By Ilana Kaplan
There’s a ferocity to Meg Myers that is rare in the music soundscape of 2014. Her songs bring up the kind of feelings that are hard to talk about, but they don’t really need any explanation because when Meg yells or snarls, you can feel the impact. She recalls the explosive nature of Fiona Apple in the ’90s or the desperation of Nine Inch Nails, one of the acts that influenced her new music, but in talking to Meg, you get the idea that there are a couple of sides to her—sure, she can muster up a blood-curdling scream, but she also enjoys a good laugh and she calls her bandmates goofballs.
With her Make A Shadow EP out today, we caught up with Meg to talk about her new music, what it was like opening for the Pixies at their New York shows, and how one of her music videos got her dumped.
Can you tell me a little bit about your first single, “Desire?” How did it come about? How does it fit into your EP?
Andy (Rosen) and I started writing “Desire” a few months ago. That was a really magical song that we’ve written. Sometimes it takes two days or two weeks to come up with a chorus, but “Desire” was done in a day. There was something really special about it. I had been listening to Nine Inch Nails a lot, and I really wanted to make something with that vibe. I don’t know if that comes through. We started writing that and it just had that sexual vibe to, and it actually wasn’t about anybody. Andy was really feeling that Nine Inch Nails inspiration too. We were on the same page with that, which was awesome.
Have you ever received any negative criticism about your music from your family?
No. Fortunately there’s no negative criticism that I can remember. They’ve always been supportive. My recent ex-boyfriend did break up with me because of my song “Desire” and the video for it though. Apparently it was too dark and sexual for him.
Have any of your exes ever reached out to you about any of your songs?
No, luckily not yet!
You basically lived many musicians’ dreams playing with the Pixies. What was it like for you?
They’re really cool, and really good live: one of the best shows in New York. It was so cool. They were some of the best shows I’ve ever done. I did three dates with them. It was pretty nerve-wracking because that was one of the bigger guys I’ve opened for. I was like, shit, these aren’t my fans. Maybe two fans were in there, but I didn’t have any fans in there. I was like I need to win them over. I was like, don’t think like that. I was like, “Meg, get out of your head!” I was fighting with myself onstage. In the middle of a set, it would pop into my head: did they like you? It ended up going really well though. It was just awesome opening for them.
Did they handpick you to play for them?
That’s a good question. I think so.
Do you have any crazy stories about them?
No, not really. They’re actually just really nice. It was in New York. This isn’t about them, but the next morning, I had to check out of the hotel at 7:00 a.m. I had to go to a meeting, but I was so tired because I had slept for three or four hours. I was dying, and I went to check out and the lady at the front told me that my cello player peed in the hallway in the middle of the night. It’s just funny. He was just drunk and went out and peed in the hallway. They were like, “You have to pay for damages.”
What Pixies song would you love to sing with the band and why?
“Gauge Away.” That was my favorite song of theirs as a teen.
How do you de-stress on the road?
Nature, exercise, classical music, reading, and as much alone time as I can possibly get. Solitude is the only way for me to recharge.
I feel like your music is all over the rock ‘n’ roll map. Who are some musicians that you’ve been really influenced by?
I’ve been influenced by Sting, Mark Knoplfer from Dire Straits, Lindsey Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac, Kurt Cobain and Alice In Chains. I’ve been listening to a lot of James Taylor too.
What’s the theme that resonates throughout your EP?
I’m not sure if there’s a theme. It’s kind of hard because there’s something that brings the songs together. I don’t know how, but it might be because Andy and I both wrote it together. There are no other writers. We both played most of the instruments together. It’s me, how I feel and how my feelings all connect. The last EP before this it was about a relationship I was going through and it was about heartbreak. This one is about heartbreak, but experiencing life. It’s kind of up and down. “Desire” is about fucking. “Shadow” is about wanting to not grow up and not see the beauty in the simple things anymore. “The Morning After” is about some really heavy shit.
Like, what kind of “heavy shit?”
It’s really personal, so I’m choosing not to say. It’s hard for me to say the theme of the EP.
How is this EP different from your last one? How have you changed?
The new EP is about different things I’ve been going through the past year. The last EP was about a tough relationship leading to a breakup, and the new EP is about my struggles with life and emotions that I can’t talk about easily. Musically it incorporates more live instruments and is also quite a bit darker.
So, you were formerly a Jehovah’s Witness, how has religion impacted your music?
In my teens and early 20s, I held onto some sort of stuff with the whole religion thing and growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness. I’m sure it’s somehow adding to my childhood, but I can’t really put my finger on it. I love Jehovah’s Witnesses. I love people of all religions. This doesn’t sound cool, but it was difficult for me growing up in it. Everybody that is in a religion takes it differently; some take it to a more extreme level. At the same time, I’m not sure how it affects my music now. It’s not something I think about when I’m writing. I’m sure it does, but I’m not sure how.
I think my biggest fear is that I’ll lose my mind because I’m a hermit and I need a lot of alone time, and when I’m constantly around people I start feeling pretty crazy and unable to think straight.
What’s your biggest fear as an artist and why?
I think my biggest fear is that I’ll lose my mind because I’m a hermit and I need a lot of alone time, and when I’m constantly around people I start feeling pretty crazy and unable to think straight. Luckily, I’m aware of this now so I just need to make sure I create as much as possible and go on walks alone and stuff. Also, laughter helps me a lot and luckily my band members are goof balls.