Get To Know... meg elsier: Nashville, inspirations, and her debut album 'spittake'

Neu Get To Know… meg elsier

If you thought Nashville was just a country music haven and nothing more, think again.

Hello and welcome back to DIY’s introducing feature, Get To Know… which aims to get you a little bit closer to the buzziest acts that have been catching our eye as of late, and working out what makes them tick.

It hardly needs to be said that there’s something in the musical water of Nashville, but meg elsier is one of a new generation of stellar artists putting the city on the map for more than just country. While her tender, heartfelt vocals do at times have a similar feel to those of CMAT (albeit with a transatlantic twang), her forthcoming debut LP ‘spittake’ - due to land later this year - also runs the gamut from grunge to contemporary pop (a case in point is recent release ‘forlyleinsanfrancisco’, which pairs classic rock riffs with almost Olivia Rodrigo-like lyricism).

Latest cut ‘oldnews’, meanwhile, changes things up once again, this time making much of the satisfying contrast between industrial, off-kilter percussion and her crystalline vocals. To mark the track’s release, we caught up with meg to find out more about Nashville’s thriving DIY scene, the titles on her bookshelf, and her predictions for what the rest of 2024 will hold…

What’s your earliest musical memory?
If we’re being real, my first musical memory was realising if I sing really loud I can get everyone to pay attention to me. So it was probably just me interrupting a beautiful moment by screaming ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’.

The first moment I felt like I had my personal relationship with music would be going to a show like Annie or The Lion King and seeing kids my age perform and sing on stage. I remember that shifting my perspective a lot.

You’re based in Nashville, which obviously has a big musical reputation! Can you tell us a bit more about the scene there? Who are some other artists breaking through at the moment?
Nashville is such an interesting music town! Everyone obviously immediately thinks of country and Americana music, but I think there is something so special about the DIY and indie scenes here. I think when you live in an area where the music you play or the things you’re trying to say aren’t necessarily the norm, it can be tricky to manoeuvre, but I also think it makes the community you find that much more special and connected. The amount of support and cheerleading this community does for each other is unlike any other place - everyone just champions each other because all we want is more great music and art, and that’s what people are doing.

In terms of other artists, I’ve been loving the amount of women-led bands coming out of Nashville! Snõõper is such a key player in the scene here, their shows are so creative and fun; they have paper-mache bugs, stoplights, and the energy they create is infectious! It’s a great place to jump and get thrown around. Artists like Venus & the Flytraps, Joiner, Baby Wave, Wilby, Hana Eid and Annie DiRusso also all make me scream and dance and throw up in the best way!

Your upcoming debut album ‘spittake’ incorporates elements of pop, indie, folk, and grunge - which one song would you recommend to a first-time listener, and why?

I think the first single ‘ifshitfuq’ is a good introduction to the record sonically and lyrically. The language and tones used are kinda sprinkled all over the album, though each song has a different flavour. But I think the actual intro to the album, ‘spittake’, is a good choice too. It feels like you’ve been told a secret that you’re not exactly sure you should know.

You’ve mentioned that ‘iznotreal’ was partly inspired by AI. What other inspirations outside of music have an impact on your writing?

It’s funny, because if you were to ask about musical inspirations for the album, I could answer that easily and go on and on. When it comes to inspirations outside of music, I don’t think I’ve ever thought about it to be honest. I write how I talk in my head and that’s super important to me. I think it’s the little moments and simple language that leave the most room for the projection of emotion; the simplicity opens it up to what [the listener] was personally meant to get out of it, not exactly what I was feeling at the time.

So inspiration-wise, I think it’s just life and those little “a-ha” moments that give you so much out of something easy and light. Also, I take a lot of inspiration from certain authors who I love, like Vonnegut and Banana Yoshimoto. I tend to read books where the language is simple, yet witty and thought-provoking, and that for sure inspires phrasing and just lets me be playful.

“When you live in an area where the music you play or the things you’re trying to say aren’t necessarily the norm, it can be tricky to manoeuvre, but I also think it makes the community you find that much more special and connected.”

Give us a day in the life of meg elsier at the moment - where are you going? Who with? What are you listening to / reading / watching?
So, we’re always gonna start with my cat waking me up by smacking me in the face because she wants to go outside. After that, it’s gonna be a free for all! Lately I’ve been writing and then rehearsing with the guys; crafting; and coming up with crazy concepts to shoot with Jacq Justice, who did the majority of the videos and visuals for this album. And then when the sun sets, shaking my ass and dancing with friends!

I’ve recently been in the purgatory of trying to read two books at once - which is not going well - but they are Kafka’s Letters to Milena and then No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai. So essentially, I’m trying to read a love letter and a suicide note at once. I’m also watching Survivor again, which means I’m becoming more cunning and sneaky with each episode - so watch out! And this week I’ve been listening to a lot of Autolux, Grandaddy, the new Charli XCX song, and Brahms’ Symphony No. 4.

What are your in and out predictions for the rest of 2024?

NYT games; getting dessert after dinner; “Pookie”; reading before bed; trying everything and being okay with sucking at it; slow-paced French movies about cooking with gorgeous natural lighting and forbidden love that make you cry and laugh and want to have a family of your own one day; women/nonbinary/queer artists being highlighted for how incredible their music is; breathing.

BeReal; potholes; “Daddy”; scrolling on my phone ’til 3 am ‘cause I have no self-control; being so scared to fail you do nothing; marvel/action movies with a billion dollar budget; women/nonbinary/queer artists being overlooked for truly no reason whatsoever; vaping.

Finally, DIY are coming round for dinner - what are you making?

Okay so you KNOW I am getting all dolled up. I’ll put on a Chet Baker album because, *classy*. My vision is Korean bbq! I’ll make all the banchans and some gimbap, and we’ll drink soju and sit around the grill and be merry and happy!! If y’all are vegan, I guess just soju :(

‘spittake’ is out later this year; meg’s latest single ‘oldnews’ is out now.

Tags: meg elsier, Neu, Get to Know

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