Interview: Merit

Hailing from Phoenix, AZ, Merit’s brand of twidly emo nicely fills the void left from influential names such as The Get Up Kids and The Promise Ring. Supplying a balance of melancholy and resolution, the quartet are in set to release a new EP titled ‘The Comfort and the Confusion’ later this month.

The four-song set is part two of a trilogy of EPs based around the cycle of life with ‘The Comfort and the Confusion’ serving as part where you accept your role in life and settle who you yet you lose sight of your purpose. Nevertheless the stirring and reflective ‘Here’s To You’ and the wistful ‘I Wish I Had An Invisibility Cloak’ provide moments of content. On the whole, Merit leave a lasting, contemplative impression. And it’s not going to be the last time you will be hearing from them. A third EP (‘The End of Everything’) is to follow whilst a full-length is in the works.

To learn more about Merit, we spoke to guitarist Kris Lewis who discussed the EP trilogy, being compared to “classic” emo bands and their forthcoming album.

AH: So your your new EP, ’The Comfort and The Confusion’, is set to be released in the UK this month. We know this is the latest in a series of EPs. Can you bring us up to date on the history of Merit?
Kris:
Merit started in 2012 when Dain (Griffin – vocals) was looking to start a new project that was moulded after all of those great 90’s emo bands. In 2013 we released our first EP called ‘The Truth About The Twenties’ and did a few West Coast tours in the states to support it. In late 2014 we recorded the series of EP’s that are now being released through Boom Blast and have since toured the US West Coast several more times.

AH: ’TC&TC’ is part of a trio of EPs on the cycle of life. Can you explain the concept and where ‘TC&TC’ fits into it?
Kris: This is the second EP in our series of three. As a whole, the series covers the constant cycles that we go through in life in relation to new experiences. Whether it be a new job, a new romantic relationship or even a new friendship, there tends to be similarities. The first EP: The Sun Will Rise, represents the newness and excitement of this experience. The second EP: ‘The Comfort and the Confusion,’ represents the stage where this new experience isn’t so new anymore and is getting a little stale. It’s easy sometimes to lose appreciation for something when you’re maybe taking it a little for granted. And finally, the third EP: ‘The End of Everything,’ covers the conclusion of that experience. The point in time when you reflect on what you had been through and are happy with that experience being over, or regret the way that it turned out. We’ve tried to illustrate these themes in each EP not only lyrically, but also through the artwork as well as the overall tone of specific songs in each EP.

AH: One thing that drew us to Merit is the comparison to “classic” emo bands like The Get Up Kids, The Promise Ring, Saves The Day and Jimmy Eat World. How do you feel about being likened to those bands?
Kris: Bands that we definitely draw from are the classic 90’s emo heroes so when people make those comparisons, we take it as a very good thing. Those are all bands Dain and myself grew up listening to and really draw inspiration from. That mid/late 90’s emo movement not only had great song writing, but was also able to illicit such emotional responses from listeners by crafting songs that were not only honest, but also insightful.

AH: Do you consider yourself to be part of the “emo revival” or do you think that phase has certainly passed by now?
Kris: Using the term revival with any genre is always tough because it’s sometimes hard to point to specific years where these revivals have or will take place. I feel like it tends to be a more fluid thing. There are definitely a lot of really great bands right now that are playing a wide range of the emo genre. If people want to associate us with those bands that’s pretty cool.

AH: The release of this EP sees you once again working with Boom Blast Records; a label based in Teeside in the UK. How does a band from Arizona team up with a label from the North East of England?
Kris: It was pretty much luck. We ended up following Dwaine from Boom Blast on Instagram or something and he checked out our music. We’re extremely excited and grateful for this opportunity to be releasing our music in the UK market and can’t wait to hear what people think of it.

AH: We hear you’re currently writing a debut full-length. How far are you into writing the record?
Kris: We’re about five songs in at the moment. We’re really taking our time with all of these new songs, going over every part together and making sure we’re all in on everything.

AH: What can we expect in terms of style and lyrical themes?
Kris: Lyrically I think it’s shaping up to be less straight forward. On the three EP’s Dain and I tended to be kind of literal and these new songs, I feel like, we’re leaving more room open for interpretation. As far as style, we’re still drawing from our favorite bands, but at the same time we’re becoming more comfortable as song writers and just writing together in general.

AH: Finally some of our readers may not be familiar with Merit. Why should they take some time out of their day and you out? What are they missing out on?Kris: We hope people check out our music because we’re a bunch of nice, honest guys writing music people can relate to.

‘The Comfort And The Confusion’ by Merit is released on March 11th on Boom Blast Records.

Merit links: Website|Facebook|Twitter|YouTube

Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)

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