MUSIC FEATURE: Press To MECO On Deconstructing Their Craft At 2000trees
How do a band often described as Meshuggah playing Weezer shows end up being booked for acoustic sets at boutique rock festivals? Simple: they’re capable of it. 2000trees have put faith in Press to MECO translating their infectious and off-kilter tunes into delicate and beautiful harmony-laden acoustic tracks. It’s paid off, their set is like a warm hug, with the band’s peerless three-part harmonies and musical nous forming a joyous embrace in the middle of the sun-drenched forest.
It doesn’t do any harm that the band have fine-tuned these tracks over an extensive acoustic live run and EP this year. It speaks volumes though that these new takes on old favourites aren’t just stripped back singalongs, but finely crafted compositions themselves.
“It was actually being asked to do the set last year that inspired us to do it. We realised we could probably deconstruct the songs a lot more and do something cool with it,” explains guitarist Luke Caley.
“It’s a really fun challenge for us and this is the perfect place for it, perfect scenery in the forest. I don’t know…everyone is in your headlights and more engaged and it’s a little more personal,” adds drummer Lewis Williams.
As bands go, Press to MECO are as warm and friendly as they come. Their passion for simply playing and creating music is obvious, their cheery demeanour is overly positive even for a Friday afternoon at a sun-soaked festival. Between bouts of charming self-depreciation and chuckles the band delve into what the last year has taught them about being creative.
“Everything we do is like…gathering data and knowledge of what works. If anything, deconstructing the songs has helped us understand a little better what works and what doesn’t, and what’s better this way…once you take that and run it through amps and stuff as well it’s only going to sound so much bigger when it sounds huge stripped back already,” Caley explains.
Williams half-jokingly adds: “It’s been interesting how many parts have left us looking at each other going, this is really cool. Why didn’t we do this in the first place?”
Does this mean the days of distortion and aggression are behind the band? Not quite yet it seems.
“It’s only going to affect us as songwriters in that’s it’s helping us hone our craft more than how anything will really sound I think.”
It seems as if part of the band’s new-found creative spark can be attributed to their experience working on their second album, Here’s To The Fatigue, with legendary producer Machine, he of Lamb Of God, Clutch and Every Time I Die fame.
Bubbling with warmth for the band’s relationship with the producer Caley exclaims: “It was so, so great working with Machine! He did Clutch before us…he’s an amazing guy. A bit of an enigma with an infectious personality…especially in the studio. He makes you love your own songs again because he’s so excited and bouncing off the walls.
“We wanted to work with him because all his records sound unique and specific to the band, a lot of producers kinda have a template for a mix. But he takes each animal as its own.”
The other big influence on the band over the last wee while has been their opening slot on the enormous European tour of US radio rockers Shinedown. Press to MECO’s more abstract songwriting doesn’t seem like an obvious foil for the straight down the line, radio focused bombast of Shinedown, but as the band are quick to point out that playing with a mix of bands isn’t exactly unfamiliar territory for them:
“The last four or five tours we’ve done have been Sikth, Don Broco, Arcane Roots, Shinedown…we play with everyone haha,” Caley laughs.
It’s the trio’s ability to play with bands as wildly different as this and not feel totally out place that really shows just how accomplished they are as songwriters. Music isn’t about stylistic norms for this band, all that matters is the music. Something they shared with a lot of the audience they played to on the gargantuan run from the UK to Russia.
“Out in Europe we found people kind of appreciated good rock music and they didn’t worry about genre so much. Back here, there are so many small pockets of genres. In Poland, where not a lot of bands go, they’re just excited to see great rock music.” Williams explains enthusiastically.
Caley adds: “It’s not as much ‘oh I love math rock that’s mostly what I listen to’ over there. It’s a lot more ‘I like rock music.’
“There were some shows better than others obviously. With a band like that and a band like ours, not everyone is going be into it. But it was really humbling the response we got. We didn’t know how we’d go down on that tour, but Shinedown were great guys and so accommodating and that was reflected in their fans a lot as well.”
It’s a reflective attitude that seems incredibly mature for a band so young. There’s no posturing, jealously or bravado on display here, just totally sincere admiration for any band passionate about their craft.
As the conversation continues on the subject of bands that Press to MECO have supported, including the recently reformed Sikth, a band who were cruelly underappreciated in their own time, we ask whether they ever worry they could end up being victims to the fickle nature of timing.
“Sometimes things take a while to catch on. There’s always a wave of something doing well, you can never really know why,” Williams reflects.
“There’s been so many great bands that have been ill-timed and they come back ten years later and they’re so much bigger and people appreciate them now. You can’t try to do what’s hot right now, you’ll always be behind if you do that. Wackier bands than us have got huge, it’s important not to lose sight that you just have to chip away at it. For a lot of bands, it just doesn’t happen overnight.”
“It’s easier to convince yourself or find the problems than it is to face the facts. If it’s going to happen, it’s all about perseverance.” Caley concludes.
And it’s with statements like that that it becomes clear, that if there is any justice in the world, Press to MECO will be treated kindly by time. Bands as talented, dedicated to their craft and bristling with perseverance as this deserve it.
See Press To MECO live at one of the following dates:
Wed 2nd – STOKE – The Sugarmill
Thu 3rd – YORK – Basement
Fri 4th – HUDDERSFIELD – The Parish
Sat 5th – LEICESTER – The Shed
Thu 10th – BIRMINGHAM – Flapper (w/ SHVPES)
Fri 11th – MILTON KEYNES – Craufurd Arms
Sat 12th – TUNBRIDGE WELLS – Forum
Wed 16th – OXFORD – Academy 2
Thu 17th – BOURNEMOUTH – Anvil
Fri 18th – PLYMOUTH – Underground
Sat 19th – CHELTENHAM – Frog & Fiddle
Wed 23rd – NEWCASLE – Think Tank
Thu 24th – EDINBURGH – Sneaky Pete’s
Fri 25th – LIVERPOOL – E.B.G.B.S
Sat 26th – GUILDFORD – Boileroom