Although it’s been quite some time since the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection caught up with alt-poppers Meg & Dia, the sisters have been quite busy since reuniting last year, putting out two full-length LPs: Happysad (their first since 2011) and December, Darling, a holiday album that hit shelves just before Thanksgiving. The Frampton sisters, now in their early thirties, have also spent a lot of time onstage since last Spring. They’re currently on the road supporting Amber Liu and will be playing the Foundry next Wednesday, February 5th. Last week I got a chance to chat with guitarist/vocalist Meg Frampton about what it’s like being back together, in addition to some of the highlights of the first time around.
Izzy Cihak: So, you’ve been back together as a band for almost a year now. How has it compared to the first time around? Do you feel like significantly different people or a significantly different band, after all these years?
Meg Frampton: On a very practical level, we’ve chilled out a lot. We are very keen on heading straight to the hotel after shows to make sure we are sleeping well. We also enjoy running together on days off. We’ve realized how important it is to take care of physical and mental health. I’m not afraid to tell our tour manager, (which is Dia at the moment! Ha!), that I’m going to be buying my own hotel room for a night, because I need some space. We are much better at communicating with each other when we need space or alone time and we have learned not to take that request personally. I’m assuming though, you are referring more to how we’ve changed musically. We have a lot more clarity now of how we want to sound. We aren’t concerned at all about playing loud or flashy, but are always focusing on what is best of the music. We care a lot more about performances. For example, I’ve taken up a practice of listening back to our sets, seeing where we can improve, and meeting with our band on a daily basis.
Izzy: What have been some of the highlights of the band in that time? You’ve done a good amount of touring and released two full-length albums, which would be impressive in any era, but especially by today’s standards.
Meg: The highlights have been collaborating more with producers and learning from them. This has inspired me to start learning how to produce, since I’ve seen how much awesome production adds to a song. This has inspired me to start learning drums and I’ve also become interested in mixing.
The tour that we are currently on with Amber Liu is another highlight. I love performing and seeing what is connecting with the audience and honing in our set every day. This is the first tour where I designed the set and worked on transitions. So, every day I’m making little timing and dynamic adjustments to try and keep the flow smooth.
Izzy: As kind of a companion question, looking back, what were some of the highlights of the first time around?
Meg: Playing the first Warped Tour was really special. The Warped Tour opportunity came about in a peculiar way. Tom from Myspace found us on Myspace and invited us to play in the Myspace tent. So, that’s how we landed our first spot on that tour. We still talk to him every once in a while to this day.
I also loved recording our record Something Real. That’s the first time that we went to a “real” recording studio and worked with producers that really believed in our music. They also made us sound huge, which was nice and helped shaped our sound at that time, as good producers will do.
Izzy: Any experiences you regularly think about, or just music that you’re still especially proud of?
Meg: I’m actually especially proud of our new record, Happysad. Even though, as we are playing songs from this record on our current tour, I’m already excited about the music that Dia and I are going to start writing together once we get back home. I feel like we are both really inspired right now musically, by all of the fantastic music right now, and we already have a solid idea of what we’d like our next record to sound like.
Izzy: What would you consider to be your most significant collective influences at this point?
Meg: I love Spotify, because it allows me to listen to music the way that I prefer to listen to music, which is putting together a playlist of my favorite songs. My favorite band right now is called Armors. And my favorite songs by them are “Name” and “DOA”. I love the production on those tracks!
Izzy: You just kicked off a rather lengthy run of dates. Are there any shows you’re especially excited to see, or just cities you’re especially excited to revisit?
Meg: Well, I always love playing in my home town in Salt Lake City! New York is always an adventure as well.
Izzy: What can be expected of the live experience when you play the Foundry?
Meg: We play a compact set of new tunes from Happysad as well as a track from Something Real. We will do our best to color coordinate our outfits for you. Expect a dance party basically.
Izzy: What do you have planned for after this batch of live dates? Can we expect more new music and touring in the future, or are you just playing it by ear at the moment?
Meg: We are looking to doing a short run of international dates in late May, as well as a month-long summer tour with a band we’ve toured with previously. I’m sorry, I’m going to be a bit secretive about who it is we are going out with.
We are going to start writing new music as soon as we get done with this tour! I can’t wait to start writing. I’m probably going to start writing on the tail end of this tour, because I can’t wait.