Interview: Merit

By Conor Mackie

Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, Merit are a wonderful throwback to the heady days of 90s emo – imagine button down plaid shirts with sweater vests over them, horn-rimmed glasses and slip on Vans. They’re releasing the second EP in their trilogy, ‘Comfort and the Confusion’ via Boom Blast Records on 11th March. We caught up with guitarist Kristopher Lewis about the release, touring and the viability of cassette as a means of listening to music.

Hey guys, how are you doing?  

Hey! We’re doing great, really excited that we get to talk to you about our music.

So you’re releasing the second EP of your trilogy, ‘Comfort and the Confusion’, in the UK via Boom Blast Records. You worked with Boom Blast last year when they released ‘The Sun Will Rise’ for you. Are you looking forward to working with them again? How did this relationship come about?  

Well, the trilogy was originally released on a few different formats last year in the States and Boom Blast approached us about releasing it on cassette in the UK. The UK releases will have some new music videos and the third EP has a previously unreleased track. It’s really amazing working with the guys at Boom Blast, they’re the best and we feel so lucky to be able to introduce our music to an entirely new market. It was kind of random how we came to work with them, I think we followed them on Instagram and Dwaine from Boom Blast messaged us about working together. Everything just kind of came together and we couldn’t be happier.

The releases are all on cassette, which has obviously enjoyed a bit of a resurgence over the past few years. Do you feel like cassette can ever take off again as a viable mode of listening to music like vinyl has? Or is it better than they can be used for limited-edition runs like this one?

As far as listening goes we’re not sure it will ever be as viable a mode as vinyl, but it’s something that is really great when it comes to collecting. Not necessarily only for limited runs, but more something that you keep in the box than actually use on a regular basis.

Why did you choose to set yourself the challenge of writing three concept EPs? Did you enjoy the way it stretched your songwriting? Would you ever do this again?

We really enjoyed the opportunity to expand past the normal type of release. Getting to spread a theme that means a lot to us over three EPs gave us the chance to really mould our concept. As far as doing it again, we’re not really sure we would execute in the same fashion, but the idea of taking an idea and stretching it as far as we can is really appealing.

You wear your hearts very much on your sleeve and your sound is obviously very influenced by the emo bands of the 1990s like The Get Up Kids and The Promise Ring. Who are some recent emo bands that you’ve been digging? Who are you most excited by? 

Into It. Over It is one of our favorites. Evan is an incredible song writer and performer and he’s really taking the genre to fantastic level, he’s also a pretty great guy. Moose Blood is another band we’ve been really into, they write great songs and are really doing the genre justice. Another one of our favorites is a band called Signals Midwest, they’re great dudes who we’ve have the pleasure of sharing the stage with multiple times.

Do you have big plans for touring this year? Will you make it over to the UK at all?  

We are touring the west coast in the States in a few weeks, but we hope to make it out to the UK as soon as humanly possible. Touring the states is great, but we’re really looking forward to the UK. We hear the music scene out there is crazy.

You can pre-order the cassette here.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]