Meat Wave Team With Steve Albini to ‘Run You Out’
Don't blame global warming for the slow, steady swell of Chicago's Meat Wave. Their furied tide has been on the rise since their 2011 inception, growing all the more fierce with every thrashy and Shellac-y splash. Two years after 2015's Delusion Moon, the trio is gearing up to release their third album, The Incessant, on February 17, via respected punk mainstay SideOneDummy. (Pre-order it here.)
According to a press release, the Windy City crew's latest effort was recorded with noise-rock icon Steve Albini, and sports a varied roster of influences: The Breeders, Fiona Apple, Franz Kafka and Emily Dickinson all played a role in its development, as did guitarist / singer Chris Sutter's 2014 breakup with his romantic partner of 12 years (that's half of 24-year-old Sutter's life, mind you). Escapism is a major theme, as is mental illness (a topic Sutter detailed heavily, and bravely, on Delusion Moon).
From a thematic standpoint, these guys are anything but optimists — but sonically, there's tangible optimism lurking just off the bloody banks. Don't believe me? Well, here's your proof — Meat Wave's new single, "Run You Out," the video for which we're premiering today. Directed by Weird Life Films, the clip finds the trio performing the song in the backseat of a snow-covered car, staring into the camera like they're looking for a fight (not that they're willing to start one; it's not exactly wise to exit a moving vehicle that's barreling down a forested road in the middle of a frigid winter night). Watch it below, and read on for our chat with Sutter about the song and album, plus the band's upcoming tour dates
Tell us the story behind “Run You Out.” When did you write it, and how did it come together?
I think I wrote "Run You Out" about a year ago, maybe a little more than a year ago. It came out of some grand realizations about myself, and how some reflection can be really ugly — and necessary. Confronting, questioning how I had handled things, my desire to escape from a situation. I don't know — I feel a lot older. It's crazy to look back on that time, even though it wasn't that long ago, and to feel removed or aged or different. Some of the past just kind of stings, and I think that's what getting older is: experiencing life in its madness, looking back on it. Writing that song was like building blocks. Just kept adding around the riff in the chorus. That was the impetus to that song.
How did you link up with Steve Albini? What was he like in the studio as a producer, and general creative mentor?
Well, I think pretty much anyone can work with Steve. We just called his studio and saw if it was a possibility. And it was, so we just booked the time. When we did that, we had nowhere near a complete album. We set a deadline, which was good for us. He was very cool, very chill and just down. He was just ready to do whatever the fuck we wanted to do.
Much of The Incessant deals with anxiety, self-doubt and self-deprecatory humor — a lot of overthinking — but the musical frameworks through which you express these dark ideas are reckless, brimming with catchy confidence; a similar motif presented itself in Delusion Moon. Does your creative approach differ at all when it comes to composing lyrics versus music?
Usually the concept informs the music. Almost like soundtracking. With a lot of these songs, I was trying to tap into a feeling or emotion. So, it was a lot of exploration, just seeing where something goes and if it falls into this feeling. And the lyrics kind of come after the music and melody in trying to pinpoint something or expressing something that was difficult to express. A lot of the time it would just be me, sitting there thinking about my feelings.
What was the biggest challenge in recording this album?
The biggest challenge was being vulnerable. And brutally honest. The truth hurts sometimes. Just really trying to uncover some shit in yourself. I think it's important for all humans to do some emotional inventory. A lot of it, too, is shedding the ego. It's okay to check in with yourself emotionally and see what's going on. There's this macho-ness or stigma that prohibits a lot of people. Don't be so blindly confident in yourself. You might be fucking wrong.
In 2015, you parted ways with your romantic partner, with whom you spent 12 years of your life — half your current age. (Off the record, love rocks and you’re an inspiration to us all.) If you could go back in time and give some love advice to your 12-year-old self, what would it be?
Do what's right and don't be lazy.
What’s the best album for managing a breakup — and on the flip side, what's the best album to fall in love to?
When the Pawn ... or Extraordinary Machine by Fiona Apple will provide you with enough raw, emotional honesty when you're going through a breakup. Cuts right to the core. You're falling in love, Ram by Paul McCartney. Or ELO.
MEAT WAVE on TOUR
Feb. 9 — Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
Feb. 10 — Madison, WI @ The Frequency
Feb. 11— St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
Feb. 12 — Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop
Feb. 13— Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern
Feb. 15 — Allston, MA @ Great Scott
Feb. 16— New York, NY @ Baby's All Right
Feb. 17— Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
Feb. 18 — Washington, DC @ Comet Ping Pong
Feb. 19 — Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe
Feb. 22 — London, Ontario @ Call The Office
Feb. 23 — Toronto, Ontario @ The Baby G
Feb. 25 — Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle