Me are an Australian rock four-piece, who are simply incredible. Currently residing in Berlin and curating their own monthly live music night named, Satisfactory Factory. They are also in the process of demoing and writing new songs for their second album and they have just recently released their new single, Sleepwalker, for free download. So everything’s going pretty well in the world of Me right now and rightfully so, their continued persistence and dedication is finally paying off and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving band.
I caught up with the band’s frontman, Luke Ferris, for this exclusive chat about everything from songwriting to what it’s like being an Australian band living in Berlin. Read on to hear what he said.
What’s the story behind your band name and how long did it take you to settle on it?
We took quite a long time to decide on a band name. We were looking for something different and perhaps a little quirky. We also liked girls names and we nearly settled on one but turned out she was a major artist in the USA. We had a very long list and after a few weeks and much debate, we decided on Me. We really didn’t think about how hard it would be to find on the net. When we did realise, we liked the name too much and decided to keep it.
Having heard your music, I instantly knew that there was something very special about this band. For any readers who haven’t had chance to listen to your music, how would you sum up your sound to them?
It’s rock, but a little different. We’ve had lots of people try and describe our sound as Theatrical Rock or something like a Rock Opera. There are quite over the top moments to our music. We love classic rock, guitars, bass and drums, but there’s loads more to our sound. We have an emphasis on big harmonies, sometimes turning out to be quite choral in effect.
Your live video for Sleepwalker is beautifully done. Can we be expecting an official music video for Sleepwalker soon and do you enjoy filming music videos? Is it a fun process?
Cheers, we had loads of fun shooting that one. Yes, we’re just planning and executing the shoot for Sleepwalker now. Couldn’t tell you when that will see the light of day, hopefully soon. I always feel a little strange doing the whole performing to the camera thing. I don’t think I’m great at it, so we tend to try and go for the live performance aspect in our film clips. That’s where we all feel most comfortable, as musicians, playing as a band together.
Where does the inspiration come from when you’re writing songs? Particularly, in the case of Sleepwalker, how did that song come to fruition?
Inspiration can come from anywhere but usually quite reflective of the place and head space that I’m in at the time. Sleepwalker was a song that I wrote with a good friend in Melbourne at the end of last year. I was suffering some major writers block, so I decided to try something different to get inspired and out of old, perhaps unhealthy ways. We got together on a regular basis and tried a whole bunch of different ways at approaching the song writing process. Sleepwalker is the result of those couple of weeks.
When inspiration strikes, are you one for grabbing the pen and paper or do you opt for your phone?
Phone! My phone is loaded up with hundreds of ideas and melodies. I regularly back them up on the computer and every now and then I’ll go back and listen to old stuff to see if anything grabs me or sparks some more inspiration. Usually ideas come to me late at night, just before I’m about to sleep. I’ll always reach for the phone and have a little sing into it, perhaps after fiddling around on the piano or guitar.
Talk us through the songwriting process. Is it a collaborative effort and roughly, how long does it take you to write a song?
It’s very varied in this band. For a long time I was really the only one songwriting and bringing songs to the band. The others would contribute a little to the lyrics on occasions. Since the departure of our old guitarist and arrival of our new man Josh Murphy, the dynamic within the band has changed quite considerably. We are now in a place where three of us are all contributing fairly evenly to new songs. That can be anywhere from one of us walking in with a fully formed song to two of us drinking a bottle of whiskey and penning a tune in a drunken collaborative manner.
Who inspires you as a band collectively and who are your musical influences individually?
We are all big fans of The Beatles. I think their incredible song-writing, infectious harmonies and strong harmonies really resonates with all of us as a band. We’re all quite big fans of Radiohead as well. Once again, like inspiration, my influences usually depend on a time and place. We’ve relocated to Berlin at the moment and I’ve been checking out a bunch of different artists in this city. I think our next album could sound quite different because of our stay.
Are there any new artists that have caught your attention recently that you’d like to share with us?
Here in Berlin there are a few that I’ve caught in the last few weeks. Suns of Thyme are a great Berlin band. The Odd Couple are an off-shoot of Suns of Thyme and we had the pleasure to play with them last night. Phia is an ex-Melbournian, now resident of Berlin, who does some phenomenal things with her voice, a kalimba and a looping pedal. These are all great artists and I highly recommend checking out their live shows.
Do you have any tips for new bands starting out, any advice that you could give to them?
Make sure you find the right people to create music with. You have to have the same musical vision but more importantly, be able to work, live, create and perform together. Over time, these are the aspects that will make or break a band. It really is like a marriage.
You recently relocated to Berlin, after spending some time over in the UK. Being originally from Australia, you’ve been living away from home for a long time now. You must get homesick, I’d imagine it’s completely different, living in London and Germany to living in Oz? How do the music scenes compare in each country?
They are all quite different, yet awesome in their own way. Melbourne has a very healthy music scene and perhaps the best live music scene I’ve experienced. Every bar or little venue has a stage and the capacity to showcase live music. There are so many live venues in Melbourne that it has fostered a great scene of live music that can be accessed at hundreds of different places on any night of the week. London is quite like this as well, but spread over greater distances. There seems to be a focus on live performance in East London and Camden. We have found Berlin does not seem to have nearly as many venues as we originally had imagined and there is a bigger emphasis on DJ’s and electronic based music. You really have to go out of your way to find new venues and emerging artists here, but the city is more inspirational and easier for artists to live in. I’ve loved living in all of these cities but Berlin is definitely where we want to be at the moment.
Speaking of Germany. How has it been living there and making a name for yourselves out there? I’d imagine, it’s like starting out again, building up that initial groundwork, but from what I’ve been hearing you’ve built quite a considerable fan base over there now, which is good to see.
Yes, Germany has been treating us very well. We’ve been lucky enough to have been able to play some great shows around the country. We have been on tour to lots of different cities and played some great festivals. Southside/Hurricane Festivals have definitely been some of our highlights in our time here. We have just started up our own club night, Satisfactory Factory, which we are curating and running every month. Because of the lack of venues here, we decided to put on our own gig/party and invite not just musical acts but visual artists, DJs, drum troupes, tattoo artists and anyone that can contribute to making it more than just a couple of bands playing on the night.
Sounds pretty awesome. Do you have a favourite moment of your careers so far? Anything that’s really stood out?
Moving to England to record our first album with Barny Barnicott was pretty special for me personally. It’s something that seemed quite surreal that the opportunity arose to move to another country, record in a great studio and work with an excellent producer to capture our first album.
Anything new in the works for Me?
We’re writing loads of new tracks and demoing a few at a time in a studio here in Berlin. By the end of the year, we should hopefully have over fifty tracks to choose from to record our second album.
A special thanks to Luke Ferris from ME for this interview and for more info on the band, check out the following links below.