For a band so seemingly fixated on meshing the ridiculous with grim reality, the air of authenticity that surrounds Meatraffle is striking. Cutting through the pretension of the music industry with the harsh grace of a soldering iron running through butter, these original South London revolutionaries provide an antidote to the cynical, social climbing ambitions so pervasive to every tone-deaf yuppie to have ever crawled out of Shoreditch, whilst never losing sight of their own ideals.
On the back of their fantastic new single ‘Brother’, and in the process of finishing up the new album to be released on Moshi Moshi records, it is clear that despite the constant flux we reside in, Meatraffle exist, ushering in greener pastures in a blaze of horns, left-wing idealism, and working-class struggle.
So, having decided to completely skip the ‘difficult second album’ and move directly onto your third, what can we expect compared to your last one?
Well we’ve realised it’s actually the third album which is the difficult one, so having made that mistake we’ve now realised we should have just done the second, skipped the third and moved on to the fourth… So we’re treating this like the second album. The main difference is producer, we’ve worked with Margo Broom, who worked with Goat Girl and Fat White Family- so the sound is going to be quite different, but it’s still going to be really political, still the same realm as the first album- I don’t want to say it’s necessarily better, but lyrically, definitely more reflective of this particular time.
Something that makes Meatraffle so interesting is your willingness to sort of mesh the absurd with the real- do you think it’s necessary to maybe have a dose of absurdity to cut through the fear that seems to have gripped Britain?
Well I’m not really a Billy Bragg style political musician, so we’ve tried to use the political in a more subliminal, subtle way. A modern day Russian revolution.
With that in mind, how important do you think it is that musicians use their platform as a form of political engagement?
So important, without a doubt- politics has been so publicised, and its an integral part of everything you do, whether it’s your social life, your public life, your love life, everything. I don’t think it should be seen as a separate genre or anything. You get so many bands talking about subjects like love, and it’s just already been done. We’ve done a new song called “The Love Song Industrial Complex”, looking at these bands who only talk about love and relationships- because it’s so easy and formulaic, you get people feeling like that’s the only thing they should do. Why not write a song about platonic love? They’re just putting themselves in boxes, and it’s day in day out industrial mediocrity. So we wanted to break that, and talk about something else.
Your new single ‘Brother’ is released on Moshi Moshi records in July, and is maybe more “radio ready” than some of your previous stuff- what inspired the song?
Well going back to the love song as an industrial product, this is more platonic love, a cynical celebration of platonic love and friendship. Try to make the music reminiscent of nostalgic 70’s pop shows, with the horns and the optimism.
What new bands are you listening to at the minute?
A really cool band called Sex Cells, who we try and get to play with us whenever we get the chance- to be honest we should be supporting them, they should be a lot bigger than they are, really interesting band. There’s no real equal platform for new music coming out at the moment, 6 Music for example- they just play the same pop fusion synthesiser flavour of the month. Everyone sounds the same, and they change all the time. There’s just no longevity. Tetine and Warmduscher are also both really good.
Around the time of releasing your last album, the Trashmouth/South London scene at that time felt like a real collaborative movement. What’s changed since then?
Musically, I wouldn’t say that much. Instead of that changing, it’s more the social circle that surrounds it- around places like Brixton and Peckham, everyone has their own different styles and differences, but it seems to transpire in a non-direct way. It’s obvious that was going to happen, when people like Fat Whites moved up to Sheffield, there was going to be a flux and things were never going to be the same. In a strange way, the people from North London have started hanging out in south. People are fed up of the Dalston and Shoreditch bullshit, and you now get people turning up to gigs for the social aspect surrounding a venue like The Windmill rather than the music. It’s not about bands and albums now, it’s about looking cool on the internet in South London. I’m doing a little compilation every month, a top 10 of songs I really hate. When discovering someone’s musical taste, it’s much easier to find out what they don’t like than do like. It’s a playlist of hatred- Radio Six are calling already.
Having gone through that scene, is there any general wisdom you’d like to impart to the new generation of young bands starting now?
Don’t get too excited about being approached by people from the music industry. These people are fickle and unreliable. Just go out and enjoy playing live, that feeling you get clicking with a band is better than anything else. Don’t make a career out of it, just do it.
Where can we catch Meatraffle in the coming months?
We’re doing a Single Launch at the Moth Club with Sex Cells, Warmduscher, and Suitman Jungle. Then 2nd September we’re playing the Garage, before heading up to Liverpool on the 23rd September for the International Festival of Psychedelia.
Can we start planning for the coming revolution in Britain, 2017?
Without a doubt, but you can’t plan for these things. But if you’re not prepared, remember that counter revolutionary action will be terrible.