Meet Me @ The Altar: “It’s important that we love this. If we do, then everything else will come”

It’s been a hell of a ride for Meet Me @ The Altar. There’s been the release of their killer debut, Past // Present // Future, as well as being one of the bands of the weekend at last year’s Slam Dunk and Download. Now they’re coming back – so long as their hay fever holds off…

Meet Me @ The Altar: “It’s important that we love this. If we do, then everything else will come”
Emily Carter
Jonathan Weiner

If you’re a fan of Meet Me @ The Altar, then quite simply you’ve got “taste”. That’s what Hayley Williams reckons, anyway. (And for the record, we strongly agree.)

The vocalist made the on-point observation at Paramore’s headline show in Milwaukee at the start of August, when a lucky young fan who’d been selected to join the band onstage was proudly sporting a MM@TA tee.

“I love your shirt!” Hayley said to little Aubree, before performing Paramore’s 2007 mega-banger Misery Business with her. “That’s Meet Me @ The Altar! You have taste, don’t you?”

A video of this most wholesome of moments was promptly shared far and wide on social media, with Meet Me @ The Altar’s immediate response summing things up pretty aptly. “AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!” they wrote. Sure.

Today, as the trio join us for an early morning catch-up from Pennsylvania a couple of weeks on, they’re a little more measured, but absolutely no less thrilled with what went down on that special night.

“That little girl’s name is Aubree. We’re really good friends with her dad, and she always comes to see us. We bring her backstage and make it a very important day for her,” smiles vocalist Edith Victoria. “Knowing that we’ve had such an impact that she wears our shirts all the time is amazing. She ended up wearing it to the Paramore show, and that whole situation was like worlds colliding for us.”

“Shout-out to Hayley for saying our name in the mic, too,” guitarist and bassist Téa Campbell continues. “She didn’t have to! We know that she knows of us, and we’ve FaceTimed her once, but it was so cool that she pointed it out, you know?”

“It’s mind-blowing,” adds drummer Ada Juarez. “It’s another dream come true.”

While befriending Hayley had once seemed like an unbelievably far-fetched goal for Meet Me @ The Altar, the U.S. pop-punk stars have been ticking off plenty of meaningful bucket-list items since their 2020 breakthrough. From releasing eagerly-awaited debut album Past // Present // Future earlier this year, to performing on late-night TV in America, touring non-stop and leaving a lasting impression on listeners like Aubree who are just beginning their journey into rock, the band are continuing to enjoy a whirlwind trajectory – one that’s keeping them constantly surprised, and yet impressively focused.

“We know first-hand what it feels like to be on the other end of that: to be the one inspired by someone else,” says Edith. “And it’s really, really cool that we get to be in that position now. And when it’s in-person, it’s really cool to give those fans that experience that we wished that we could have had.”

It’s an ambition the band will continue to realise throughout 2023, having also recently landed a support slot with Aussie pop-rock titans 5 Seconds Of Summer, touring arenas across Meet Me @ The Altar’s home country.

“We luckily have a lot of people that we work with that are close with 5SOS, and we’re very fortunate that some of them put in a good word – our team were on it, because that’s a dream tour of ours,” Téa says, gratefully. “We were just sitting around with our fingers crossed hoping that we’d get picked. Things in the mainstream world always take a long time – it’s so slow. And we were like, ‘Shoot, they’ve probably already picked someone else…’ but people said, ‘No, just hold out.’ And then we got it!”

“When we first formed, 5SOS were the band at the time,” Ada enthuses. “We always looked up to their success, and it was amazing that that could have happened. And then it’s the biggest plus in the world that we get to play Madison Square Garden, The Forum in LA… We get to play all of these huge venues that we grew up hearing about, and seeing these huge bands sell out. And now we get to be there with them! Literally the entire tour is just a dream come true. It’s amazing.”

“There’s lots of good, nervous energy going into this tour, because this is the biggest thing we’ve ever done,” Téa agrees. “It’s really cool that we continue to get opportunities that put us in a bigger spot and help us keep moving forward. We’ve been, and are continuing to be, very busy, so it’s a little chaotic. But at the same time, we’ve been doing this for a while, to get to where it’s now home for us.”

How do you mentally and emotionally prepare for a tour like this, though?

