Last year’s LP The Incessant consisted of 12 tracks of heart stopping, abrasive and socially conscious punk music. Not fierce and powerful just for the sake of playing loud rock music, but seemingly an outlet for a band and a community of music listeners living in modern day America, and for that matter the world. The release came via Big Scary Monsters over here and SideOneDummy in the US and saw the Chicago trio break new ground since the release of previous LP Delusion Moon, life’s inner turmoil and experience as human beings took it’s toll on the Steve Albini recorded excellence of The Incessant. Meat Wave return harder, darker and more possesive than ever before.
Tonight Meat Wave play The Louisiana in Bristol following a 12-date stint in mainland Europe covering 8 countries, the tour falls to a close this Friday (Feb 9th) with a special show at The Lexington, London.
We caught up with frontman Chris Sutter after Meat Wave‘s show in Luxembourg, which he described at “fucking nuts”, to get the low-down on their European tour, independent music in Chicago and their new-found love of Wetherspoons.
5 minutes with… MEAT WAVE
You guys arrive in the UK on the tail end of Independent Venue Week UK, a week that celebrates the spirit of independent music and those venue’s that give bands their first shot. How important have these types of self-run venues been for you back home when you were starting out?
“Chicago is big on DIY spaces. Houses, lofts, art galleries and so on. They come and go but new ones are always popping up. When we started playing shows, we would just play anywhere. And everywhere. So it’s super important in that you’re able to hash it out in a community that is usually warm and open and receptive. There’s not really a music industry in Chicago so it’s people making stuff for the sole purpose of being creative. And those self-run venues you’re talking about create a space for people to do that and support each other.”
Given the chance to travel 20 years into the future for one day, what would you do?
“This might be a boring answer but I’d be really interested to see where music and art is headed. I’d try to experience that. I imagine it can only get weirder and cooler. We will probably be living in a terrifying dystopia, I don’t really see it getting easier for humans to get by. But people will always have music and art. And as the climate gets more tense I think people will just keep getting weirder with it. Obviously pop music on the radio will be atrocious, but the punk and hip hop and such on the fringes will be amazing.”
During your last tour it became public knowledge that MEAT WAVE very much enjoyed the delights of Britain’s best kept secret Wetherspoons? What was it in particular that drew you in to our national treasure?
“We were in Budapest this past week and I was talking to someone who had worked there before, and she was appalled that we loved it so much. She just kept saying “don’t ever eat there. Just don’t eat there.” But we can’t not unfortunately. What’s great for us is obviously that you can get an English breakfast with a beer for incredibly cheap. There’s not one place in America where the beer is included in your meal. I also love the fact that they’re usually in these pristine old train stations or theaters while also being really trashy. You got the alcoholics showing up when the doors open, you have families, young people partying. It brings the people together!”
What is your favourite venue you have played in Europe so far this tour? And your favourite band you’ve seen?
“We’ve been super lucky on this tour. Venues are so different out here than in the states. Promoters and people who work or volunteer at the venues care so much. It’s amazing. The ones that come to mind right now are Gleiss 22 in Münster, Mochvara in Zagreb and Rotondes in Luxembourg. Last night we played a sold out show on a boat in Rotterdam. That’s a definite highlight. But literally every venue we’ve played on this tour has been amazing. Promoters in the states should all be required to take an educational trip abroad. We’re traveling around with Decibelles from Lyon right now. They’re my favorite band I’ve seen in a long time.”
If you had to take a foreign music fan, such as I, out for one night in Chicago, where would you go? And why?
“There’s two venues that I really love, The Empty Bottle and The Hideout. I work at The Empty Bottle, but I genuinely love it and am sure that it’s the best venue in the city, at least for punk rock. But those places are both kind of dives, they sound amazing and there’s a real lived-in, homey vibe to them. A lot of warmth.”
Can you recommend some music from Chicago that you like for anybody reading this..
“We are very spoiled in Chicago. There is so much good music. Off the top of my head: Oozing Wound, Melkbelly, Dehd, Rad Payoff, Dim, Sophagus, Lifestyles, Foul Tip, Ono, Paper Mice, Absolutely Not. That’s a good place to start.”
By Karl Johnson