By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Apr 29, 2008 at 5:15 AM

For better or for worse, it's decidedly difficult to talk about Maritime without mentioning the band's precursor, The Promise Ring. To this day, the Davey von Bohlen band is still credited for spearheading that mid-'90s Midwestern brand of "real" emo, despite its eventual evolution into something much more tuneful than tempered.

This evolution set the stage for the makings of Maritime in 2003, a band that has seen some fairly significant growth in its own five-year run. Where 2004's debut "Glass Floor" lingered around von Bohlen's gentle croon, 2006's sophomore release "We, the Vehicles" returned the quartet to rock.

But it's the band's latest, "Heresy and the Hotel Choir," (Flameshovel) that best delivers the summation of the past decade in music and perhaps inadvertently explains where the band's wanted to be all along: Soaking in the success of a solid indie pop record.

Even in the wake of last year's standout release, Maritime seems to keep a rather cool Milwaukee profile, playing intimate shows at small bars, and working and drinking at others.

We caught up with drummer Dan Didier to hear about the band's recent Japan tour with Jimmy Eat World and upcoming show at Turner Hall Ballroom on Saturday, May 3. And as an added bonus, he tells us, without any hint of sarcasm, why he feels Milwaukee is the greatest city in the world. You guys just did a stint in Japan with Jimmy Eat World. Do you do pretty well there these days? And was it just a coincidence that "Heresy" was released on the same day as Jimmy Eat World's latest?

Dan Didier: We do really well in Japan, actually. It's really fun over there. This was Maritime's third time going over and opening for Jimmy was fun, but I enjoyed the shows that we played ourselves a little bit more. The last show, in Fukuoka, was completely nuts. We played an all night party with bands and DJs and everything in between. When we went on stage the crowd went crazy and the whole show was a total party. Very memorable.

It was a complete coincidence that "Heresy" and Jimmy's new one were released the same day.

OMC: Anything I've read on the band recently mentions a collective letting go of expectation and preceding reputation. It's probably incredibly refreshing, but it's an interesting juxtaposition, having just released what's arguably become your most successful record in years. Is the pressure back on now?

DD: The pressure isn't on to make another "successful" record; the pressure is on to make another record at all. With our families and school and work it is becoming very difficult to find time for the band. So, if we make another record that would be a feat. THEN, we'll see if it is any good!

OMC: Is it strange to you to never have really left Milwaukee after all these years and all these bands and successes? Now, of course, there are families and kids involved in the equation, but was there ever much wanderlust among the group?

DD: For me there was never wanderlust because the constant touring all over the world sort of filled that void. For that reason, Milwaukee is the greatest city to me. Not only is it my home, it is the perfect city to come home to. Big enough where there is always something going on, but yet small enough where you never feel overwhelmed.

OMC: The upcoming Turner Hall show isn't attached to any lengthy tour, or really any other shows at all. Was it just a good opportunity to play a show with Headlights?

DD: No, the idea for the show came first. Headlights second. I really wanted to play the new and improved Turner Hall so it just seemed like a spring show would be really fun especially after the long and harsh winter we just had. Milwaukee Maritime shows are usually at the Cactus Club, so this show will be a bit of a leap of faith.

OMC: Are there any plans to play Summerfest this year? And, the inevitable final question: Is there another record in the works?

DD: No plans to play Summerfest. For some reason "the powers that be" never really ask us to play or we don't make any real effort to try and play. The last two times we supported friends of ours that personally asked for us to play. The ol' "outside in" approach.

We are playing around a bit with new material, but that is the general idea: To try and do another record.

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”