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Pic by Shane Conwell

INTERVIEW: Merit

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

-Great! Been mad busy with the new record, but hype.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Woe, She’s A Gravedigger”?

-We dropped our new single on June 28th, and it’s currently available on all streaming services! We chose this track as a single because we believe it represents a wide array of what we have to offer as a pop-punk band. The song features palm muted two-step parts, fast D-beat type parts, and a half-time chorus with a swing feel that still gives me goosebumps when I listen to it. Our influences stem a lot from old punk, hardcore, and nu-metal. So we wanted to embrace those genres and I think that really comes out in this track.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

-I wrote this about an ex. She cheated on me a lot and tried to save face by making me out to be the bad guy. So this song is basically about being on the receiving end of that, and knowing that one day it would all catch up to them.

Any plans to film a video for the track?

-No, as much as we love this song, our plan is to release a video for another track on the record called “Mediocrity gets you (Des)pears”. Outside of this song being a subtle nod to an old Against Me! track, the song is fast, energetic, and guaranteed to get you hype. 

The single comes off your new album Living With The Low – what’s the story behind the title? 

-Aside from the happy-go-lucky instrumentation, all of the songs on this record have a very dark undertone. I was struggling with severe depression, anxiety, and self loathing… I was not in a good spot at all. Writing has always been a big outlet for me, so these songs were in a sense my version of therapy. To me, it’s a reflection of where I was mentally at that point in time, and a reminder that life gets better.

How was the recording and writing process?

-Looooooong haha. Between our revisions, the band’s schedule, one of our members living in Baltimore, and working around The Wonder Years schedule, this project has taken just about a year to come to fruition. However we’re glad we took our time with it and couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out.

What was it like to work with Matt Brasch and how did that relationship develop?

-That man is a saint. He is one of the most down to earth people I’ve ever met and an absolute pleasure to work with. I’ve never been that comfortable working with someone in the studio, and I think that really shows with how the record turned out. With Brasch being hometown homies, we have a bunch of mutual friends and always see each other at local shows. Matt also happens to play in another band called “Cold Climb It” that we did some local shows and a weekender with a couple years back. He reached out to us about doing the record and here we are now.

How much did he get to influence the album? 

-We had all the songs written when Matt first came in for pre-pro. However these songs wouldn’t have been the same without his guidance. He definitely helped us polish these songs to make them stand out and seem more like SONGS to us. It’s crazy what a pause or a different drum fill will do to make a song really stand out.

How does being from Lansdale influence your music?

-We all grew up going to local shows. We looked up to the bands that played the same venues, we currently do, a generation before us. Back in the day they were like heroes that you could run into at your local Wawa. We’ve always had something special here, we know it, and we embrace the hell out of it. Lansdale forever.

What aspect of personal relationships did you get to explore on this record?

-I got to close a bunch of chapters in my life… Like a terrible relationship, a terrible friendship, and a terrible point in my mental health.

What made you want to take on such a dark themes?

-It was how I was feeling at the time. These songs were just specific days of my life that my mental health didn’t get in the way of me doing something about it. 

How did you get to balance the dark aspects with the much uplifting tone of the album?

-Writing has always been a two step process for us. Nate, our guitarist, will write/demo out the instrumentals and then send it on over to me for lyrics. I like how it’s been working out for us because you get that yin yang effect.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

-Me slowly slipping into madness haha. The people I surrounded myself with played a part in some of lyrics. Like watching others be successful or having fun while you sit alone in a room for days at a time, not really wanting to get up or do anything.

Any plans to hit the road?

-Yes! Next weekend, July 11th-14th, we’ll be doing a short run with our homies/my roommates Am0ra (local emo-core). We’ll be doing dates in NJ, NC, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg. After that we plan on doing a few short runs here and there in the fall and winter! Hoping to do bigger runs in 2020.

What else is happening next in Merit’s world?

-Nate, our guitarist, is a genius. Outside of writing the majority of instrumentals for the group, he is also a game designer. We are in the process of finishing a side scrolling Merit video game, in the light of the OG Super Mario Bros, that will be available as an App! Nate has also re-recorded our songs into 8-bit format. Upon the release of the video game we plan on dropping the soundtrack to the game featuring the 8-bit renditions of our songs.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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