Last month we were able to chat with Meat Wave, a punk rock band from Chicago. The interview took place in a basement of Michigan’s finest college town following their set. After a sweat-filled and electrifying performance, the power that the trio brought to Metal Frat left everybody’s ears buzzing, even one of the members of Protomartyr, who was in attendance. Below, read what the band had to say about their past tour experiences, future plans, and least favorite Christmas movies.
What The Sound: Are you guys currently touring Delusion Moon?
Chris (singer/guitarist): This is the third part of the Delusion Moon tour. In October we began doing an East Coast run from New York, zigzagging down to Florida, and then from Florida we drove up to Washington D.C. and flew out to Iceland for Icelandic Airwaves festival, which was great, and then we did a month in Europe.
Ryan (drummer): Actually we played a few shows with Protomartyr, which is one of my favorite bands, and Alex was actually here tonight which is awesome.
Chris: So, yeah, this is the last week of it all.
Did you go to the West Coast at all?
Chris: No, we’re doing that in February.
You two are both from Chicago, right? How did Meat Wave begin?
Chris: Both of us grew up in McHenry County.
Ryan: Northwest of Chicago.
Chris: Yeah, we moved to Chicago when we were 18 or 19.
Were you in different bands at that point?
Chris: We were actually in a different band together. It started when I was in high school—when I was 15 or 16—and that’s how I met Ryan. He joined the band, and the first time we were playing I met him. Joe, our other player, also grew up in McHenry County, but he went to school in Madison.
Ryan: He records bands too. That’s how I met him. He was recording another band of mine. Crystal Lake peeps.
Have you two had any very memorable experiences on this past tour?
Chris: Some little weird things happened. Some culturally strange things happened to us. For some reason I’m thinking about when we went to Prague. We checked into this hostel, and they served us Vodka shots upon arrival.
Was it good Vodka?
Chris: I don’t think so.
Ryan: It wasn’t good.
Chris: That was strange. It’s all been kind of strange.
Ryan: What’s kind of funny is that they didn’t seem like they were really… they were kind of cold, at first, but then they busted out the vodka.
Chris: This is what happened: she offered us shots of ‘welcome’ vodka, and she took our passports, and then we asked for our passports back. Then she said that she would bring them to us. Then she gave us this vodka, which may or may not have been poison, and then gave us our passports, like a half hour later. Mostly it’s been great, and we’ve met nice people, pretty much every day.
Ryan: The first two times Joe drove because he knows stick shift. This time, though, it was just too stressful. We didn’t want Joe to drive and to be stressed, so we found this guy Phil. He drove us around, we borrowed all of his gear, and we became really good friends with him. I think this is the most fun European tour that we’ve done. It was really fun and fucking crazy that we got to do it.
And there was a good turn out to all of those shows?
Ryan: Yeah, there were no bad shows.
Chris: Absolutely no bad shows.
Ryan: There were at least ten people at each show. In some respects we do better in Europe than we do in America.
Chris: Yeah, like when we did the East Coast before that—like no one was in Pittsburgh and Buffalo.
Why wasn’t “Symmy” released on Delusion Moon, but rather on the B-Side?
Chris: We recorded it with all the Delusion Moon tracks. It was an extremely new song.
Ryan: We spent a very short amount of time recording the main tracks for the album. [Symmy] didn’t turn out…
Chris: The arrangement wasn’t how I pictured it, but I think it’s fine. It’s a cool song, it just made sense to put it out there and be done with it.
We like the album art. What is that?
Chris: Thanks. Our friend Matt, who does this really cool hip-hop project called Sophagus designed it. He’s my really good friend, and I gave him the album when it was done. I said we wanted something minimal and kind of dark, just do whatever you want. So he painted the black cover, he painted that and it’s an actual gold plate. I think he kind of channeled The Dark Side of The Moon a little bit. It was all him, and we all liked it. We never really agree on art, also.
Ryan: That was the only one.
Chris: So we all agreed that it was right for it.
How did SideOneDummy find you?
Chris: It might have been through playing with PUP in Chicago, but we’re kind of unsure. They don’t really work with bands who sound like us. We heard they were interested in working with us, so we got on the phone with them. They were super nice, excited people. We didn’t really talk to anyone else like that, so it made sense for us to do it.
How do you go about writing your songs? Is it a groupwide effort?
Chris: Most of the time I go about coming up with a concept, or a phrase—very little things. Then kind of make a skeleton of a song, we play it, and then it kind of molds into something else. Just as long as we’re all satisfied with it, it works out.
Ryan: Usually you’ll bring the song, and then we will work it out—the dynamics and all.
Chris: Usually it exceeds my expectations with what it could be with them playing it.
Growing up in Crystal Lake, were there any bands that have influenced the way Meat Wave goes about making their music today?
Chris: Definitely the Brokedowns. They were the first punk rock band I ever saw. I didn’t know anything about punk. I saw them in a skate park in the seventh grade. They blew my mind. They were not good compared to what they are now, because they just keep getting better. Anyway, their whole style, aesthetic, and the way they wrote songs completely changed me. I feel like it’s a lot like the way we do now. Last year I got to record with them. Full-circle dream. Life is fucking crazy.
What about you, Ryan?
Ryan: I think for me the Brokedowns is one of the first local bands I was really attached to. There was this website in high school called Epitonic that just came back, and I learned about a bunch of other random bands through that. Music is great.
Any dope bands coming out of Chicago that WTS’ readers should know about?
Ryan: Melkbelly, who played with us tonight. Oozing Wound, Heavy Times, Earing, Ne-Hi, Lil Tits.
Chris: High Priests.
Ryan: They’re fucking amazing. Rad Payoff is another. There’s a lot more. We can go on forever.
Any acts that you guys hope to tour with in the future?
Ryan: We did get to do three shows with Protomartyr, and that was pretty crazy.
Chris: I hope we could play more with them.
What’s your least favorite Christmas movie?
Chris: It’s A Wonderful Life.
Ryan: That movie sucks. I haven’t seen it as an adult, I just remember thinking it was too long, and too fucking—
Chris: —I know the song It’s a Wonderful Life, and I would say… this might be an unpopular answer, but, A Christmas Story. I don’t like that movie.
Joe (bassist): I like that movie a lot.
Chris: Christmas Vacation is my favorite.
Joe: I watched it on the plane!!
What do you think about the upcoming revival of cassette tapes?
Chris: I don’t really want to rule out any medium. I don’t really listen to tapes.
Joe: Tapes are annoying.
Ryan: The reason why I got into tapes is because all my CD players were all broken, my iPod was broken, and I had a tape player.
Joe: One of my objectives next month is to get a working, home stereo CD player. A single disc, like a Sony.
Chris: Joe loves CDs.
Joe: I’m Joe, and I love CDs.