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Interview with META MEAT

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META MEAT have just released a truly exceptional album "Infrasupra", which is their second after "metameat" of 2016. I took it as a fine occasion to discuss their music a bit - its concepts, visual representation and inspirations. With Phil Von and Somekilos - about what it means to make music that is both personal and stylistically hypnotic.

META MEAT is a truly unique project – since this is the first interview for Polish magazines, I guess - could you give us a bit of background, please? Like how did you guys meet in the first place? You both played in a different project before... 

Phil Von: We were both in Von Magnet, that’s how we met. One day Hugues (Somekilos) asked me if I would be interested to share a duo project with him. So that was his idea and I must say I am very grateful that he made that proposition. It turns out that we are very complementary and the music we create found its identity in a very natural way. 

Somekilos: Yes, it's the first time we answer an interview for a Polish magazine, thanks again for this opportunity. With my other band 2kilos &More (+Black Sifichi), we had the chance to tour several times in Poland and to play at the WIF in 2014.

The somewhat tribal or ethnic beat seems to be prevailing in your music – what is the concept behind your project? Both in musical and visual terms? 

PV: The concept we had originally was quite intuitive. We basically joined our percussive knowledge and passion into a common goal: how to find our real "primal" truth, depth, energy? We realized that our music was constantly balancing between the awareness of its intellect construction and the need to "let go" and find a genuine trance. These opposite poles gave us the idea of the title Meta Meat and drew the conceptual themes which can be heard in our music and seen in our video clips.  

Where do you take your inspiration from? What is your, so to say, background? Do you listen to similar music yourselves? 

PV: I have been personally always very attracted to ethnic music. Via my flamenco knowledge I encountered Arabic music and oriental rhythms, later on I collaborated with a Gnawa tribe in Morrocco, then worked in Turkey with Sufi musicians. With Hugues, although we share some cultural backgrounds (post-industrial / contemporary / electronic) but we have also very different tastes, which is why our association is so interesting. I am rather old school, can be very passionate about Joni Mitchell or still try to analyze the craft of the Beatles. I do not listen much to music in general. Hugues is buying albums, really listening to all sorts of styles and keeping in touch with up-to-date musical creation, that is why he brings this modernity into our project. 

Speaking of the visual - I saw you only once playing live so far (sadly, hoping for more) – at Wroclaw Industrial Festival – and I must admit it was a mesmerizing show. You combine the elements of a theatre, amazing beat and overflowing melodies with some primal elements. Altogether it gives a trance, hypnotic effect. What are live shows for you? 

PV: Being fully present "live" gives me a chance to be connected with Hugues and his drumming so to feel our music in a very osmotic way. Once on stage, I rediscover our sound through the essential organic perception which pushes both of us out of our social, existential "shells", that is when we can finally loosen up and become "one" (body + soul / meat + meta / infra + supra) with our music. 

Moving on to your new release - "Infrasupra" was out in September. We had to wait five years after "Meatameat" to get a new album from you. Why such a long time? 

SK: We allowed ourselves to write drafts, accept we could make mistakes and wonder in the "wrong" directions. First, we actually composed sketches which we later abandoned and erased… As time gives perspective and clarity, we understood how to write differently and then imagined another artistic direction. When the new songs were ready, we made the decision to mix the album ourselves and that Phil would do the final production… Meaning we gained control and could manage our time line without any pressure.

Then of course the longer time needed nowadays by pressing plant factories to deliver vinyl records did not help (as the record was ready in January 2021). 

Tell me about the general idea behind the album and how it differs from your previous release? 

SK: We wanted to do better, that was the first statement. Then we were wishing for a more acoustic approach. For the first album, electronics + samples came first and then the acoustic drums and instruments were added later on and almost became somehow secondary in a way. This time we reversed the process. While we were on tour in Germany we had a day off, rather than just resting we planned to book a dance studio and there we recorded various improvised rhythms on different set tempi, only using our little hand drums. The concept and sound of our new album was actually born from that fresh and recreational session.

What is a creative process like in your case? How do you make new songs?

PV: As we live in different countries, we work normally sending each other basic elements which we like. And then answer by adding layers, that’s how the material takes shape, building bit by bit after all these "back and forth" steps. Nevertheless, for this second record, this method found its limits which is why we understood we needed to be together to experience and reinvent a more intuitive playful approach.

How do you record vocalic parts for such songs as "Animal". For me, it's a real display of what voice can do. And I do not mean it purely in terms of traditionally understood "singing". 

PV: We feel like the pulse of rhythm can be also produced by breath and vocal abstraction. In ethnic tribes, the vocal polyrhythms are often creating these accents and dynamics, this was the main inspiration behind that piece.

You apply an abundance of instruments while making your music - and they are not very traditional ones, if I may say so. Where does the idea to apply such arsenal to make your sound come from? 

SK: These instruments are quite archaic, this is why they are so close to us. Firstly, you just need to become a child banging a small hand drum to go back to the sensation of feeling simply "alive" in a way. There is also something sensual as well as in the way you caress, then slap, then beat the skin of a drum with your hand or with a stick. Then of course when later we sculpted the recordings of these "simple" different drums using computer armadas and adding the digital samples and synths, the work became more and more orchestral and somehow architectural in a way. 

What is music for you? Is it conceptual, intellectual, or is it heart matter? Or totally different? 

PV: It really depends as it is very personal. That’s the beauty and the power of music. There is a different music for all our human needs and all the different levels of body/mind perceptions. It is a primarily a sum of vibrations which communicates to the body in different ways as frequencies and rhythms generate sensations, but it also a mental, poetic message and a memory link which transmits to our emotions. Every one of us can choose how they prefer to receive this complex set of sensitivities.

What can we expect next - are you planning any live shows with the project? Or new sonic discoveries? 

SK: Both we hope. Of course, we are eager to go on stage to shake grounds and animate souls. But also, we wish to write some new pieces exploring different musical landscapes and horizons, that would be a challenge for both of us. 

Thank you very much for the time you took to answer the questions. I appreciate! 

Thanks to you again! ;-)
Translator: khocico
Add date: 2021-09-25 / Interviews

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