It may be a little strange to think that, in 2021, pop punk is experiencing a new moment in the sun, but here we are. And while Travis Barker is collaborating with new artists like KennyHoopla and WILLOW, and Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘good 4 u’ has given Paramore a whole new lease of life on TikTok, there’s one new band in particular who are ushering in a new era for the genre.
“First and foremost, it was just the music itself,” begins Meet Me @ The Altar’s Téa Campbell, when asked what exactly drew the trio to pop punk to begin with. “It’s super fun and makes you want to jump around and stuff, which is what we love to do. Then there’s also the whole culture of Warped Tour; everyone would be crowd-surfing and I feel like more people are willing to let loose at a pop punk show.”
Formed in 2015 after Téa linked up with drummer Ada Juarez online (Téa hails from Florida, while Ada was living in New Jersey), the band soon recruited vocalist Edith Johnson from her home in Atlanta, and began working remotely. “It’s just the Gen Z in our blood!” laughs Edith, on meeting her bandmates via YouTube. “It was like, we have the internet, why not use it?” confirms Téa. “We couldn’t really find people in our areas who played music, or even listened to the type of music we listened to, so we didn’t let that stop us.”
“We were aware that there was no one else out there that looked like us.”
— Téa Campbell
Unsurprisingly, the trio emanate a bubbly sense of excitement about their achievements so far. From being recipients of Halsey’s recent #BLACKCREATORSFUND, to being signed to legendary pop punk label Fueled By Ramen (“Getting signed to FBR was the end goal for us; we just didn’t know it was gonna come that soon!” laughs Téa), there’s also a sense of genuine determination that lies beneath their success: to help open up a more inclusive and diverse scene for future artists and fans.
“Ever since we first formed, we just saw where the band was gonna go,” Téa confirms. “The plan was always to be the biggest band in the world, so that we could be that band that we ourselves didn’t have growing up. We were aware that there was no one else out there that looked like us.” Now, with EP ‘Model Citizen’, they’re ready to lead by example. "It felt super normal because we had been talking about it and thinking about it for the entirety of our band,” Téa nods. “We’ve been mentally preparing ourselves for this role this entire time, so we’re ready to go.”
As featured in the August 2021 issue of DIY, out now.