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In the age of the internet, Meet Me @ The Altar is ahead of the game. Though the pop-punk band delivers a nostalgic sound – one that has been missing from the landscape for nearly two decades – they are symbolic of what the future of rock can be; women of color making waves in a predominately male scene, and having pure fun while doing it.
With their debut album, Past // Present // Future, the ladies of Meet Me @ The Altar shine as voices of their generation, dealing with heartbreak, navigating online trolls, and handling the ups and downs of growing up in the modern age.
The band – vocalist Edith Victoria, guitarist and bassist Téa Campbell, and drummer Ada Juarez – formed by way of online auditions in 2017, as each of them was living in a different state. When they all moved in together in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought them closer together, even as other bands were forced to work apart.
“No matter what happened, we would have been fine because we already worked like that,” says Victoria. “We had already been sending music via the internet, FaceTime, and texts. It would have been really easy for us, even if we didn’t move in together at that point, because that’s how we already operated. Everyone was freaking out, but I know we would have been completely fine.”
Before moving in together, Campbell would record her bass and guitar loops via FL Studio and Reaper. Juarez would record her drum parts on “Logic, exclusively,” while Victoria describes herself as a “GarageBand girly.”
The internet was a vital tool in the band’s formation, as well as their rise, as a co-sign from Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low and Dan Campbell of The Wonder Years led to them signing a record deal with Fueled By Ramen in October of 2020. But as they’ve grown as a band, they’ve become accustomed to the downsides of fame.
On “Say It (To My Face),” the lead single from Past // Present // Future, the band recount the hate they’ve received from online trolls.
“I’m a b*tch and my band is an industry plant / at least that’s what it says on the internet / Think you know who I am, you say you’re not a fan / but you got all my songs playing in your head,” sings Edith on the song’s opening verse. The song’s accompanying video sees the trio tracking down a troll, to discover he is living in his mother’s basement.
In real life, the Meet Me @ The Altar say they have a “love-hate relationship” with the internet, and admit they’re still learning how to handle negativity online.
“I feel like a lot of it is just people trying to get a reaction,” says Juarez. “Like, just trolling and not even listening to the song, and saying, ‘Oh, these are some girls, let’s post something really mean and untrue’ just to get some reactions and laughs – when really…just say it to my face.”
As women of color, the band often finds themselves at the forefront of these conversations – conversations about being pigeonholed in the industry, and conversations about the issues women in music are facing in this day and age. And while they admit having to talk about these things can be exhausting, they do feel that speaking on these topics is an important step to diversifying the landscape.
“We just want to exist and let that be enough, and let the music speak for itself,” says Campbell. “But obviously, it’s important to talk about it, because it’s not as normalized as it should be. In an ideal world, we won’t even need to have these conversations anymore, because it’ll just be so normal for women to be in rock, and to be respected in rock specifically.”
Over the course of the album’s 30 minutes, the listener will feel young again – in ways that are both cheerful and also traumatic. Songs like “Kool” touch on the awkward feelings of having a crush.
“It’s Over For Me” features Victoria recalling a break-up, and the signs she realized it was over. Luckily, she seems affirmed in her decision, as she sings, “I wiped all our pictures off my phone / I forgot the smell of your cologne / Thank God, I kinda hated it.” By now, Victoria has grown to become more aware of her dating icks, and she tells us that someone “wearing Axe cologne” is one of them.
Of course, they look out for the same red flags any reasonable person would – like listening to Joe Rogan or Andrew Tate – but they say their biggest turnoff is having bad taste in music. Or, even worse, not listening to music at all.
“It’s actually psychotic,” Victoria says of the idea of not listening to music.
“Yeah, it’s like, I see now we wouldn’t even be able to have a conversation,” adds Juarez. “What are we going to talk about, just sitting in the car in silence?”
On one of the album’s standout tracks, “A Few Tomorrows,” Victoria sings of a heartbreaking loss. Upon first listen, one may gather that the song is about a breakup, but Victoria reveals that the song was partially inspired by her dog, who died while they were writing the album. The band wanted a song that was “hopeful and depressing at the same time,” which they said proved to be a challenge at first.
“We wrote a song about losing someone, and it wasn’t good enough,” says Victoria. “So then we’re like, ‘Ok, well, if we’re gonna replace it, let’s replace it with something that has the same meaning. So we went and wrote ‘A Few Tomorrows,’ and it was one of the last songs we wrote that went on the record. It could be anything you want it to be – a breakup, losing someone, or someone passing away. But it’s like, this isn’t a real goodbye. I’ll see you later at some point. I’ll see you soon.”
After reliving all of our past traumas for the past half hour, the album arrives on a happy note with its penultimate track, “Rocket Science,” which serves as a reminder to the listener not to overthink life.
“I know part of you is scared of trying / But don’t hold back or you’ll regret you didn’t start / Taking that risk, start learning to live / Start doing exactly what you want / It isn’t rocket science / Life isn’t meant to be so hard,” sings Victoria on the song’s chorus.
As artists, sometimes tapping into that vulnerability can be a challenge, but the group say that sitting with their emotions and feeling every feeling that comes their way allows them to arrive at a place of peace.
“Even if it’s bad in the moment, life is so fluctuating,” says Campbell, “and it will get better and there’s some peace in knowing that when you’re in those tough moments.”
“It’s not rocket science, baby,” adds Juarez. “Like, don’t worry about it. You’ll get through it.”
Past // Present // Future is out now via Fueled By Ramen. Find more information here.
Meet Me @ The Altar is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.