You know the site is fairly large when artists start telling other artists about the site. That’s how this weeks New Artist Spotlight came to be. My homie Storm Davis ended up telling the New York group, Metermaids, about WYDU and the fact that we like promoting new music when we are paid enough. I guess Storm had something against these guys for directing them into our little slums of the blog landscape. None the less, the cheddar was on point so we hooked it up. All jokes aside (although, you can always try to bribe us, it will usually work), the Metermaids are something different on the face of hip hop. I would kind of compare them to the Beasties (present day) meets Atmosphere meets Young Jeezy…minus the Jeezy. Coming with a rockish edge, the Metermaids are a group consisting of Swell and Sentence. Don’t think the horrible Rock/Rap hybrids of the turn of the century (thank god), but an indie type of sound with the duo kicking their lyrics. Their whole album, Nightlife, is armed with infectious hooks that bore themselves deep in ones subconscious like an CIA agent interrogating a terrorist on Guantanamo. Admittedly, this probably won’t be for everyone, but I can see the crew getting some serious play in the future.
Once again, we had the chance to sit down with the duo and harass them with seemingly moronic questions and discussed their new album, New York Pizza and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure…now that’s GANGSTA!!
Metermaids – Turn it Up Feat The Lo aka Camp Lo (From the LP NightLife)
Metermaids - Feel Alive (From the LP Nightlife)
WYDU: What’s good guys, how about kickin’ the 411 and give the readers an introduction….
Swell of the Metermaids: We are the Metermaids, based out of Brooklyn. We just dropped an album called NIGHTLIFE that we’re really proud of. We have made a name for ourselves from our live show. We’re both vegetarians.
W: So much for that Mickey D’s gift certificate I was gonna send y’all for Christmas. What is the history behind Metermaids? How did y’all hook up and get to your present day exsistence?
Sentance of the Metermaids: Up until about a year ago, Metermaids was just Swell. We were both doing solo stuff in the city and we met through the hip hop scene. We started doing some shows together and wrote a couple tracks. We found out that we both shared an interest in pushing the music in a new creative direction and integrating the influences of everything we were into growing up (hip hop and rock mostly). We were both kind of looking for something we could experiment with and sink our teeth into. A couple months after meeting we went on a US tour with some of our boys and mid-tour decided the right thing to do was merge into one group.
W: Is there any special meaning behind the group name?
SWELL: I thought it would be funny to name a hip-hop group after one of the most hated groups on the planet. I also liked the idea of a feminine name for a hip hop group. I just wanted the name to be different, to stand out.
W: Let’s talk about the album, how is it going over in the masses right now?
Sentance: The masses have been feeling it. It was the #1 add on CMJ’s hip hop charts when it dropped and it’s been in the top 20 ever since, reaching as high as number nine so far. We’ve been slanging the digital version on iTunes (with a couple bonus tracks) and people have been really supportive. Sage Francis and the heads over at Strange Famous Records are selling the CD and promoting it on their site, which has really helped us find some new fans. Overall, it’s been going over great.
W: From the first listen to your album, “Nightlife”, it’s obvious you guys have an unique sound. If the album was a New York Pizza, what would the ingredients consist of? (simply put, what are your influences that came together to create the sound found on the album)
Swell: Lots of rapparoni. Hahaha. I’m sorry. We were going for the upbeat boom bap style of hip hop mixed with some more musical rock and roll stuff. There’s some Motown style in there too. Pretty much just trying to combine all of the music that we love and making something new. With extra rapparoni.
W: Playing devil’s advocate here, what would you say to some cat that would say, “this ain’t REAL hip hop?
Sentence: First I’d say, that’s sort of like saying Licensed to Ill wasn’t real hip hop, or “Walk This Way” wasn’t real hip hop. Any time someone tries something new, there’s always going to be purists who are too passionate or ignorant to let anything other than their definition slide. Hip hop has roots in questioning and confronting the system…so if it can’t challenge it’s own system, then it’s lost it’s edge. Then I’d say, whatever, maybe it’s rock and roll, or funk, or blue grass. Make your own definition. Put whatever label you want on it.
W: What were you aiming for when making the album? What are some of the guest appearances we can expect, if any?
Swell: Honestly, we’re just trying to make the music that we’ve always wanted to hear. We listen to as much indie rock as we do hip hop, as does just about everyone we know. We’re from this generation where people don’t limit themselves to one kind of music anymore. So we wanted to try to make something that reflected that. In the digital bonus tracks that came with the digital release, we
got Camp Lo on a track, which is one of the most exciting things possible for us, and our label mate Clinton Curtis (check him out) helped us spice up an old song of ours on a remix.
W: How did y’all hook up with Camp Lo? Great song by the way….
Swell: We share management with them. We were trying to figure out some new songs to offer for the digital release, and their name came up as a possibility to work with. I’ve been a fan since I was 14 years old, so we hollered at them and they were down. It’s hard to explain what it’s like to work with people you’ve looked up to for so long.
W: Let’s play “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” here, what could Napoleon and the horrible actors of Keenau Reeves and what’s his face expect at a Metermaids show?
Sentence: They’d land the phone booth and step out to a high-energy, fun show. When we step on stage, our approach is always to keep the crowd involved and interested. We’ve been rocking shows for so long, to audiences from tens to hundreds of people, and we’ve learned that stage presence is everything. There’s nothing more disappointing than checking out a group that you like and finding out they don’t know what the hell they’re doing when it comes to performing live. There’s also enough rock influence to keep Bill & Ted nodding their heads and doing the air-guitar-symbol-of-the-quasi-future thing.
W: Obviously, with the crossover flavor found on the album (and no, crossover is not a bad word) you can play to different audiences. What kind of audience are you seeing at your shows? Are you aiming for any particular audience?
Swell: In New York, I feel like it is more of a rock crowd. But we’ve played in front of just about every kind of crowd when we’ve toured. For us the goal is to be able to play for someone who doesn’t listen to hip hop and have them find something in it, as well as being able to hold it down in front of D Block’s crowd. And we’ve been able to do that for the most part.
W: What do y’all have coming up in the future?
Sentence: We’re always rocking shows in NYC and we’re working on planning the next US tour. We haven’t started on the next Metermaids album yet, but we’ve been working on a remix album as well as some side projects with some other cats in Brooklyn. But we’re really excited to get the next album going. We’re also working on placing some tracks in video games and movies and tv…
W: Any last words for the good people out there in blog land?
Swell: Come find us on the internet. Holler at us on Myspace. We’re almost big enough to not respond to your Myspace messages, so get them in while you can. Haha. And if we come through to your town, come out and have fun with us. We’re all about connecting. And I mean that in a friendly, non-sexual way.