It is hardly surprising to be slightly taken aback when pointed in the direction of an album like Never Trust the Chinese. And not just because of its bizarre title.
Many of the songs are slow to evolve but well worth the wait, such as excellent ‘Until I Grasp the Second’ which mutates from its childlike glockenspiel introduction into a somewhat unnerving finale. As the words “It hunts me everywhere I go” emerge from under an ominously heavy bassline, the dreamy pop of the album’s opening seems a long way off.
I caught up with the video’s star (or victim), Devin Fleenor to find out a bit more about the band, their album and what the future holds…
I don’t know much about the old way of promoting music, but 99% of the fan base we have is via myspace, youtube, and twitter. Facebook is starting to be more important as of late. We don’t have a label or much of a budget, so there hasn’t been a choice.
It’s refreshing to hear a new band blending pop influences with samples and beats rather than just guitars. Did you all grow up listening to electronic music, and which artists particularly inspired the sound of Mr. Meeble?
We all fell in love with various forms of electronic music as teens, but we are just as influenced by rock. We are trying to create organic art. We are trying to merge technology with flesh and blood. In the last 2 years, I’ve inundated myself with Sigur Ros, Lymbyc Systym, Atlas Sound, Bat for Lashes, Flying Lotus and Radiohead.
The album goes through a wide range of styles in its 12 tracks. Was this variety always the vision for the band or did it come about as the songs were developed?
To me, NTTC sounds like a band exploring genres and finding their identity. It developed over 3 years, chronicling some traumatic events in my life. Along the way, Blain got involved with the band. So some of the songs sound different because of his presence.
Visuals play an important part in both the band’s live experience and also your videos. Do you have specific images in mind when making the music or are they a separate venture?
I have always dreamed of being able to create amazing art, seamlessly integrating music with visuals. I think its beginning to take form, but we are nowhere close to what I envision. Currently, the visuals are done after the fact, but take 3-4 times as much time and money to produce – so obviously, we value them. Mr. Meeble wouldn’t exist without the visual element.
The video for ‘I fell through’ is very original (and entertaining). Can you tell us a bit about how that came about?
I just had an idea one day, and the next day we were shooting. Its one of those things that could have been derailed by 100 different factors, but somehow it worked out – I consider it a lucky success.
The album has a rather unusual title, apparently only referring to one person. Has anyone taken the name a bit too seriously?
Many people have been angered by the title. But hey, people who get their panties in a bunch over a title don’t need to be listening to Mr. Meeble in the first place.
What are your plans for the band now the album has been released?
Well, we are playing some shows, and promoting. One fan at a time, we are building our audience.
How do you see the sound of Mr. Meeble evolving, or is that not something you feel you can anticipate?
The next meeble album will be more live, more organic, and more cohesive. It will focus on our “sound” and it will revolve around our live playing and our ability to feed off each other’s energy. Perhaps a bit more experimental and a bit more rock? Either way, fans can expect an amzing record.