Next week sees the live debut of our newest favorite duo… emerging from the ashes of one of our favorite trios… After the recent disbandment of Brooklyn indie poppers Little Daylight, Nikki Taylor and Eric Zeiler, 2/3rd’s of the outfit, return as Me Not You. As a duo, Me Not You has Taylor and Zeiler sounding a little grittier, a little synthier, and a little ‘90s alt rockier. They’ve already received love from Noisey and Steregum even compared them to legendary institutions of alternative, Garbage and Republica. Me Not You make their live debut on Monday, May 8th at Mercury Lounge, before they will be played our very own MilkBoy on Tuesday, May 9th (supporting The Palms), and Washington’s DC9 on May 12th. I recently got a chance to chat with Eric Zeiler about the early days of Me Not You.
Izzy Cihak: What have been some of the highlights of Me Not You so far? The band is still pretty new. Do you consider it an evolution of Little Daylight, or a completely new project?
Eric Zeiler: Yeah, the band is still really new. A recent highlight has been getting into the practice space for the first time to rehearse for our debut live shows. We’ve spent a lot of time in the studio the past year writing and recording this new music, just the two of us, so getting to play it loud in rehearsal, with a bass player and drummer, has been exhilarating. We can’t wait to do it for real in a few weeks, with an audience in front of us. This music is so personal for us that sharing it with human beings directly, rather than just the scattered and nebulous “people of the Internet,” is going to be dope.
Me Not You is an evolution of Little Daylight in the way that today is an evolution of yesterday, this year from last. We learned a lot and had a blast with Little Daylight for a few years. Matt, the third member of Little Daylight, left the band while we were working on our second album, and the two of us spent a long time thinking and soul-searching about what would come next. We went out to Los Angeles for a while to do a bit of writing and a lot of sitting on the beach, and learned that we had to get the hell back to New York City and start a new band. Nothing against LA, but we’re New York City to the core. Me Not You came out of that reborn excitement. We basically said “fuck it” and just followed our instincts 100% when it came to creating this new music. A song like “Bulletproof” started with a little synth loop and all the layers of lyrics and sound almost just created themselves in the studio. It’s been the most organic and bottom-up process that we’ve been a part of in our lives. That’s been a highlight so far.
Izzy: Have you had any particular favorite reactions to your sounds, whether from critics, fans, audiences, or just friends or family? This might be the weirdest characterization I’ve told a band in a like half a decade but, to me, you often sound like Veruca Salt covering The Bird and the Bee (which is totally amazing!)
Eric: It’s really funny… each time someone, bloggers or friends, talks to us about the music, they reference some artist that we’ve never heard of before. In the past few months, we’ve had the pleasure of checking out awesome bands like Autolux, Wolf Alice, Black Honey, The Sneaker Pimps…. and now The Bird and the Bee… because people were like, “That one song of yours kindaaaa reminds me of ……” It’s actually been fun as fuck!
Izzy: Is there anything you think is especially important for fans and potential fans to know about your process of working together and making music, or even just your aim as artists… or is it all in the music?
Eric: I like to think it’s all in the music. We have a really strong connection, psychically or musically or whatever, and a lot of what happens when we’re writing happens without much interference on our part. Not to say that it’s autopilot, but there’s an effortlessness that we experience when the good shit is happening. Generally it will start with a sound (like the synth loop in “Bulletproof” or the distorted sound that starts “Relief”) and the song will build from there. We’ll strum guitars and figure out the chords and sing along to see where the song goes. We try to just move with the momentum and hold off judging or editing until we can really get a sense of what it is. If we each go home and play the song a million times that night and the next day, then we generally know it’s a keeper.
Izzy: What would you consider to be the band’s most significant influences, both musical and otherwise?
Eric: While working on this music, we were both listening to a ton of My Bloody Valentine. Whenever we write basslines, we feel like we’re channeling Kim Deal. in terms of production, the vibes of Yeezus have not really left us… love what guys like Arca, Evian Christ, and Hudson Mohawke did on that record and in their own work. We’ve been digging into other parts of our consciousness and histories when working on this music. Not that Little Daylight was all positive, but coming out of the embers of that band we’ve been more open to the pain and negativity that inevitably exists in life. Some of that probably manifested itself sonically. Basically, I’m saying that we turned on the fuzz pedals full force and hit the drums a lot harder this time around!
Izzy: I really love your videos for “Relief” and “Kill the Noise,” so I’m curious what is it that inspires the visual side of Me Not You?
Eric: With those videos, we were trying to key in on a visual representation for how we hear the music. That’s always a challenge when making videos. For “Relief,” we worked with an amazing director named Joseph Carlin, out of Philadelphia. We talked a lot about what we wanted the video to feel like. We wanted it to feel like NYC and the claustrophobic space that the song occupies. We filmed in a friend’s basement in Bushwick and basically just played the song down there while Joseph filmed.
For “Kill the Noise,” we wanted the visual to echo the psychic excavation that the song is. We dug back into our subconscious for memories and experiences that we could recreate (or find footage of) and made the video that way. The song is a trip, literally, and the video had to be as well.
Izzy: You’re going to be playing here in the very near future at one of my favorite venues, MilkBoy. What can be expected of the live show?
Eric: It’s a rock show. We’ve been spending time in rehearsals trying to find the core of the songs in a live setting. Sometimes it’s the same as what we found in the studio, but sometimes it’s different. We won’t really know until we’re on stage. But it should be loud and fun. If that happens, we’ll be happy.
Izzy: Finally, how do you hope and plan to spend the second half of 2017? I know your EP is getting ready to drop. Anything else you’re especially excited about?
Eric: We’re prepping our first EP, which is going to be called Reckoning 1. We didn’t quite realize it right when we started writing, but the first few songs we wrote address what we were going through when Little Daylight was ending and Me Not You began. Looking at the remnants of that band and picking up the pieces, emotionally and personally. And collectively. “Bulletproof” and “Second Chances” (from the EP) deal with this transition explicitly. And other songs, like “Kill the Noise” and “Relief,” are attempts to reckon with our pasts in other ways. this process of reckoning just might continue beyond this one EP. Time will tell…
Also… tour! we plan to be out quite a bit once the EP drops. we’re stoked to bring the music to fans, current and future, around the country as soon as we can.