“Well, we all have our different methods,” grins Téa, “but I like to watch previous videos of the headliner’s set to really put myself in the space, and what we’re getting into. I don’t think we’re prepared for the amount of screaming we’re gonna hear, every single night.

“I’m not gonna lie,” she laughs, “after watching those videos, it made me shit my pants a little bit!”

Once Meet Me @ The Altar are done touring with their faves from down under – and hopefully with some clean clothes in tow – they’ll be back in the UK for what is, surprisingly, their first proper headline run here. Having already made their mark on the likes of Slam Dunk and Download Festival, come the autumn they’ll get the chance to give fans across the pond a new show that sees the trio “at the peak of our powers… thus far”, promises Téa.

“We’re excited to finally be able to put on our show, and give people what we’ve been doing in America,” the guitarist says. “We definitely want to come over more often, and the only reason we haven’t yet is because it’s so expensive to get over there. But we’re super-excited to come to the UK, because we’ve never headlined anything there, so this is really new and exciting for us.”

When asked for a favourite UK memory so far in the limited time they’ve been able to explore and enjoy these shores, Meet Me @ The Altar collectively settle on last year’s Slam Dunk Festival. It not only featured a “fire line-up” according to Edith, but meant a lot to the band as an event they had been admiring from afar for years.

“Growing up in the United States, I heard about Slam Dunk so many times,” explains Ada. “Every year it’s a stacked line-up, and in particular I would always pay attention to the pop-punk bands. I was like, ‘This is such a formative festival that the UK has.’ It’s so exciting every year, and for us to be able to play it was just so cool. The only downside was the grass everywhere…”

“We got super-sick with British grass!” groans Edith. “And the press tent is in a grassy area, so I’m always dying when I go there! I’m gonna start taking medicine. It’s so bad for me that, last time during press, I couldn’t do any more and our team had to go and get me hay fever medicine.”

Okay, so our grass certainly isn’t great. But what about the food? We’re aware that some overseas bands aren’t the biggest fans of British grub…

“I would say, even though a lot of the Americans don’t like the food – and I will stand behind that (laughs) – there have been a couple of places that our [tour manager] took us to that were good,” answers Ada, somewhat diplomatically.

“And of course you have to have Greggs sausage rolls,” Téa nods. “But this time I want to tick off more local places.”

And despite not having had “the best travel experiences [in the UK] – which was our own fault!” admits Téa – Meet Me @ The Altar know this is another important next step in their journey as a band.

“We really hope that the UK and Europe goes super-well and it goes smoothly,” says Téa. “We’re really looking forward to getting to meet new people, and sharing our music with a new audience.”

Speaking of all things ‘new’, too, the band will be bringing with them a deluxe version of Past // Present // Future, including previously unheard tracks and a killer cover of Take Me Away from 2003’s Freaky Friday movie (originally written and performed by punk rockers Lash in 2001).

“That’s definitely one of the songs that just stuck with us,” says Edith. “We were really young when that film came out – and I saw it before I was even really sure that I wanted to be in a band. I wasn’t even thinking about what I wanted to do then, because I was so young. But that’s the most important time, and the most impressionable time. And the fact that there was a movie with these girls that played guitars and were a rock band, at a time where that really wasn’t that known, it subconsciously brings you up and gives you ideas of what you can do. It’s like, ‘Look at them; this is definitely a possibility.’ I hope that they know how much they empowered little girls. I really think that Freaky Friday gave us this power that just stayed with us. It’s super important. And the fact that it makes women feel seen, and it’s really, really good, is all the more reason to cover it. The song is a bop!”

“And we didn’t want to change too much, or do anything to it, because it’s already so good,” adds Téa. “We didn’t create an entirely alternate version; we just wanted to do it justice, and I feel like we did.”

Beyond the record’s release and the remaining months of the year on the road, Meet Me @ The Altar have also started thinking about what might come next. Though there’s nothing concrete in the works just yet, the trio promise that talks have begun. And while they don’t quite know what shape new music will take, they’ll continue just doing what’s got them here in the first place: writing stuff they love.

“We’re excited, always, for new chapters. We hope that people love it,” Edith says. “But it’s important that we love it. Because if we do that, then everything else will come.”

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