After being highlighted as one of our most anticipated albums of 2017, we spoke to Press To MECO about their 2016 and working with Machine on their second record.
It’s commonplace that bands need to be hardworking and committed to their cause. However, in a scene where there is a plethora of touring bands in every party of country, very few get the recognition beyond the usual print and online media outlets. Nevertheless, Croydon/Crawley trio Press To MECO found themselves in an peculiar position last year when their debut album, ‘Good Intent’, was nominated for an Association of Independent (AIM) Music Award alongside familiar names such as Radiohead, Skepta, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Roots Manuva.
“That was the ultimate credit our hard work. It was very humbling. We were up against all these amazing artists and bands, then there’s us, some kids from Croyden and Crawley who play shows to a few hundred people,” explains vocalist Luke Caley. “That’s the cool thing about AIM. It’s something that provides a platform for Radiohead and grass roots bands as well. We couldn’t believe our name was up there with the other bands.”
Although they lost out to London rapper Little Simz, Press To MECO now have momentum as they put the finishing touches to ‘Good Intent’’s follow-up. For Caley, along with Adam Roffey and Lewis Williams, the 12 months that followed ‘Good Intent’’s release in October 2015 flew by. Luke explains, “it’s crazy how quick this year has gone. It’s been mental. I remember when it came out, the response to it was really overwhelming. It was something we spent so much time on, putting so many hours in. It was the first body of work the three of us had done in an album form. At the time it felt like there was so much pressure, but now it feels like it came and went so quickly. I don’t know what we were worried about.”
With the experience of an album cycle behind them, the seeds of Press To Meco’s second album were planted in Austin, Texas last Autumn with producer Machine (Every Time I Die, Clutch, Lamb of God).
So how does an underground band south of London team up with a renowned producer such as Machine? “It actually came about because the label we released ‘Good Intent’ on (Best Before Records), Anthony (Shaw) who runs it is best friends with Machine,” Luke clarifies. “They started programming beats for hip-hop artists together and were in a band together, so they’ve got so much history. He sent Machine the last album and he really liked it.
“He really wanted to do the album, so he could do everything he could to make it happen. We thought it would logistically never be possible, but due to a few turns of fate meant we were able to get over there, and Machine was very compromising in getting us over there.”
“He wanted to make this band a better version of us.”
Having touched down in Austin and with Machine on board, Press To MECO spent a month piecing together what will become their second album later this year. When asked how the album differs to its predecessor, bassist Adam Roffey states the album is “more refined,” with Luke going into more detail; “I initially feel it’s a bit darker overall, definitely lyrically. It’s also more pop-punk than we have ever been. It feels like the next stage of Press To Meco. It sounds like all the elements that make this band are still 100% there across the album.”
From talking to the band, you get the impression that along with Machine, album number two is set to be a concise effort of progression with one of the key aims to put emphasis on the elements that make PTM stand out; three-part harmonies, big hooks and technically efficient in their musicianship.
“He completely understands what this band is about. After we did pre-production, we were more motivated more than ever because he wanted to emphasise and bring out, than perhaps change or refine it to make it more accessible", says Luke. “He wanted to make this band a better version of us.”
As Luke explains, Machine’s knowledge, experience and passion is nothing but an advantage to the band and forthcoming record. “He’s got such a good vision because he’s been producing for so long. He can almost visual a crowd of people and he knows what is going to connect. He did it in a way where it didn’t compromise what we’re doing at all. You’ve got to stay true to themselves.”
While drummer Lewis Williams states “all of his suggestions were about making the songs connect with more people, which is something I don’t think we did fully on ‘Good Intent’. Just playing it and having the right parts that connect with people.”
Although a timeframe for LP#2 is unknown, Press To MECO continue to roll on as they look to expand. Aspirations to tour in Europe more are on top of their agenda before delivering their second album. While understandably the aim of returning to America to tour isn’t ideal for a band who know their position. They know realistically the financial burden of pulling off such a task. “For a band like us to go over there, it’s such a massive financial consideration,” says Luke with Lewis adding; “If you want to do it, you have to take three or four months to just go and do it. You can’t just do a show and come back. You’d never recoup it.”
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)