Meneguar put indierock back on the map. With their last year’s reissue of “i was born at night” and their upcoming release of “strangers in our house” (both on Troubleman Unlimited, the first one on Narshardaa, too) the New York based band breathes life back into this discredited genre. Yes, indie rock sounds a little moldy by now. The whole last years’ dance revival replaced the 90ies guitar-driven rock music. Suddenly indie rock had turned into an awkward slacker soundtrack for boring fresher parties and ridicioulous geeks boasting about their collection of Pavement 7”es while the hipsters were dancing to the latest DFA single...
But fortunately this is not the whole of the truth and a band like Meneguar comes along with its own special approach to this type of music. The band makes indie rock sound dirtier, noisier and younger again while strumming through their songs with an impressive playfulness. An affinity for straight-forward and melodic guitarplay, impulsive bass lines, charged drums and singalong choruses makes every song a little ode to youthful enthausiasm. Bands like Pavement, Hüsker Dü or Unwound come to mind. But the band is no copycat and very well able to set their own marks. For instance songs like “house of cats” and “the temp” are played with such a verve that you can’t get them out of your mind.
Sure, it’s the punkrock and d.i.y.background that makes the band’s approach to indie rock special. All of the members have been active in New York’s punk scene, made their own labels or played in bands like Books Lie. A critical view on the dozens of trends in New York united the four guys 2004 and inspired them to do something different.
I had the chance to do little chat with Jarvis about music, d.i.y. and his hometown.
Does Meneguar like to be linked with “indie rock” and “its return”?
These days, whenever someone refers to a band as indie rock it's usually just a synonym for boring. I don't think I want to be associated with what indierock is right now because it was so important in the late 80's/early 90's. It occupied a similar cultural space as punk did before it. I'd send away for an album that was recorded on a 4-track in someone's bedroom and put out by a band member. It was exciting. It was my punkrock. I'd love to be that to someone.
How does the (past-time) involvement of some of you in punk bands and the d.i.y. scene affect Meneguars songs (musically and content-wise)?
We'd been making music together during the existence of those bands. We just never felt we fit in anywhere, so we kept it secret. We became more confident after Jeremy joined and we starting booking tours and putting out records with all the people we had become friends with. I really didn't think that scene would be so accepting of us, it was a nice surprise. As far as affecting our sound, it's kinda like how every experience in your life makes you the person you are today. You know.
"i'm snake in a house of cats... " I was wondering if this line from your debut album is a comment on living in New York?
The lyrics in that song follows a theme, but not really a subject. It's mainly about being a total jerk and getting away with it. Knowing how to respond to situations, without any emotion, because you've watched enough tv and movies growing up. [Speaking of New York:] It's there, it's just not really part of my life. I ride my bike to shows, pay very little to get in, hang out with friends, see bands that I like or that have people in them that I like. So I'm not really down on the NY scene in any way. I can always just go home. NY has always been about options.
In support of their upcoming album Meneguar is going to tour Europe in September. Check paperandironbooking.com for details.