Interview: Meat Wave

“Pretty much all of my experience writing before this was very outward looking, observing what was going on around me,” Chris Sutter reflects. When Meat Wave released ‘Delusion Moon’ in 2015 it pushed the band to new heights and saw them perform in front of more people than ever before. Around this time things started to change a lot for the then 24-year-old frontman. Separating from the girlfriend he’d been dating for half his life, the musician found himself experiencing the world in a wholly unfamiliar way.

“It was kind of like learning to ride a bike again,” he describes, “or like learning to walk again after coming out of something very traumatic or intense.” It’s these intense emotions that became the building blocks for Meat Wave’s newest album, ‘The Incessant’. “This record was soundtracking the internal struggle of feeling anew, and feeling the confusion of ‘What am I feeling?’ and ‘Why am I feeling this?’ then ‘What do I do next?’” Chris depicts.

The spark to start influencing the album might have been a separation, but ‘The Incessant’ is far from your typical break-up record. Raging with an almost unyielding energy, the album drives forwards with a gripping momentum. “It comes from a brutally honest place,” Chris construes. “I feel like if the music reflected that any more it’d be a real fucking downer of a record,” he laughs. “We like to play really loud and really fast. I think we’ll always retain that in a way.”

Putting pen to paper in the months after ‘Delusion Moon’ was released, one motif emerged that would go on to shape the group’s future output. “I would do these stream of consciousness poems when we were touring,” the frontman recalls. “Just day to day, when you’re in different cities, trying to journal and remember things. Amidst that, this phrase ‘The Incessant’ kept coming up…” Struck by its resonance, this phrase was the “guiding light” in the creation of Meat Wave’s third record.

“I appropriated it into this feeling of feeling overwhelmed emotionally, and feeling very confused – like you’re in this whirlwind of emotion and feeling,” Chris illustrates. Drawing from his own very real experiences sculpted the writings into the songs you hear today. But the prospect of sharing these songs – and the admissions within them – with the world wasn’t one what came easily.

“I felt that seeing this project through would make it, so I was just focusing on the negative points of my life or the wrong decisions I’ve made,” Chris mulls. “I’d have to see that through. I thought that it didn’t sound like that much fun.” Singing about the past every show while trying to move on from it all wasn’t exactly what the frontman had in mind. “I feel in a different place now,” he clarifies. “I feel more positive and like I’ve got my head on my shoulders. I’m just trying to be a good person and live my life.

Weighing up these reservations, the group finally decided it was worth seeing these songs through. “I felt like it would be a disservice to myself and my music to not be completely honest about what I was going through or what I was feeling,” Chris explains. “It’s good to kind of look back on it and reflect on it now, but it’s just kind of there. Which is I guess the whole point of it: you can’t deny it.”

Exhibiting a newly-identified honesty while compromising none of their raucous nature, Meat Wave’s latest album is the sound of a band at their most forceful. “We wanted to change things up,” the frontman demonstrates. Recruiting Steve Albini on production duties, the group set about doing just that. “It was tracked and mixed in four days,” Chris states. “It was really great. It feels like we’ve pushed the band in a direction that we really wanted to go sonically.”

The culmination of that sound arrives in album closing track ‘Kill The Incessant’, a three and a half minute crescendo of noise purpose made to leave you stunted. “Near the end of writing I began to think ‘what does this idea of ‘The Incessant’ actually sound like?’ and ‘Can I pinpoint that sonically?” Chris depicts. “It’s trying to kill this idea of ‘The Incessant’ taking hold of you and controlling your emotions in a way.” Building a wall of sheer volume only for it to dissolve into an acoustic melody right at the end, the track effectively wipes the slate clear for whatever might follow next.

“It’s just a sigh of relief,” Chris expresses. “We can move on and do other things.” With tour dates across the US, UK, and Europe already in place, Meat Wave are determined that their time is right now. “In a way, it’s felt a little stunted, like we were a little behind,” Chris says, thinking back on the two-year process that led to ‘Delusion Moon’. “Now we’re in a different place where it all feels very new,” he declares excitedly. “It feels like Meat Wave in 2017.”

Beginning to bring ‘The Incessant’ to life at shows, the band are starting to thrive. “It was way more emotional than I thought it’d be,” Chris ponders on performing their new music live. “We’ve been playing those songs for a year or so, just through writing and recording them. We’ve just been waiting to release this, and to play new music,” he enthuses. “It feels like the time is very ripe for us and our music right now. It feels good for it to be here finally.”

Gearing up to hit the road and bring their music to as many venues as they can, Meat Wave are making the most of every moment. “I feel like there’s so much music, and a lot of it is really good,” Chris states. “It would be easy to put our record on in the background, listen to it, and then move on. But I would hope that people can relate to it, and maybe it can help someone who feels like they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

As they begin to feel that their time is right, with ‘The Incessant’ Meat Wave are laying everything on the line. “We’re at this point of being a band where we’ve tried to do it a lot, but it’s really hard for a band in our position to live off that – and we don’t necessarily expect to do that,” Chris deliberates. “It really comes from an honest place,” he comments of the new record, “which I’ve never done before. So I hope that it can maybe help someone – and I hope that people can rock the fuck out to it.”

Meat Wave’s album ‘The Incessant’ is out now.

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