We chat to Press to MECO about 2000trees, upcoming tours and becoming a professional wrestler.
Back in March, I had the genuine pleasure of reviewing Press To MECO’s newest album Here’s To The Fatigue. At that time, I had heard the name but not the numbers and couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into this exciting new musical experience. And what an experience it was – whirlwind riffs, soaring vocal harmonies and huge choruses that don’t afford a second of respite and will keep you on your toes for the duration of the record. It seemed only fitting to follow up with a chat with the band and what better place to do it than in a sweaty tent in the middle of a field in Cheltenham?
2000trees is firmly situated within the hearts of those of us who champion the alternative music scene. Year in year out it features the epitomical outfits of this scene and no matter what the time of day, there is guaranteed to be an act playing that you should be watching. However, this can be both a blessing and a curse. “We were a little bit apprehensive because we were clashing with Black Foxxes on the Main Stage and it seemed like that was, on Twitter, one of the clashes that people were talking about”. Nevertheless, a flirtatious exchange between the bands on social media lifted those deterred fan’s spirits as they teased a potential collaborative tour. “Maybe! We’ll see. I mean, they seemed up for it, but we’ll see what happens. I feel like if enough people message them, which quite a few people did, it may happen.”. Get messaging.
Initial apprehensions aside, it must be said that Press To MECO’s set in The Axiom exceeded expectation. In the short space of half an hour, the band managed to whip the crowd (which stretched all the way to the back of the tent) into a state of sheer frenzy. “That was really the first proper festival feedback that we’ve had on the new album and just hearing people singing all the words, especially all the big gang bits, was so humbling”. One of the aspects that makes this band so brilliantly unique is that, despite the quirky and angular elements to their songs, they are also fundamentally accessible. The aforementioned ‘gang bits’ provide moments where even the most casual listener can identify the hook. Before you know it, you’ll be aggressively pointing your finger in the air crying out “HERE’S TO THE FATIGUE”.
A particular highlight of the set came in the form of A Quick Fix – the most rifftastic song off of the new album. The trio recognised the opportunity to exercise these riffs to their full potential. “The idea of playing the songs live was a huge factor in the new songs we wrote. You’re a wiser band, you know what works live and you want to create more of those moments where everyone can just get on board”. When A Quick Fix drew to a close this became evident. Extending the outro by repeating the section in half time (and then halving that again) probably resulted in a few cases of whiplash, induced by headbanging within the crowd. To some, it may seem over-indulgent to exaggerate these sections to within an inch of their life but for Press To MECO “it’s just so fun”. “Perhaps you can just play a section twice as long, so everyone can just jump around a bit longer and just give it a blast. It’s just songcraft really”.
The flexibility that is laced within their songwriting perfectly complements the versatility that Press To MECO boast in abundance. We saw this in their stripped-back acoustic set on the Forest stage. The quieter, more intimate setting exposed the raw talent possessed by the band, without any bells and whistles (apart from those tied to the foot of Lewis Williams – the percussive Bear Grylls). A Place In It All suited the setting perfectly – poised and measured for the most part but capped off with a sing-a-long final chorus. Of course, the element that impresses the most is the chemistry between the trio that comes to the fore in the form of three-part harmonies. These have been a staple of the band’s sound from the start and just sets them further apart from the crowd. It’s this chemistry that renders them more than a band, rather, a creative ensemble.
As our chat was coming to a close, we asked the band to reflect on how they would like to be remembered once everything was said and done. After a ponderous break, Lewis blurted out “not committing any hate crimes” – a notion that the remainder of the outfit agrees with. In addition to this, Lewis also disclosed unto us his dreams of becoming the WWE World Heavyweight Champion – “I mean, if Jeff Hardy can do it, I can do it… Team Xtreme… Sign Out!”. This was just one of a number of moments that the band brilliantly opted for comedy over a heavy or serious response. Air guitar breaks and a Manchester Orchestra related riddle also showed that these guys refuse to take themselves too seriously. This echoes the sentiment that Press To MECO are more than just musicians playing together.
With all of this in mind, you’d be remiss not to get involved with this band. What better place to start than catching them on their upcoming tour? This run includes a one-off full-album playthrough of Here’s To The Fatigue – “We just wanted to do something special” – no doubt it will be.
You can grab tickets at http://presstomeco.com/. Don’t miss out.
While you’re here, feel free to listen to the audio of our full chat with Press To MECO (featuring a live backing-track from Arcane Roots) here:
I’d like to extend a big thank you to Press To MECO for their time and to Donnay at The Noise Cartel for making the interview possible.