Catching Up with mmeadows (6/21 at JB’s w/ Bayonne)

“We are currently 974 miles into the tour, driving out to the first show in Denver,” jokes Cole Kamen-Green during a recent phone chat, while looking at his odometer. ...

“We are currently 974 miles into the tour, driving out to the first show in Denver,” jokes Cole Kamen-Green during a recent phone chat, while looking at his odometer.  Cole is one-half of experimental pop duo mmeadows, alongside partner (musical and life) Kristin Slipp.  Cole is an in-demand instrumentalist, known for crafting horn parts with Beyonce, arranging and recording for Harry Styles and Diana Ross, and performing with Laurie Anderson, while Kristin has been a member of indie pop group Dirty Projectors since 2018 (Both are members of Cuddle Magic.)  We first met the NYC band last November, when they were on tour supporting indie rocker Will Sheff (Okkervil River), which included a show at World Café Live.  They’d previously been in town the same year supporting Sondre Lerche at City Winery and Finom (fka Ohmme) at Johnny Brenda’s.

For this tour, mmeadows are going to be supporting electronic artist, composer, and producer Bayonne, which starts this Saturday, and includes their return to Johnny Brenda’s on Wednesday, June 21st.  And while Cole and Kristin admit that they’re massive fans of the aforementioned artists, they also tell me that this seems like the most logical pairing.  “We’re maybe a little more aligned sonically, than the Will Sheff tour… not that that’s necessarily good or bad,” says Kristin, while Cole adds, “With the Will Sheff tour, we’d get a lot of people coming up to us after our set, and being like, ‘I usually don’t like this kind of music, but…’  I think we haven’t been aligned more with an artist that we’ve toured with than this tour.”  Kristin also tells me that fans of either artist can expect a collaboration to drop in the near future: “We are Bayonne fans, but we haven’t met him yet.  He remixed a song that will be coming out in a few months, or a month, but this is officially the first time announcing that [laughs].”

Since the last time we spoke, mmeadows released their debut LP, Light Moves Around You, which dropped February 3rd.  I ask them about some of the highlights of the band since then, and Kristin tells me, “We’ve continued to be on the road a bunch.  We went back out with Will Sheff, and the day the album came out was the last date of that tour, in Salt Lake City, which was great!  So, it was nice to finish out that way.”  And Cole tells me that, for him, the highlight has come in the form of, “A bunch of emails from people about how the album has affected them in their lives, which is really touching, personal, and very encouraging, to get in touch with the personal lives of people.”

I ask the duo if they currently have a favorite song from Light Moves Around You, and they have somewhat different, although overlapping, answers.  Kristin tells me, “I have a favorite, and I think it’s consistently been my favorite!  It’s ‘Fall Asleep,’ the last song on the album.  I think it’s because of the way I wrote it, it’s a bit of a harmonic departure, and we also just started playing it live, which makes it exciting,” while Cole admits, “I don’t know if I have a favorite, but it’s always fun to play songs that are new in the rotation.”  But when I ask if any of these songs may be indicators of mmeadows’ future sounds, Kristin tells me that that is definitely still up in the air: “I think the way that we write is not very conceptual.  Maybe we will have more of a concept next time, but we don’t know.  We do have some new material that we hope to be releasing in the near future, but no one knows what it will sound like, including us [laughs].”

To coincide with the release of Light Moves Around You, mmeadows released an impressively cool music video for “When We Are Together We Are Really Free,” a sort of companion to their “By Design” music video.  “We worked with our friend, Haoyan of America, who worked on the ‘By Design’ video, as well, which I think we talked about last time.  And ‘When We Are Together We Are Really Free,’ was the final single, which came out the day before the album, and we knew that we wanted to work with Haoyan again just because he makes such fucking cool videos,” Kristin tells me.  The video is set in a cavernous and profoundly stunning old church, which Cole explains was actually a happy accident: “We wanted a big, open space, and I just happened across this church, randomly, and I walked through the church, and it was just perfect.”  Cole tells me that he got in touch with the church’s pastor, who was happy to let them use the location, although Kristin adds that, because that portion of the church is not currently in use, he made the two promise not to reveal the name of the church itself.

mmeadows tell me that there is another release in the works and that they will likely be on the road again in the fall, but that there will be a shorter release to tide fans over, in the meantime.  “We’ve got a collection of music coming up, of songs from Light Moves Around You, with friends and artists that we look up to doing remixes, and alternate recordings of two of them, that will be out in the next couple months,” Cole tells me, with Kristin adding, “I think these two alternate versions of songs on the record show our breadth as musicians.  What it says is that these songs can stand on their own, without a big production.”

When I ask the duo – who are fans of PHILTHY phriends like Big Thief, Black Belt Eagle Scout, Margaret Glaspy, Cassandra Jenkins, MUNA, Caroline Rose, and The Weather Station – what they’re currently listening to, Kristin tells me that they are actually trying to conceptualize what they put into rotation: “I feel like when we’re on the road, we were trying to listen to artists from every city that we pass through, although we kind of failed [laughs], but we’re gonna do that on this tour!  I decided that right now!”  But when I ask them if they have any favorite seasonal sounds, they each tell me that their favorite summertime sounds aren’t explicitly musical.  Cole tells me, “We go to the beach, for example, but when I’m at the beach, I don’t listen to music.  We need to listen to the ocean.  Nothing can beat that!”  Kristin quickly adds, “Crashing waves is the music of the summer to us!  And owls, maybe?  Nature sounds are the sound of summer for us!”

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.