Do you have a taste for rollicking riffs, irrepressible pop hooks and searing vocal harmonies? Well, step right up, folks, because we may just have the band to quench that aural thirst. Crawley’s Press To MECO have been blazing a trail all over the alt-rock world since 2016, and now look set to legitimise their “one to watch” status with the release of supercharged sophomore effort Here’s To The Fatigue (due out March 30th via Marshall Records). We recently had the opportunity to catch up with guitarist and vocalist Luke Caley and got the skinny on the recording of the new album, quarter life crises, and the trio’s future musical ambitions.
Hi Luke. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat to us. For the benefit of any PureGrainAudio readers who are still unfamiliar with Press to MECO, can you give us a quick lowdown on the origins and core sound of the band?
Luke Caley: Hello! Press to MECO are an alternative rock band from Crawley / Croydon. We specialise in vocal harmonies, choruses and riffs.
Which artists and bands do you guys draw your musical influences from – both individually and collectively?
Caley: This is such a tough question to answer as I wouldn’t say we have any specific or direct influences. I feel like this band is more an accumulation of all the music we’ve listened to over the years. We’re into pretty much everything. Some of our favourite bands in general would be; Manchester Orchestra, Everything Everything, Billy Talent, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Propagandhi and Cinematic Orchestra.
2016 saw the band release debut full-length Good Intent. You went on to be shortlisted for the AIM Independent Album of the Year – kudos! Did you feel any extra pressure as a result, or was it just the type of accolade needed to boost your confidence ahead of the follow-up?
Caley: Yes, getting that nomination was so mad. I remember reading through the list like “Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes, Radiohead, Skepta, Press to MECO?!” We were just honoured to be mentioned in the same vein as artists of that calibre. In terms of adding pressure, I don’t feel like that really affected us. You’re ALWAYS gonna have that daunting feeling of “will this ever live up to the first album” but honestly, writing and recording this album is probably the most relaxed and happy we’ve ever been throughout the whole process.
Watch the band’s music video for the “Familiar Ground” single below.
You’re poised to drop sophomore record Here’s To The Fatigue on March 30th. The first track to be released was “If All Your Parts Don’t Make A Whole”. Can you explain the concept behind the song? On first listen, it sounds very much like dual voices – with a narrator advising someone on how to cope with what life throws at them?
Caley: The song is about having a quarter life crisis, feeling like there’s something wrong with you and being troubled by all the unknown in life. The verses are a person breaking down from these issues whilst the chorus is a consoling voice, saying that everyone has the same feelings and to not dwell on the questions you’ll never have the answers to.
Can you tell us a bit more about the recording process itself? Is it true that the new album was written in a garage in Croydon?
Caley: As I said in a previous answer, this album has definitely been the most fun we’ve ever had as this band recording a body of work. A huge part of that was down to working with Machine (producer). He’s such an amazing dude, his energy alone just makes you fall in love with what you’re doing all over again. With regards to the garage, YES! Well, sort of. I mean, we rehearse in Lewis’ garage and a huge percentage of the album was written jamming out ideas in there. So, I guess it was written in a garage in Croydon!
The album itself has that omnipresent juxtaposition of emotive introspection and raw power, but there’s a newfound sense of finesse permeating throughout – can you talk us through the transition between the two?
Caley: Thank you! I don’t think it was a conscious effort to be honest. Good Intent was such a huge learning curve for us. So, I think it’s more like this is the latest thing we’ve done and we’ve not stopped writing / touring / being in a band since the last release, so we’re all naturally going to have progressed as song writers and musicians since the last album we wrote a few years ago. It’s great if you guys think the album reflects that, hopefully other people will too!
You recently signed with Marshall Records. The support and backing of such a huge label must have offered some extra reassurance – particularly with the new album being independently funded?
Caley: Yeah, it’s been great so far. I think the places it’s really helped so far, has been opening a bunch of new doors and getting certain people behind the band we perhaps wouldn’t have, if we’d stayed independent. Also, just having a company of people who ‘know their shit’ in terms of running the label helps so much in taking all the excess pressure off what comes with releasing music. It means we can focus on the artistry of it all, which is what we’re passionate about and want to be putting our time into at the end of the day.
At the end of February, you guys completed a tour in support of Don Broco. How did that come to be and what were the highlights of that run? We’ll hazard a guess that these were plentiful!
Caley: Yeah, it was so sick. Don Broco have been so supportive of the band since they first saw us at Download 2013. We were humbled to get asked by them, they’ve come from the absolute bottom and worked their way up to where they are now, they know how much it means to help out ‘little guys’. The whole tour was a highlight to be honest, though if I had to pick one show, I’d go for ULU in London, that was rowdy!
Is it still something of a headfuck to have industry figures like Daniel P Carter spinning your latest single “Familiar Ground” on Radio 1 and seeing your music featured alongside acts like Fall Out Boy and Muse on Apple Music’s A List playlist?
Caley: I think for the kind of band we are, the progression is always gonna be very mellow and gradual, so when this stuff comes in it all just feels like the next step in a very long journey. No doubt if you showed our 14-year-old selves some of the stuff we’ve done as a band so far, we’d all definitely be freaking out. But in reality it’s all just small stepping stones – it is mad though!
Check out the group’s video for the song “Here’s to the Fatigue” here.
The festival invites are flying in with Press To MECO already confirmed for Camden Rocks, 2000 Trees and Teddy Rocks. Can we expect to see you at many others this Summer?
Caley: Yes, I think all three of those are going to be so sick in different ways! To be honest we’re not expecting many more to drop in, we feel privileged to have the slots that we do. Delaying the album from the original release date was right around the time festivals start putting their line-ups together, so although it was absolutely the right decision, in terms of festivals it kind of stood us in a weaker position. But saying that, we seem to always get stuff through last minute, so who knows!
On a scale of 1-11, how excited are you for the album release show at The Black Heart on April 11th? (The London show is on April 11th with support from Wallflower and Future Love.)
Caley: There’s a real sense of intimacy at that venue too given its size so it’s going to be one to remember. I’d say right now I’m a solid 7. We played The Black Heart last year on our Good Intent play through tour and it sold out, that show was MAD (and also the hottest show we’ve ever played haha). If we can sell it out again then I’ll go straight from a 7 to a full fat 11!
PureGrainAudio predicts that the Press To MECO machine will continue to grow and conquer as time goes on, but where do you guys hope the band will be this time next year?
Caley: ! don’t know about that, I appreciate the support though! Honestly, we just want to be doing what we’re doing but on a bigger level. We’ll be branching out internationally over the next year or so, so I’m really looking forwards to that and what it might bring. Apart from that I’m hoping we’ll have most of album 3 written and looking towards getting back into the studio at the end of the year!