ME blew me away when I saw them supporting Arcane Roots in Liverpool earlier this month, and when the opportunity arose to catch up with them at their Manchester show I jumped at the chance. Here’s what the rhythm section Michael Godde (bass) and Spike Rogers (drums) had to say...
Let’s start with the who, the how and the when of the band...
Michael: We started in Australia about 4 years ago. Me & our guitarist Damian met at a festival, and then we met Luke on an online dating site for musicians, it was very romantic. We auditioned 30 drummers before we found Spike; he kicked the shit out of all of them, so he came aboard, so that was also romantic. Then we did a residency at The Evelyn in Melbourne for ages to build up our fan base, we kept at it, rehearsed 9-5 for a long time. And then eventually we came over here; we got signed by a record label over here. And then we met you!
ME isn’t the most Google friendly band name ever, how did you decide on it and what did you reject along the way?
Spike: I think it was on a list of thousand names.
Michael: Areola was one of my favourites off the list, it was a long list.
Spike: It was choose your name, make sure it's incredibly stupid and then everyone will talk about it. We didn’t ever think about Google at the time.
Michael: Another thing we thought would be really funny would be once we recorded songs and the radio started to play them, we really wanted the radio presenter to stumble on it and be like “This is ME, errr not me but...” We basically wanted to be confusing and a pain in the arse... Mission accomplished!
What prompted your move from Australia to the UK?
S: The signing, definitely the signing.
M: We got discovered at an industry festival, very much like Great Escape over here or Liverpool Sound City, the Australian equivalent of that. We met these people and they were really nice and they’ve become sort of like our family, and they moved us over here, its good because we needed to replace our real family that we left behind. And now we have a record label.
S: It's great over here, we love it... except for the weather!
How are you finding touring over here compared to in Australia?
M: It's easy to tour over here.
S: You can actually drive.
M: There’s less distance between the places. In Australia it wasn’t uncommon for us to drive 9 hours to one show and then drive back. It takes 4 days to drive the length of Australia.
S: There’s a lot more venues to play in this country as well, you can tour for a lot longer, go to a different venue every time you come back here.
M: Just logistically it's going to be so much better over here, because of how small it is and how many people there are compared to how big Australia is and how many people there are. And lots of great cities, every city has got something special about it, and they’re all so close to each other.
Any favourite cities to play?
M: I really like York; I think its beautiful. I really like Manchester; because the people really like music.
S: I like Leeds, Leeds is pretty cool.
If you could play on stage with any artist/band who would it be and what would you play?
S: Either Whole Lotta Love or Moby Dick by Led Zeppelin, get up there with Bonham, double drums, I’d love doing that!
M: It’d have to be a Jimi Hendrix song because it’d be awesome to play with him, he’s a freaking legend. Maybe All Along The Watchtower, yeah, that's my final answer!
If you could curate your own festival who would you invite?
M: Jimi Hendrix!!!
You can’t just have one artist, it’d be a really small festival if you did!
S: Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Queen, Radiohead.
M: Soundgarden, that's like the only band that's still together out of all of them. Flaming Lips, they’re supposed to put on a great live show.
S: A couple of friends from back home, a band we really love called The Redcoats.
M: My sisters band Hiatus Coyote, that sounds like fun.
There’s quite a lot of videos of you with street pianos, is that something you actively seek out or has it just organically grown?
M: There will be more soon. Luke found one in Paris and he filmed himself doing a few songs there. Someone we know thought it was a really good idea, so we’ve started to look for them now. I found one outside Kings Cross station the other day. So long story short, we are seeking them out now.
S: People have started sending locations in to us now, you don’t realise how many there are until you start seeking them out. You’ll notice them from now on.
What's next for you guys?
S: We’ve got a tour with Canterbury, then we’re going to have a week or so holiday because we think we need one, get some sun. Then there's some potential for some headline shows later on. Then another big tour, and towards the end of the year we’ve just been announced for The Big Day Out, that's amazing.
M: That one's huge, very happy about that, I can die a happy man. And also in August we’ve got Y-Not festival, we’re coming back from our holidays to play that.
Finally if there was one question you wished I’d asked today or a subject you’d have liked to have discussed what would it be?
M: “What colour underwear am I wearing?”, what about you Spike?
S: “Would you like a drink?” that's always my favourite interview question!
Watch one of ME's aforementioned impromptu performances on a street piano in London below: