you need is love.”