Birmingham singer/multi-instrumentalist Maria Rodriguez - aka MeMe Detroit - is back with new EP Life In The Now. The follow up to her 2016 debut Live To Love You’ll Love To Live covers themes of everyday life with a nod to The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. We found out more.
I’m a big believer in positive energy and I wanted to make a record that relays that positivity.
First up, tell us bit about yourselves - who is MeMe Detroit?
MeMe Detroit is in essence, an exaggerated more flamboyant extension of myself (Maria Rodriguez). A passion driven explosive ball of energy.
Who did you take inspiration from?
Growing up I was given a box of vinyl that had been passed down through generations of my family. It gave me such a diverse foundation towards my taste in music. From listening to the likes of Frank Sinatra and musicals such as My Fair Lady, to Elvis, Bob Marley, Prince Buster, through to the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Cafe Del Mar, Foo Fighters, QOTSA, PJ Harvey, and my all time faves as a kid, Radiohead. I was also hugely inspired later on by the ace indie music of the noughties. I guess my main spark as it were comes from rock and Indie.
Why the name ‘MeMe Detroit’?
MeMe was a nickname given to me growing up by my wonderful Grandma, Joy, and Detroit happened to be on my other half’s t-shirt at the time of name choosing.
How would you describe your musical style?
It was recently described as bridging the gap between grunge, indie and blues. That kinda hits the nail on the head. It’s definitely a grunge rock influenced sound but with a modern day flare. There’s a lot of light and shade crossing the hard with the soft. I described it to someone recently as uplifting angst.
Your debut album was 2016’s Live To Love You’ll Love To Live. What response did that get?
It got an awesome response with the core of the tracks still remaining some of the fan favourites today. It was really humbling.
How have you developed since?
Live to Love You’ll Love To Live was like a statement to myself that I could do something on my own and I’ll always be proud of it, but I feel the songs and sound have developed into a much stronger, bigger and more secure animal now. It’s exciting!
You’ve received praise from Louder Than War, BBC Introducing and Kerrang! Radio… what does that mean to you?
As cliche as it is, It means the absolute world. When you put so much into a dream, the late nights, the hours of writing, recording and working on your craft, to then see that dream growing and developing into a reality. It really is the best feeling in the world.
Tell us about your new EP Life In The Now. What’s it about?
Life In The Now is inspired by modern day living in 2018 with a subtle nod to my favourite book by Eckhart Tolle, The Power Of Now. I’m a big believer in positive energy and I wanted to make a record that relays that positivity.
When did you write it and where did you record it?
It’s been over a year in the making since i first started writing ‘Soc Med Junkies’ last summer (2017) although ‘Churchside Inn’ was written around 2 and a half years ago. The EP was developed properly throughout the first six months of this year with the band and I finalised the tracklisting this summer. It was recorded at Park Studios in Birmingham with producer Alastair Jamieson.
Can you talk us through each song?
Opening track ‘Churchside Inn’ is a straight-up ode to my favourite local pub in Birmingham, The Actress & Bishop. I owe a lot of the ace things in my life to that place and it just so happens to be next to a church.
‘Soc Med Junkies’ is a reality check on our unrelenting addiction to social media. Even the known abbreviation Soc Meds, sounded to me like a prescription drug hence where the name of the track stemmed from. We should all take the time to take a break from it every now and then. ‘De Moe’ (meaning ‘The tired’ or “The Weary” in Dutch) was inspired by an old friend and also the negativity us as humans seem to emanate. Have you ever sat back and listened to conversations on a bus or train or other public place? It’s insane - 99% of the conversations will be something negative. Whether it’s “I’ve had no sleep” to “today was rubbish”, ”but this but that”. It’s really tiring if you let that neghead (negative mind) thinking suck you in. ‘De Moe’s kind of me shouting out to the world to switch it round, change your mindset to a more positive energy and you’ll live a way happier and more fulfilling life. :)
Fourth track, ‘Will You Be My Lie?’, was inspired by a story I heard recently (not the first time I’ve heard this scenario in my life) of a seemingly happily married couple splitting up due to one of them having an affair. I’m always inspired by the things I see and hear and I wondered what pushes some people in relationships to go down that route. I’m also an actor so this song ended up being written from the character’s point of view. I really got into the character’s head space when writing - to go from what you think is that “happy ending” to having your head turned so much to the point you act upon it- it made me think, they can’t be happy in the first place which is quite sad in a way. These things pretty much always end up coming to a head, so I guess the message behind this track is if you’re not happy, do something about it before it gets to that point. We make our own happiness after all.
Final track ‘Run Riot’ was written shortly after the last election result…. I’m sure anyone reading this from the UK will have clocked it - there was a bombardment of animosity, anger and even hatred being thrown around, especially online, during and after the election. I had to delete a couple of social media apps off my phone for a few days as my timeline was an off the scale whingeathon! ‘Run Riot’ is a message to say “if you’re not happy about something that’s out of your control, you don’t need to stand in line moaning about the fact that you’re having to stand in line. Break free, run wild and have fun. Life’s what you make of it so make it a good and happy one.”
What are your hopes for ‘Life In The Now’?
Not to sound too “out there” but I don’t actually believe in hope, hope to me gives the inclination that there’s a chance something might not happen. I believe that ‘Life In The Now’ is going to do exactly what it’s meant to do right now! It’s the next step in this awesome journey. We have a limited edition vinyl pressing due out at the start of 2019 which is exciting. I’d love for it to inspire others as that’s always been a dream of mine (to inspire others with my music the same way other music has inspired me).
What are your plans for 2019 so far?
We’re currently writing the next album and getting ready to head into the studio near the start of 2019. There are extensive tours and single releases scheduled in the run up to the album release which is mega exciting. I’m also documenting my journey as an independent/d.i.y artist via the YouTube Channel MeMe D TV. There’s loads of exciting things scheduled in the pipeline with that - I’ll probably need a holiday at some point in 2019!
Finally, if you could go back in time and give yourselves one piece of advice, when would it be and what would you say?
It would be at the age of five whilst my brain was still in sponge absorption mode, that beautiful time of innocence. I’d tell myself “Don’t stress and don’t worry about the little things in life. Instead say to yourself every day that believing is seeing and everything is always working out for me - whilst saying it, really feel the pure joy of knowing it’s all completely true” - it’ll help you to get a grip on life a lot quicker when you’re older!
Listen to De Moe by MeMe Detroit on SoundCloud below. For news and tour dates go to memedetroit.com.