How Was 2022 For Blistering Scottish BLAH BLAH BLAH Engine MEMES?

7 December 2022

Glaswegian post-punks MEMES are a sharp-teethed and politically/socially outspoken
2-motor engine that produces loud and clear uppercuts. From their steamed-up debut single, Blah Blah Blah, (released in 2019) on, my ears fell in love with the duo’s blistering sound.

And when I saw them cheering up the crowd in Antwerp (Belgium) last April, when playing
a whirlwind post-Fontaines D.C. show I knew they are here to stay, leading us to more big bangers in 2023.

But first this chat with the nephews (yep, they are family) about nonsmokers, Wham, Steve Lamacq, the Scottish national anthem and more. And as usual Turn Up The Volume starts an interview with a slice of music. Here’s MEMES newest single Leader.

Hell John,
Hell Paul,

How/when did you start jour musical journey?

“We were playing in another band together with some other musicians. It became really difficult and really expensive to drive drum kits around in vans to gigs so we decided to try and simplify our sound as much as possible and see if we could play a show with only the bare essentials, that is how MEMES were born.

Our first gig we played Blah Blah Blah four times as we only had 1 song. Our second gig was a BBC 6 Music live session for Steve Lamacq (note TUTV: a former legendary NME writer) so we had to hit the ground running.”

What’s the story behind the band’s name?

“We wanted something short and snappy the same as how we intended our songs
to be short and snappy. We originally wanted to call ourselves MUCK but
that name was taken.”

Which song would you pick to introduce MEMES to people who never heard of you?

“Probably Blah Blah Blah as it captured the true essence of what the band is.”

Well, BLAH BLAH BLAH worked for me. With that nasty bass riff,
it made me an instant MEMES fan. What’s the song about?

Blah Blah Blah was recorded in a bedroom in 2 hours, no overdubs no fancy production tricks just one take of everything and wham bam it was done. You can’t get more punk than that. We were just having some fun and I think you can hear it in the recording.”

Who/what inspired your blistering post-punk sound?

“When we started experimenting with the drum loops on the laptop we realised it sounded good with a heavy distorted bass guitar, we wanted to keep it simple and angry. No gimmicks and focus on the essence, this is what people we admire like Lou Reed and Chuck Berry wanted to achieve .”

My number 2 on my fav MEMES list is CHEER UP. There’s not a lot
to cheer about lately. Name 3 things we should cheer up for anyway.

“The lyrics to Cheer Up change every time we gig depending on who we want
to poke fun at that day. You are right there is not much to cheer about
lately that is for sure. Cheer Up because 100% of nonsmokers will die.”

Suppose you were asked to write your own version of the national
Scottish item how would it sound and what would it be named?

“It would definitely sound angry and we would name it ‘Jock Around The Clock.’”

You played several shows in Europe this year. Any special tour memories?

“We loved touring in Europe it was so much fun, especially after being locked down like caged animals for a year and a half. A particular favourite was playing Supersonic in Paris, good times.”

Cheering Up In Belgium (Photo by Turn Up The Volume)

There’s a lot of media attention, fortunately, for the growing financial costs/problems of touring, affecting obviously smaller bands/acts.
How do you manage to do want you do in these difficult times?

“As we mentioned earlier, the price of van hire and petrol etc is making it really
difficult for bands to tour, we are stripped down to the bare bones and it is still
very difficult. But where there is a will there is a way.”

Which artist(s)/band(s) would you love to tour with and why?

“We really love Black Midi and would love to tour with them.”

Black Midi – Antwerp, Belgium (photo by Turn Up The Volume)

If MEMES music would soundtrack a movie, which want would it be?

“It would have to be Braveheart then we could put our version
of the Scottish national anthem in the soundtrack.”

The best track and album you heard this year?

‘It’s a few years old but we have been listening to it a lot this year which is Damo Suzuki from CAN with Black Midi as his backing band, live from the Windmill in Brixton, London. Damo Suzuki and Black Midi together it doesn’t get much better than that and we highly recommend it.”

If MEMES would cover a Xmas song,
which one would it be?

“Last Christmas by Wham!”

Which song (s) will you play on New Year’s Eve and why?

“Hopefully one of our own songs if we can get a gig that night.”

Name three things you really want to happen in 2023 for the band?

“Our priority for 2023 is to make our debut album. We would also love to tour Europe more and see some new countries. Thats only 2 things but we can’t think of a third.”

Thank you for this chat, John and Paul.
May the road rise with Memes in 2023

One more for the road.

MEMES: Facebook – Spotify – Bandcamp – Instagram

Scottish Noise Turbo MEMES Cheered Up Belgium

On stage

9 April 2022

Where/when: Trix, Antwerp – 8 April 2022
Who: A noisy Glasgow duo called John and Paul, not that John and Paul,
obviously. As band name John Paul II would be ridiculous, they called
themselves MEMES. Turn Up The Volume is a fan since day one.

MEMES‘ gig was actually an aftershow one, following Irish fury Fontaines D.C.
who turned the main hall upside down. And, that’s exactly what this 2-motor
turbo did too in the big building’s bar. One should think that the audience, after
almost 90 minutes of those Dublin heroes, would be too tired or too drunk, or
both, to be bothered to let their minds blow up again by two Scottish noiseniks.
Wrong, within a minute the bar was packed. And rightly so.

John and Paul rocked their sweaty tails off with their bloodcurdling hullabaloo that guarantees them a place in my British post-punk-rebirth team along with young indie gunslingers like Yard Act, Crows, Ditz, Lice, Black Midi and The Mysterines.

The Glaswegian tandem’s sharp-teethed and politically/socially outspoken uppercuts
like Blah-Blah (their prickly debut single), So What, and newest smack Second Thought cook your brains and your ears on the spot. Oh my, oh my, do I love 30-minute blitzkrieg gigs without brakes and breaks (except when the digital drummer is a bit stubborn).

One Meme down

As you may expect you don’t get birds and bees tunes from these two mavericks, although in the end they know and we know, that we all need to Cheer Up in these bloody messy times in order to survive. That’s what Antwerp did, that’s what I did (on stage), we all cheered up. Thanks MEMES, for turning up our adrenalin production.

Check their debut EP here…

MEMES: FacebookSpotify

Thanks for the shout-out, guys!!

(concert photos by Turn Up The Volume)