London-based trio Cheap Meat aren’t wasting time. Having recently signed to Hassle Records and after releasing first single ‘Sweetness Take Me Back’, they’ve soon returned with debut EP ‘The Parts That Show’. “We’ve recorded four songs,” guitarist and singer Ross Drummond explains, “and then we’re going to go back in [to the studio] during the summer and record some more. We’ll have singles to release while we do it, so we can keep some momentum for when an album comes out.”
As for the time frame, he continues: “It just depends how well things go with the EP coming out. We’re still relatively unknown so it’s a bit more of a slog to try to build a fan base for anyone to give a shit, because once it’s out, it’s out, you know what I mean? You can only get to the top of the mountain once ’til you have to come back down again. I’ve got so many songs I’ve written to craft and set up this perfect kind of first album. I know I want it to have ten songs on it, but it’s like, what ten songs?”
Making an impression is important, of course; but sometimes a hand from some friends can help. Earlier this year the band supported the inimitable Bob Mould at Brooklyn Bowl in London. “That was fucking bizarre, we got put forward for it along with I imagine hundreds of bands and he picked us! We have a booking agent but it didn’t come by them, it came through a friend who works [at the venue], he put us forward.”
Retelling the occasion with sheer joy, he continues: “We arrived and he was like, ‘Hi, I’m Bob’, and we’re like ‘Yeah, no fucking shit!’ He was like, ‘I heard a lot of bands and I heard you guys, I thought you were really great and I’m looking forward to seeing your set tonight. I’m now going to bowl and then I’m gonna sound check.’ And we just watched Bob Mould bowl for like half an hour.”
Referring back to the struggles for new bands with the inundation of fellow aspiring creatives, those moments proved particularly encouraging for the band. “It’s weird, we have a hard time to fit in the scene or whatever, it’s like where do I fit, who are we like? We’re kind of poppy, but then you get someone like Bob Mould who tells you you write good songs and then it doesn’t fucking matter!”
Initially starting as a duo, a plan Ross believed foolproof, it was soon thwarted by another band. “We recorded the EP originally as a two piece and added bass afterwards, because originally we thought that if we were a two piece then it’d be cheap to do and we thought we were super fucking original. I remember we went to rehearsal one night and Matt [Rebeiro, drums] was like, ‘Oh have you heard this band called Royal Blood?’ I was like, well we’re fucked now then. That’s that done. There hadn’t been a two piece in a while and then all of a sudden every fucker’s in a two piece.”
The third dimension was added with a simple online ad. “Pete [Hakola] our bass player is from Finland, we found him on Gumtree. It was him and a fridge freezer,” Ross explains laughing. The addition of Pete was pivotal in forming the powerful and melodic sound that makes Cheap Meat so pleasing. “When it came to us playing live I was trying to have this massive wall of guitar and if you come to our show you’ll hopefully hear that, it’s pretty fucking rad. Pete and I spent a lot of time on our guitar and bass tone to get that proper like power trio, I felt like it was kind of missing.”
Of course, no band can truly get going without a good live show, something that Ross is a major advocate of – including utilising their mutual love of wrestling. “We’ve been coming up with different songs to come onstage with. I think when we go onstage on tour we’re going to come on to Stone Cold’s theme tune or The Rock’s theme. Matt’s got an Octapad with triggers and he’s finding all wrestling one-liners to trigger in between songs and shit.”
Continuing his explanation of their live mentality, he says: “When we play live we don’t really take ourselves very seriously, there are so many fucking poser bands. I care about the songs but when we play or go to shows I always want the band to look like they’re having fun. So many bands just kind of like, play. When I was growing up and seeing bands playing and looking like they’re having fun or just connecting with the crowd, to have that dynamic, makes you want to be in a band. It makes you want to go out and play guitar, and when we play live that’s what we want to do.”
“When we play live, Matt and I have this bad double act,” he adds, “Pete’s just this stone cold, one liner dude, but Matt has a mic and he just talks shit all the time and it fucking winds me up.” It’s clear from the jubilance in his voice that there is a clear chemistry between the two that can’t be faked, everything is completely genuine. “So I just call him out on it constantly. Matt thinks he’s stuck in like the [Blink 182 live album] ‘Mark, Tom & Travis Show’, he went to that school of stage banter and I’m just like ‘shut the fuck up!’ It works really well, we have a good dynamic.”
Taken from the April issue of Upset – order your copy here.
More from Features
One of our favourite twosomes – and former Upset cover stars, no less – Diet Cig are changing our world with their sense of fun and community.