theaussieword’s special interview with The Meow Meows.
Tell us how it all started. What had you first interested in music?
Personally it was hearing Def Leppard and Guns n Roses when I was 8 and getting stupidly excited, like a whole new forbidden world had opened up right before me. I know the rest of the band all full-on love music in the same way, and I assume they had similar experiences with different artists at some pivotal moment in childhood or adolescence. The Meow Meows started when we gathered together the remains of a few broken up Brighton bands and decided to pool our scant resources. We were content to get drunk and practice on a Wednesday evening in the decommissioned freezer underneath our bassist’s shop. Then we started getting offered gigs, decided to make a record, and then thought it would interesting to see how far we could take it whilst still remaining true to the reason we got together in the first place.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music? We wouldn’t claim to be great, but we’re doing our best. Ultimately, we’re motivated because it’s a lot of fun. And we all enjoy spending time together. Or, if you wanted to get really personal, it’s probably some unhealthy deep-seated need to gain approval from our peer group in order to compensate for the lack of encouragement we received as children.
What are your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist? I just want to make an album that we can all be proud of. Or, if not proud, significantly less ashamed. I think we’ve managed that with “Go Boom!”
Success, what is the secret to it? I don’t think you’re addressing this question to the best-placed person or band to be answering it, to be honest. If you find out, do let us know!
What has been your biggest career highlight so far? Our new album is our favourite thing we’ve done so far, by far. Our best gig was probably closing a stage at Boomtown Fair a couple of years ago, playing to a couple of thousand pogo-ing lunatics at two in the morning and watching the steam rising from the crowd. And we’ve supported some legendary bands like The Skatalites, and The Temptations.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring? I think we’re more inspired by people who aren’t stars, by artists who aren’t massively successful but put out their own music on their own terms, because it’s what they want to do. Right now I find Sleaford Mods really inspirational because they’ve managed to resonate with a lot of people through being dark and hilarious despite being thoroughly uncompromising with the sounds and language that they use. And we’re also inspired by bands from our hometown like Bloom, Skinny Milk, Sea Bed, Town of Cats. Great music in loads of different genres with no expectation of commercial success.
The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now? I wouldn’t be disappointed if we were still in a similar place to where we are now, as a group of mates that do gigs occasionally.
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye? The internet has been great for us as a ska band, because it’s not a genre that gets a lot of radio play or media coverage, yet there’s pockets of ska fans all round the world. And before the internet we wouldn’t have had any way to reach them. Last week I posted album pre-orders to New Zealand, Israel, Poland, and the USA. It’s amazing to think that we have people who care about our music in countries – or even continents – that we’ve never even been to.
Name a few of your favourite Aussie artists. Hard to overlook AC/DC – the embodiment of rock n roll. There’s no better band in the world to soundtrack a road trip in a high-performance vehicle or a knock down drag out fight in an Outback bar. Probably. Matt likes John Butler. Much respect to Nick Cave for putting out consistently great albums for decades now. He lives in Brighton too; I’ve seen him buying tomatoes. Oh, and Hanna loves Iggy Azaelia and isn’t embarrassed to admit it. But she should be.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour? Well we’ve got a new video for “Pretty If You Smile” coming out soon, then our third album “Go Boom!” is going to be properly released by the end of the summer. We’ll tour it as far as we can, but because there’s so many of us and we all have different jobs and responsibilities, it’s hard to go further afield than the odd European weekend trip. We’re definitely planning to tour again by the end of the year though.
Tell us a bit about your latest record, how would you best describe your music? It’s a soul / punk / motown / garage rock and roll mash up, like a five-way fight between The Specials, Blondie, The Shangri-Las, The Clash and X-Ray Spex.
Do you have any new projects in the pipeline?
Is that non-Meows related activities? A lot of us play in other bands – Matt in Voodoo Love Orchestra, Danny Boy in The Get Rids, Ian in THRUS. Danny Girl draws cartoons and graphic novels; http://dannynoble.tumblr.com
. I do freelance music composition and production:http://alexdhaymusic.com/
Thanks for the interview! What final message do you have for us today? Thank YOU for the interview! Final message? I don’t think anyone could improve on Bill and Ted’s “be excellent to each other”. My final final message is I’m going to get a bagel now.