MEG MYERS IN LOS ANGELES, JULY 2015. PHOTOS: BRIAN HIGBEE. STYLING: SEAN KNIGHT. HAIR: MICHAEL LONG AT FORWARD ARTISTS. MAKEUP: ERIN SALGADO-MOFFETT USING HOURGLASS COSMETICS AT JEDROOT. SPECIAL THANKS: THE HUDSON L.A.
The past two years of Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Meg Myers’s life reflect those of her childhood: constant motion and a frequent change of scenery. Born in Nashville, Myers spent much of her young years surrounded by the Smoky Mountains as a Jehovah’s Witness, but as a teenager she moved to Ohio and then Florida. Since her debut EP Daughter in the Choir and 2013’s Make a Shadow, she’s hardly had a place called home, only briefly returning to L.A. between tours around the world. It was this constant flux that led to many of the tracks on her debut album, Sorry, which will be released this Friday via Atlantic Records.
“I’ve been on the road for about two years and that’s definitely changed me and shaped a lot of things, and the making of the album,” she explains. “I’ve just been beaten up, man.”
Through tracks like “Motel,” “Parade,” and “The Morning After,” Myers explores various—and often quite intimate—elements of travel and touring. On “Motel,” which she claims as one of the album’s standout anthems, the 28-year-old breathily sings “I wanna love / Wanna live / Wanna breathe / Wanna give / But it’s hard / And it’s dark / And I’m falling apart,” atop catchy guitars, drums, and even notes of violin—a departure from her more synth-based EPs.
We first spoke with Myers in 2013, but before Sorry‘s release, we caught up over the phone.
EMILY MCDERMOTT: You released your debut EP in 2013 and now have your full-length. How do you feel like you’ve grown since then? Both musically and personally?
MEG MYERS: Being on the road impacted my writing of the music, for sure, and the feeling of it. I always write about what I’m going through, and back then it was a lot of break ups, love, pain, and things in that realm. Being on the road, I’ve dealt with a little bit of that in the last couple years, but I have a song called “Motel” on the album, which is about traveling and life. I think the album has a lot more songs about life and traveling and getting so down from exhaustion and then finding anything to pull yourself up and get through it, somehow find the hope in life. I have a lot of that on the album, and definitely wouldn’t happen without being on the road.
MCDERMOTT: What helps you find that hope?
MYERS: There are a few things, and one is nature, which is difficult to get on the road because you’re always traveling from city to city. It’s like, “Oh, I can’t wait to go on tour, travel, and see the world.” But no, I don’t see the world. I see the van, the highways, and the green room. Then I see from the stage. That’s it. So the way I find joy is pretty much to shut my mind of, go within, and meditate. I’ve been doing a lot of meditating. The last tour, we stopped maybe three times the whole time to go on a little hike. It’s crazy how much that actually helps, just getting outside and away from people.
The people around me are also really funny; the guys in the band make me laugh a lot, no matter how exhausted we are, just making fun of things and not taking things so seriously. That’s something I’ve learned: I used to take things so seriously and now I can’t, because if I do, I can’t survive. The only way to survive is to laugh at things no matter how dark they are.
MCDERMOTT: After touring for two years, how do you think the live shows changed the music?
MYERS: The EPs that I put out are a lot more electronic, pop sounding and the live show has a lot of energy, a lot more rockin’. It’s a lot more raw and visceral. I think that still will be the case, but the new album has a lot more rock elements, more live instruments. I want to keep that rawness and energy to the live show, but I would like to step it up on the next tour and have it sound more like the album than what we’ve been doing.
MCDERMOTT: Is there one song that you really feel is representational of the whole album?
MYERS: Three songs are going through my head right now. I would say “Motel” or “Feather”—which actually will be the first and last songs on the album—represent me the best, what I have changed, and what I have been going through. But I keep going back to this one song that seems to really speak to me; it’s really, really dark and it’s called, “I Really Want You to Hate Me.” I always gravitate towards the painful stuff.
MCDERMOTT: In your last interview with us, the writer asked you if you were morbid and you said yes.
MYERS: [laughs] Morbid, I don’t know, probably much less… But, I guess in what way? My humor is, that’s what it is. Because I’m not; I don’t like doing weird, dark things. I’m actually a wholesome person, and maybe kind of a prude. The type of music that I write can be that way, but I like doing wholesome, good things. Probably the reason why I’m not this crazy, dark person doing weird things is because I can express it through the music.
MCDERMOTT: So then would you consider yourself, aside from your music, a glass-half-full type of person?
MYERS: It’s 50/50 with me. I’m just a really moody person and I’m a woman, so I’m affected by the people that I’m around; I’m sensitive to other people, their feelings can really affect me. I’ve really been working on, in the last few months, only surrounding myself with people I know I’m going to get good, positive things from. Also it just depends on how much sleep I get or if it’s that time of the month. [laughs] But I feel like I might be kind of extreme. I think I either am really low or really, really high.
MCDERMOTT: Are the darker days more conducive for writing? Or what was the writing process like?
MYERS: I was struggling, I was having a pretty hard time during the making of the album—never having any time off. I’m a major hermit, so it’s really hard for me to constantly be around people because the only way for me to love myself and know who I am, how I feel, and find positivity is to be alone to recharge. I was getting really drained and definitely expressing a lot of that through the music.
The writing process was me and Andy Rosen the studio, going in, writing music and melodies. Sometimes I would just spew out the first verse or the first chorus. That was usually what it was like, to be in there for 10 hours a day. I was probably in a darker place, but there are a couple songs that are more upbeat than anything I’ve ever written. I think I’m tapping into that side now too, which is nice, to be able to do both. The fact that I have few of those on the album, I’m so excited about. It gives this energy and mix of darkness and positivity. It was really nice to express that side of myself for the first time ever, the more light-heated.