Lockdown Q&A with MeMe Detroit

We caught up with the incredible MeMe Detroit this November for a quick Actress Q&A to find out what they’ve been up to and what’s in store for the band in 2021 and beyond.

Feature photo credit: Jennifer Stone | Above photo credit: John Jowett

Hi MeMe, thanks for taking the time to chat with us during lockdown number two! How are you and that band getting on?
Hey, we’re actually doing really well at the moment thanks. It’s actually been nice to have the time to focus on our plans and put all the foundations into place ready for next year and beyond.

Tell us about your new single? We’ve heard the track and it’s fantastic!
Thanks! It’s called Mean Rock N Roller and is basically an ode to all those who feel pressurised by society’s ideals to “conform to the norm”. You can be, do or have anything you want in this life so follow your dreams and live life for you and not by what others tell you to do. The release ironically just so happened to fall as the Rishi Sunak “retrain, reboot” hoo haa erupted. Ha. Which kinda emphasised and made the message all the more important.

You managed to record, release AND make the video whilst in quarantine at home am I right? How did you manage it all?
Ha, Yeah, It’s been pretty awesome tbf! Right before lockdown, we’d been into a studio to record on a Uni student project for a friend of mine, George Riavez. The original idea was to use the recordings as pre-production demos before heading into the studio with producer Thomas Mitchener to record them properly. As original plans were scuppered lol, we ended up sending the recorded files (stems) over to Mitch to see if he could work them into a releasable state. We had an issue with a reverb effect all over the guitars and I wanted to add in synth parts on top so Mitch suggested I re-do the guitars at home, which I did on Garageband. Ha. He re-amped them his end and added in my extra recorded synth parts. Then worked his magic and it came out sounding way better than we ever imagined! 

As for the video, Kallum and I were brainstorming for ages trying to come up with a video concept. Right before the UK went on full lockdown the first time, I, unfortunately, got hit with “the ‘vid” as Kevin Hart calls it ha. In my case, it ended up developing into long haul Covid which, I’m not gonna lie, has been a pretty rough adventure. I spent the first 5 months in quarantine so it made the whole shooting a video somewhat tricky haha. We had to come up with a video concept that we could a) produce remotely and b) that I was able to do physically. 

During the whole quarantine and lock down, in the moments where I was well enough, we started up a regular livestream called MeMe Mondays. It was and is still amazing! It’s allowed us to have a real connection with our fans on a much more personalised level. It’s become like a regular weekly hang out where our fans have now even become friends with each other. It’s proper ace! I was lying in bed one night thinking about how ace it is then I had a lightbulb moment, “Why the fuck don’t we use this video to celebrate that connection?! Why don’t we make this video together?” The next day we put the call out to our fans. We were totally overwhelmed by the response and the rest, as they say, is history!

FUN FACT: As well as the band MeMe also composes music for awards winning films.

You describe yourself as uplift angst, tell us more?
It’s pretty basic to be honest. I love gritty ballsy guitars, drums and bass and I’m also a very positive person. So I like to convey that in the lyrics and music of MeMe Detroit. It’s dirty angsty vibes with an uplifting positive spin ha.

We hear you and your husband are quite the Birmingham music scene power couple, how did you meet? (MeMe is married to Blue Nation frontman Neil Murdoch)
haha… Yeah, I’ve heard this phrase used for us a number of times. Erm, a power couple? I dunno haha… We’re both pretty driven, passionate and focused on our music careers so I guess there’s power in that. It’s kinda cool to have that support and understanding between ourselves and the music business industry. A music career can be quite demanding on your time, just with the writing and creative side of things let along when it comes to touring and putting the hours in on rehearsals and recording so it helps to have a partner who gets that.

