“What’s pleasantly surprising about these shows… is having people come up to us at the merch table and say things like, ‘I usually don’t like this kind of music,’ meaning pop music,” says Kristin Slipp, laughing. Slipp is likely best-known as a member of Cuddle Magic and The Dirty Projectors, but she’s referring to mmeadows, her recent project with partner (and fellow-Cuddle Magic member, or Cuddle Magician, if you will…) Cole Kamen-Green, also known for his collaborations with Beyoncé, Lorde, and Harry Styles. And the shows to which she’s referring are those of mmeadows’ current tour supporting Will Sheff (Okkervil River), which will have them at the Music Hall at World Café Live tonight, November 17th.
During a recent phone chat with the duo, Kristin says that, despite the differences in styles of the two artists — Will Sheff doing the singer/songwriter thing and mmeadows churning out their own brand of art-pop – the shows have been going very well: “The audience reactions have been strong, and I think that’s because I think the songs are strong. I think the songs can reach beyond a casual pop music listener… You just hope the audience shows up with an open mind.” And of what fans (of Sheff or Cuddle Magic) can expect of mmeadows’ 40-minute opening set tonight, Cole says, “We have a unique approach to playing music that has a lot of synthetic sounds… I like to think we bring a lot of humanity to this type of music… I mean, Kristin’s a lights-out singer and performer.” He also adds that he’ll be playing a crazy, rare (and crazy rare) synthesizer that he operates with his mouth, and which has apparently been freaking out audiences in the best way possible!
Like many of our favorite emerging artists, mmeadows really took form over the pandemic. “We finally released an EP in 2020, which was such a fulfilling and fruitful process, and it was so easy to do because we’re living together,” says the couple, who have apparently been together for 16 years now! Kristin tells me, “I needed another outlet for our songwriting that wasn’t Cuddle Magic… I was working on being a producer, writing songs and fucking around with Logic…” “And it turned out really well,” Cole adds, enthusiastically. Wonderland Magazine proclaimed, “There are some tracks that stop you right in your tracks… New York duo mmeadows is on the money,” while BrooklynVegan called “King of the Castle,” a track off of their debut EP (Who Do You Think You Are?), “a catchy, unpredictable dose of art pop…” And when I ask the two about the things that they’ve been listening to themselves recently, they give me an eclectic list that includes Nick Hakim’s M1 EP, Rubblebucket’s Earth Worship, Porches’ All Day Gentle Hold, “Bucky Skank” by Lee “Scratch” Perry/The Upsetters, Beverly Glenn-Copeland’s Keyboard Fantasies (a recommendation of Will Sheff), Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, and Alex G’s House of Sugar.
mmeadows have already made a few stops in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection this year, including a date at our very own City Winery supporting Sondre Lerche in May, and a set opening for Finom (fka Ohmme) this September at Johnny Brenda’s, which Kristin tells me they love… And just this Tuesday they released a music video for recent single “By Design,” which will be featured on their forthcoming full-length, Light Moves Around You, which drops February 3rd. The video was directed by Haoyan of America, who was introduced to the duo by their good friends in Rubblebucket. The video was shot in Times Square because, shockingly, Kristin and Cole apparently live right in the area… in some seemingly mystifying lottery-based housing for artists… “It was like two blocks east of us, in the chaos of Times Square, and it embodied some of the thematic elements of the record,” says Cole of the video’s feel.
When I ask the duo about their personal highlights of mmeadows, they provide me with different – but not incompatible – answers. “The most exciting thing for me is just making the album itself,” says Kristin, while Cole says that, for him, it’s more about the reactions the music has been getting: “Just bringing the show to life, playing in front of people… And seeing people singing along, which is really wild and really gratifying.” He also tells me that there was one particular fan who told them that there was a song of theirs that they listened to numerous times a day, every day, for a month, which helped them through an exceptionally rough time, of which Cole explains, “Playing live to audiences is great, but hearing a story like that is really validating to us, but also validating for the art,” going on to say that, as an artist, you’re constantly pondering, “Am I doing this for art, am I doing this for money, am I doing this to be popular, or whatever else?”
*Get your tickets here.