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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week – Metermaids
Monday, June 23, 2008

Some groups come together because it just makes sense. That was the reasoning that brought NYC based rap duo Metermaids together. After Swell (right in pic) and Sentence (left in pic) rocked a number of shows where shared the bill they decided that they liked each other’s styles enough to hit the studio together to record a few tracks. Shortly after those sessions they toured together with brokeMC, Domer and DJ Halo. According to Sentence, “toward the end of the tour we both mutually decided that we should form a group because we thought that the combination was such a stronger presentation than what either of us could do by ourselves.” Now, over a year after that decision was made, an album, Nightlife, has been completed. This week I’m sitting down with Swell and Sentence to find out more about the record, why they named themselves after such an awful group of people, and what happened on their first major tour that made them seriously question their paths in life.

Adam Bernard: You named your group after some of the most detestable people in the world, the folks who put tickets on our cars when the parking meters run out. What made you choose such a moniker?
Swell: I think the fact that metermaids are so detestable made it such an appealing name to me. That, and the fact that the name is feminine. I was consciously trying to choose something that no rapper would ever name their rap group. Also, there's something to be said about the fact that metermaids aren't the ones necessarily doing something wrong; if people didn't park illegally, they wouldn't have a problem.

Adam Bernard: OK, but why isn't there a "The" in front of your name? Grammatically you're KILLIN me!
Swell: Ha ha! I don't know if I can really answer that question. I am an English major, as well, so I suppose there is no excuse. When I came up with the name, I remember feeling like there were too many "The" bands out there. So I left it out. People always add it on anyway, so there you go.

Adam Bernard: Let’s move to your music. What do you feel you’re bringing to the scene that it's missing right now?
Sentence: I think we bring a combination of honesty and craftsmanship, and I think we bring accessibility. We make songs about what we know and we don't butter up, bullshit, or dumb down ideas. We lay that over song structure and beats that we've put a huge amount of effort into. The end result is something that a lot of people can get into. We have a sort of cross-genre sound that heads can feel regardless of if they're into rock or Hip-Hop or soul or anything else. We add to that an energetic live show and people end up relating to the music both in the speakers and on the stage and that's the most important part of anyone's music, I think.

Adam Bernard: And you have a new album that just hit stores. Tell me all about Nightlife?
Sentence: Nightlife is a cross-section of our lives during the year or so that went into making it. It's based on our experiences and it's got a lot of ups and downs, but it's mostly high-energy and positive. It's definitely Hip-Hop, but it's got a lot of influences of rock and soul. And it's fun. It's smart lyrics, solid production, and some pretty catchy hooks.

Adam Bernard: Feedback can be a beautiful thing. What's the nicest thing a critic or a fan has said to you about your work?
Sentence: I was once compared to Outkast, Eminem and Aesop Rock all in the same review... but I think that was more ignorance than flattery. Personally, I think the nicest things I've ever heard about our music have come from people who have been following us for a long time, both as Metermaids now and during our solo endeavors, and just want to express their honest appreciation for what we do. It's cool to get a good sound bite from a critic, but when I get a MySpace message, or someone coming up to us at a show on tour, and they're telling us that what we've done has been part of their personal soundtrack for however long, that really means something.

Adam Bernard: Now flip the script and tell me the worst thing you've heard about yourselves, and has any of it been directed at your race?
Swell: We actually haven't had anything particularly nasty or pointed written about our recorded music. Pretty much all of our reviews mention our race, and in that same breath we are always compared to Eminem or Atmosphere. We can't escape it. I did come across a review of our show when we opened for Fabolous that wasn't very flattering, but that wasn't a great show for us, so the reviewer wasn't being nasty. He or she just saw us have a shitty show in front of a hostile crowd. Ha ha.

Adam Bernard: I wasn’t at that show, but I’ve seen you live a number of times. For those who haven't made it to one of your shows yet, describe the energy of a typical Metermaids performance?
Swell: Sentence and I both absolutely love to perform and we love to perform together. That's what drew us to each other in the first place and made us feel like we had something special. The energy of our live show is just two friends doing exactly what they want to be doing and I think that the reaction crowds have had to us across the country is a reflection of that. We want everyone to feel as good as we do when we're on stage. I'm sure Raffi would answer that question the same way.

Adam Bernard: Awesome, a Raffi reference. Baby Beluga is in the house! Finally, since you’ve done a few national tours, hit me with your best road story from being trapped in a van with the likes of Domer and DJ Halo.
Sentence: There are a million stories, but the first one that comes to mind is from the Unnatural Disasters Tour in 2007 when we were headed from Salt Lake City to Minnesota and we got caught in this monumental snow storm in the middle of nowhere, Wyoming. They closed the highway down and, after sitting on the side of the road waiting for it to reopen for about eight hours, we went back to town and found out all the motels were sold out. The only place for us refugees was the Armory, which was basically this big open gym with 200 people stacked cot-to-cot. There were kids crying and old ladies snoring and a lot of misery… and our convoy of rappers in the corner. And this place was like, on military lock down. All we could do to stay sane was go out to the van and drink as much beer as we could as fast as possible to try to drown out the deafening sound of depression and the anticipation of not being able to sleep that night. We all ended up with like an hour of sleep and a pretty strong feeling that we'd gone horribly astray with our lives and this was some cosmic payback.

Related Links

Website: metermaidsnyc.com
MySpace: myspace.com/metermaids


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:47 AM  
  • At 3:43 PM, Blogger Tah Phrum Duh Bush said…

    Yo.. Metermaids are sooooooo dope!
    U gotta see em live!

  • At 11:01 AM, Blogger kats said…

    Metermaids dominate! The live shows really are very fun, and they know how to put great songs together. Check out their latest collabo with Camp Lo...it's pretty awesome.

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