Whilst normally adorned in some suave iteration of suit, when I meet Meggie Brown in the freezing backstreets of Manor House, she is tracksuited and with dog. I am taken around the corner to the windowless warehouse space she’s been living in, which also functions as a rehearsal and recording space, as well as hosting some of the wildest parties around (with recent performances from the likes of Amyl and the Sniffers and Porridge Radio). Unlike many of Meggie Brown’s contemporaries, there is no middle-class townhouse or parental countryside retreat for Meggie – her living situation is just another symptom of her voracious commitment to her art, with all its’ highs and lows.
“Why would I care about a big break, when things are already so broken?” she begins, referencing the struggles of being a broke, independent artist in the streaming focussed world of today. However, when read in the context of recent single Boys Boys Boys, a humorous panning of male masculinity, one senses this comment stems more specifically from the fraught experiences of a queer person within the ‘boys club’ of indie music. This is not to say that such struggles are something she allows to depress her musical output, serious as they are. “Everything I write seems to contain some form of sadness, and with things like mental health it really is how I process a lot of stuff. But I realised that just because a song comes from quite a dark place, it doesn’t have to be presented like that – I just think people need cheering up a little bit”. Indeed, the band seem to relish the sort of creative freedom and challenges posed – the music they make would seem somehow less vital if backed by a boardroom or patriarchal hegemony. Whilst in parts sad, there is a joyful spontaneity to Meggie’s music, with a ‘more the merrier’ attitude to both the process of creation and her brilliantly ridiculous live show.
Having barely been a band for two years, Meggie Brown have cycled through 21 members, and have fluctuating numbers of between 5 and 8 at any given gig. Constantly learning and evolving on-the-spin, there is a slightly ramshackle air to the music, with the boundaries between performance and real life heavily overlapping as they progress. “The band is a total mess, but that’s not a negative thing. Sometimes you can’t control the way things are going to go, but that’s part of what makes it so fun, and why with no money involved, we’re able to keep going and keep playing”.
With their last single Journey of Goodbye receiving national acclaim, and with several EP-related plans in the works, the decision to embrace the chaos and trust her gut instinct seems to be the correct one. “Humans will do as and what they please – no one likes to be told what to do or what to like”, Meggie concludes. “I have nothing to lose, so why would I not do things my own way?”
BY DAN PARE