Maddie Aldridge chatted with party animals, The Meow Meows about Boomtown, their new album and arm wrestling over politics.
The Meow Meows are a unique SKA and soul group based in Brighton. Forming in 2006 as an ‘excuse to drink on a week night’ this band have gone from strength to strength over the past ten years and they’re back with new album Go Boom and a brilliant new single Pretty If You Smile. The band still have a few more gigs left before festival season winds down for the year so make sure you catch The Meow Meows in their full (drunken) glory!
Tell us a bit about The Meow Meows?
We formed the band in 2006 as an excuse to drink on a week night, ten years later, a few line up changes and more drummers than Spinal Tap, we are now the lean mean drinking machine you see before you.
Together as a band, who are your major influences when making music together?
We all love SKA and soul and sixties garage, but it's also our different musical backgrounds that make the music what it is. We have the jazz corner fighting with the metal heads, the folk freaks taking on the pop aficionados. And Ian, our bass player, is a massive Smiths fan.
As a politically charged band how do you ensure you don't conflict with each other in such a large group?
Luckily we mostly veer in the same direction. When disputes come up we settle it with an arm wrestle and hug. (And seeing as half the band don’t listen to our lyrics anyway we mostly get away with it.)
How do you decide what issues you're going to discuss within your music and as a band?
There's stuff going on in the world that can't be ignored. It seeps into our song writing without us even noticing.
How do you feel about the state of politics in the UK right now and do you have any optimism for the future?
A mix of overwhelming crushing horror and a hope that all the crap that is happening will lead to a new kind of politics. We were so gutted about Brexit, but the majority of young people voted remain. We were devastated when the Tories got re-elected but hopeful of new grass roots movements on the left. We felt almost paralysed by the terrible things going on at home and internationally but inspired by people, who may not have before been politically active getting involved in all kinds of humanitarian projects.
How does performing at large festivals like Boomtown compare to performing as a support act and at your own headline gigs?
We love festivals and we LOVE Boomtown. Still recovering from it in fact. We love the variety of weird and wonderful shows we play but we really come alive at festivals. (As long as we don’t get too overexcited beforehand, as I have been known to do in the past.)
You've just released your new album Go Boom, now you're more of an established band how does this differ from some of your older stuff?
I'm not sure we are that established, but we are so excited with our new album. There is a lot that will be familiar on here, but I like to think we get better and better. Like a rotten old delicious cider.
Your new single Pretty If You Smile is out on 31st August, how was it working with Melanie Light on the video for that song?
So great. We played her the song and pretty much let her get on with all the arse-kicking.
After the release of Pretty If You Smile in a few weeks, what's next for the band?
We have the Undercover Festival in Brighton on September 9th, playing Ska Soup in Coventry on October 8th and The Big One in Dorset on November 12th. We are all busy in our many other lives, but very eager to get back writing new songs and discovering new means of hungover. It's a serious business being a politically-minded party band.