Funnily enough, we actually met at The Actress & Bishop! Ha. We kinda knew of each other and had seen each other about but never really spoke. One fateful valentine’s day night in ’09, he got stood up and I’d decided I was done with relationships. I walked into the Actress around 11pm after DJing elsewhere, His version of this story is completely different to mine lol but I clocked this guy staring at me. I recognised him as that Neil guy haha but in my head,  as I was done with relationships, I immediately went, “Ah no! I’m gonna have to let him down gently” hahaha! I walked over to the corner by the bar to see all my regular buds and felt this tap on my shoulder, I took a deep breath, “Brace yourself bird” ha and turned round. I think it was about 2 hours later after a fair few tequila shots and LOTS of talking, we shared a first kiss. You know when they say in films, it’s like the whole world around you stops? That actually happened! Haha. It was like the entire pub around us went into slow motion. It was mental! It’s safe to say, we’ve been together since.

MeMe & Neil (Blue Nation) met at The Actress & Bishop back in 2009. Pictured here playing a one-off live show together at The Night Owl Brum!
Photo credit: Wayne Fox

It’s great to see you both always supporting each other, would there be any chance of a MeMe Detroit/Blue Nation collab/tour in the future?
Well…It’s not something we’ve really thought about fully to be honest. We’d probably end up killing each other if we were to write or collaborate hahaha… We have similar tastes in music but then complete opposites at the same time and as we’re both mega passionate about our own things, it can get quite hilariously fiery (we’re one of these couples that only ever argues about washing up lol). I’ll go as far as to say never say never though ha and we might be cooking something up for the future on the live front but I won’t say any more!

If you could go on tour with any band or artist who would it be and why?
Gawd, There’s so many!! Erm, a huge one would be Foo Fighters, They’re a massive influence on MeMe Detroit. I’d also love to go on tour with Yungblud. I love his energy and I reckon it’d just be ace fun.

What’s the most trouble you’ve ever been in and why?
I have to be careful what I say here in case my Mum reads this haha… The most trouble I’ve been in (or what I can say haha) was probably actually with my mum! Hahaha. I was a rebellious little shit as a teenager. I’d often sneak out the bedroom window onto the porch roof, go off on the piss with my mates in the back fields, smoking, toking round the back of the garages and I’d ALWAYS get caught. Nothing used to put the jeepers up me more (Probably still to this day as an adult actually ha) than knowing I’m in shit with my mum. 

How do you feel about the Birmingham music scene compared to other cities?
I love the Birmingham Music scene. There’s a real supportive community feel about Birmingham. No matter what genre or vibe, there’s this sense of we’re all in this together. It’s ace!

You’ve been playing at The Actress for some years now, do you have any good stories to tell?
Ha…so many stories! One of my favourite memories was playing with the band Casino. They’re good friends and it’s always ace fun to share the stage with your mates. I do remember playing a show supporting the band Longview with my old band. We were mega young and caused a bit of havoc accidentally nicking a large bottle of posh gin and a bottle of JD off their rider then ambushing their tour bus smashed off our heads waving said knicked bottles in their faces haha. Kinda learnt the rider and tour sharing etiquette rules since then thankfully haha.

What do you love about performing at The Actress & Bishop and the venue its self?
There’s always just an awesome vibe to the Actress, The sound has always been great which is naturally really important to an artist. I might be a bit biased seeing as it was my local, but To me, the actress feels like home. I also feel a real connection as I landed one of my first bar jobs there with the legendary Colin Woodley and went on to DJ there.  The Actress is just a gem of a venue that You can’t help fall for….So much so, I even wrote a song about it… Churchside Inn lol.

I know it’s like choosing between your kids right, but what MeMe Detroit song is your favourite?
God! Erm…My fave song to play live has to be one called Roses but overall, I’d have to say Can’t Get You Out Of My Mind.

What have MeMe Detroit fans got to look forward to in 2021/22?
Wow! 2022? Gawd knows! Hahaha… messing. We’re currently writing a new album so will be releasing that at some point in the near future. We’re also planning something else quite big. I can’t actually say what as we’ve all signed NDAs… it’s something that hasn’t been done before and is gonna take a mammoth amount of work so we’re aiming for 2022 to be the year that all comes into fruition!

Thank you for your time Madammoiselle Detroit!
De nada! Thanks for the chat!

You can catch MeMe live in your own living room every Monday via Facebook or instagram.
MeMe also runs clothing line and food blog @rnrvegan – check them out on instagram & facebook!