SPOTLIGHT: Meet Me @ The Altar

SPOTLIGHT: Meet Me @ The Altar

By Louis Kerry

Jul 15, 2020 12:30

Diversity is one of the most important virtues in music. No matter your background, the art form has always acted as a platform for anybody to share their story as creatively and as honestly as they like. In pop-punk, the genre is still packed with the same guys playing the same lovesick songs. After years of seeing them come and go, it’s no surprise that there is a stale air to it. Yes, Paramore had a huge influence in opening the doors for all genders to be featured, but even that was cornered to its own sub-genre of the often-despised term ‘female-fronted’. Following the significant Black Lives Matter protests and movements across the entire world this year, there has never been a more important time for a shift in the narrative. Fiery trio Meet Me @ The Altar are ready to spearhead this culture change and be the shot in the arm that the growingly repetitive scene needs.

Representing women of colour and the LGBQT+ community (in their own words on Twitter “WE GOT ALL THE REPRESENTATION BAYBEE”), Meet Me @ The Altar are already making moves, having just been announced as part of next year’s Riot Fest playing alongside some of the biggest bands in the world.

In what feels like quite a Gen Z way of forming a band, each member of the dynamic group lives in a different state across America, and all met over Youtube. Drummer Ada Juarez explained the process “Téa Campbell (guitarist) came across a drum cover I made of a Twenty One Pilots song. She reached out to me, we became friends immediately and decided to form a band. Edith Johnson (vocalist) didn’t join the band until late-2017, Since then, our line-up has been solid and we have been traveling to meet up for shows and practices”.

The trio’s latest single ‘Garden’ is an instant pop-punk classic, buzzing with charm, a soaring chorus, and guitar hooks that are bound to get you jumping on your bed. Johnson goes into detail about the song saying “Garden is about being there for the people in your life when they need you the most”. Featuring all the hallmarks of a track that won’t leave your head for weeks, it’s feel-good vibe makes Meet Me @ Altar sound like the cheeky little sisters of State Champs.

Despite the testing cross-country meet-ups, real world jobs and even a lockdown, the band still put all their dedication into making it work which is proving to pay off. Not only is ‘Garden’ featured on Spotify’s leading playlists, but some of the most popular names in rock have been championing them in the last few months including Green Day, Alex Gaskarth from All Time Low and Soupy from The Wonder Years. Johnson shared her excitement saying “when you love something, you always find a way to make it work… It was so surreal to see these artists whom we have looked up to for years to see us and listen to us. It was a dream come true”.

The band’s personal lives and experiences bring added depth to their brand of nostalgic uplifting pop punk with killer vocals and honest lyricism. Johnson talks about the gravity of the message they want to send listeners with their music. She explains “Writing for us is very therapeutic, it’s an outlet. Because of this, writing about our real life experiences is inevitable…With our lyrics specifically, we never limit ourselves on what message we want to send. But, when it comes to our band as a unit, the message we’re hoping to send is you can do anything you set your mind to. If you are a woman, or a person of colour, remember that you hold SO much power, you do not need to be confined to the world’s idea of yourself”.

With only a small amount of music released so far (quality not quantity remember), new material is certainly on the horizon as Johnson revealed the band’s recent lockdown practices, “Despite no one being able to tour right now, this time during lockdown has actually been the busiest we’ve ever been as a band so far. With everything being closed, this is actually the perfect time to get focused on writing. We are currently staying busy by writing our debut album”.

When it comes to what they have learned from the music industry at such a young age (they are still in their teens and early twenties), and as an incredibly diverse band, they confidently sound like veterans of the game already, without any sense of naivety.  “Being in Meet Me @ The Altar has taught me that I can achieve anything I put my mind to. It has also taught me to go for what I want, and be myself unapologetically,” Johnson shared.

Although they are fresh into the industry, the band don’t hold back on some of the negativity they have already encountered in the scene as Johnson reveals “This has only happened (to our knowledge) when it comes to us being women. I’m sure for some people the fact that we are women, AND women of colour could’ve played a role in whatever they said to us, but there is really no way of us knowing. The one that hit us the hardest so far is this story I love to tell, because it is just ridiculous. At a show we were playing  in Orlando a couple years ago. We all were sitting in the green room waiting for doors to open. While just sitting and minding our own business, a man in one of the touring bands looked at us with a very confused look on his face. He then said to us ‘this is a practice room and a room for bands only. Are you guys supposed to be in here?’ This is just one of the many ridiculous comments we have received at this early stage in our career, and are sadly preparing ourselves for many more because well, we are just getting started. We like to think these backhanded comments are not purposefully hurtful and annoying”.

Juarez adds some advice for anyone who may want to take a similar path to them “Don’t get discouraged. The industry is very white-washed and male-dominated on the surface but once you start digging deeper you will find many people who look like you and want to make the same music you do”. (naming a few we should be listening to including Kississippi, Belmont and Boston Marriage)”. Johnson goes on to explain exactly what the alternative music scene can do to be more inclusive “The alternative music scene can seek out and support black/ WOC music creators. For the side of the bands, do whatever you can to make sure your fans of colour feel comfortable and accepted in these spaces”.

This decade the whole music industry is set to change, from how we listen, where we listen and who we listen to. Now is the most important time to open the doors of inclusivity even wider in our scene especially. Meet Me @ The Altar have all the qualities and confidence to be one of the leading bands which pop punk desperately needs as we march into this new head-banging era that is welcome to everyone.

‘Garden’ is now available.

Louis Kerry