Governors Ball Music Festival brought it's fair share of surprises. The adventure brought with it performances by some old favourites, introductions to some new artists, and a few eye opening experiences. One of the most exciting performances was Meg Myers kicking off the last day day of the festival on the main stage, and one of the biggest surprises was sitting down to talk with her about the wide range of reactions to her music, her passionate performance, and how some things are better explained without words.
Fingers on Blast: People have asked us to describe your music, and the only word that really feels like it fits is passionate. The first track we heard was 'Go', and part way through there is such an eye-opening, abrupt change that really got our attention. Has pulling people out of their comfort zones been an intentional part of the process, or does that just happen naturally?
Meg Myers: I think that just happens naturally. But I'm aware that it does make people uncomfortable. So if somebody says they hate it, or they hate me or something, I'm like 'Awesome, I did my job. They fuckin' feel.'. The reaction is rarely 'Oh yeah I like her', more like 'I love her!' or 'I can't stand her...'.
Fingers on Blast: We saw the show at the Drake Hotel in Toronto for Canadian Music Week, and that was an incredible show. Does it feel like in a larger, louder outdoor setting like Governors Ball that this is where the music really fits?
Meg Myers: Yeah, yeah. It's funny my manager was just saying that, hearing it really loud at a festival that's what I'm supposed to be doing. It's a little bright for me, if it could be dark at a festival that would be better.
Fingers on Blast: That's one thing we had noticed, there always seems like there's a few sets at a festival that should definitely take place at night.
Meg Myers: It felt weird, it feels weird to be performing in the light. It would be fine if it's a night time, but when it's light outside... I like to push myself too, because when this is what I'm doing it pushes me out of my comfort zone. It's uncomfortable, and you can see everyone, and I think 'alright, it's going to get real weird'.
Fingers on Blast: How does that work when you're up there and you look at people and you can see them so clearly?
Meg Myers: I have contacts now, and I didn't for a long time and so I feel like having them is making me feel a little uncomfortable. It's hard but I like that, it's that strange feeling of pushing yourself to the extreme.
Fingers on Blast: One thing we noticed when were doing some research for this is that your bio on Facebook is pretty hilarious. That seems like something that a lot of artists skip, and a lot have a fairly standard formula, is yours all true?
Meg Myers: Yeah. I didn't go to high school, I built forts?
Fingers on Blast: That unique approach to something so simple and often dull definitely caught our attention. Especially since the internet is so vital these days. What role does that devotion to the internet play in what you do?
Meg Myers: The internet has helped me so much in terms of contact with fans, and social media. There's moments, uh. I hate it, like I hate doing it, but it's something that comes with my job. I have to do it, it is one of the only ways to communicate with fans and that's the number one thing just being my weird self. It helps so much, it's insane. I just can't stand technology, I'm this hermit of a person who can't stand this and I'm doing it.
Fingers on Blast: I think it's pretty cool when you see people who aren't really big fans of the technology, but still find a way to be very genuine. So often people present a very doctored image rather than letting the character of the artist shine through, and in your case it really does seem natural. Social media plays a big part in how people come to understand an artist these days, when they want to look a bit beyond the music.
I've been wondering since the CMW show, and even more so after today at Governors Ball; is your songwriting dictated by an experience?
Meg Myers: I can't explain it, every song it's like I feel something so strongly. Whether it's something I've been through or just something that I'm feeling and I just have to get it out, every song is that. It's almost painful to even admit, that I just feel so much pain and that's the only way for me, that's the healthiest way to express it. Whether it's an experience which a lot of them are, or something I'm feeling that I can't even explain. Ahh! I can't explain it to humans, I can't like this.
Fingers on Blast: For me personally, that is one of the most powerful aspects of music. Certain things you just can't explain any other way. There was a moment at this festival where Run The Jewels performed a song for a friend and collaborator who had passed away, and they dedicated it to anyone that the audience was missing as well. It was an instantly emotional experience for a lot of the audience, you could see it and feel it. It's something that you have to get out here, get a sunburn and really live the whole experience to feel it.
Meg Myers: I don't really see that all that much. I also don't go to many shows, and it's hard to find stuff on the internet that gives me that feeling now. Which is why I end up going back to listen to older stuff all the time, because I feel like there is something missing nowadays where there's this character and this emotion and it's raw and it's not perfect sounding but that's what makes it so beautiful. There is that out there, there are exceptions. That's what makes it powerful.
Fingers on Blast: One of the best ways I've ever found to explain it was one of Phillip Seymour Hoffman's lines in 'Almost Famous' where he's playing Lester Bangs and he says 'Real music chooses you.'. You can't really decided what you're going to get into, you hear it and it either gets you or it doesn't.
Meg Myers: It's unexplainable too, I have plenty of songs that I would never show to people around me or would never sit and listen to with them because they do something to my mind.
Fingers on Blast: After seeing the show a couple of times, I'm curious are you reliving the experiences that inspired the songs?
Meg Myers: Sometimes. It depends on the song, but most of the time no. Most of the time I relate it to whatever I'm going through now. I guess I have always gone through very similar things, and they kind of intertwine and kind of weave into each other. Like today, I felt so much, and felt a lot of pain, it's always different things and somehow the lyrics always make sense. There's moments onstage where you do get in your head for a minute and you're like 'shit, this is not good'. Especially for me, my music is so emotional if I'm not there and the intensity is not there then it sucks. If you ever see me suck it's because I'm in my head and I'm freaking out about something else.
Fingers on Blast: How does it feel to have your music used in a tv show, and especially in an autopsy scene?
Meg Myers: I didn't know exactly what it was going to be. I kind of find out about things a little last minute, even if I'm told about them. I don't always pay attention until it actually happens, I'm usually a pretty stressed out person I try to just go with the flow. When I did see it, I mean it's funny because I know my stuff is dark and it fits with that type of thing. I realize it makes sense and it's exciting. It was funny, and I love it.
Fingers on Blast: It seems like that would be a pretty easy choice of where to put your music. I remember reading something from another artist whose music is often considered very dark, and I think often that music reflects the world we live in and that label comes from people who kind of ignore the reality of what the music is, and what world we live in.
Meg Myers: Yeah, and not to compare myself, but with some of the people I've been compared to it shows I don't want to go the rocker chick route, or the pop route. Even though I didn't really listen to these ladies growing up it's such a compliment to me because now I want to be like a Tori Amos or Fiona Apple or Alanis Morrisette. Now when I hear that I think it's so cool because they're just normal girls who just let it out.
Fingers on Blast: This is a reflection of what you've experienced, how you feel and how you see the world.
Meg Myers: And it can be even more. I don't want to be put in a box or told my image has to be this or that, it's always evolving.
Fingers on Blast: I think that's one of the most interesting things for us, to find these artists that defy any easy explanation. Once you get there, what can you do next? When there's the sense of mystery, and possibility for what can come next that is one of the more fascinating things we can discover in an artist. We've wondered about the comparisons, because that's such a natural human response to something new. I understand them, but also they don't really make sense, this is something brand new, and powerful, that doesn't really sound like 2014 it sounds like...
I guess running out of words is a good thing every now and then.
Meg Myers: Yeah, it really is. There's so much more powerful feelings. There are some things so much bigger.