Have you ever wanted to go back to the early 2000s? Do you want the perfect soundtrack to match that nostalgia? Well look no further, Meet Me @ The Altar is the band for you! With riffs that hit you full force and melodies that rattle your soul, MMATA is the perfect band to bring you that punk bliss (batteries not included).
Those aren’t my words, but they are Téa Campbell’s, the guitarist for Meet Me @ The Altar. The up-and-coming pop punk band not only has the potential to redefine what the genre can sound like, but what it can look like, too.
It isn’t a groundbreaking statement to acknowledge that pop punk is a white- and male-dominated area of music. Despite the occasional woman-led group rising to the top of the pecking chart every so often, it is just a simple reality.
But as a group composed of queer women of color, MMATA is used to others viewing them as outsiders.
“We once showed up to a local festival to load in and the ticket person told us it wasn’t time for doors as if we weren’t supposed to be there,” as Campbell explained.
“As soon as we play, though, people are shocked that their impression of us was so wrong. It’s a blessing in a curse because we’re already super ambitious people. That outside pressure influences us to write the best material that we can and put on the best performance.”
Consisting of guitarist Téa Campbell, drummer Ada Juarez, and lead singer Edith Johnson, the group doesn’t have a hometown. But despite that, their sound still fulfills the pop punk dreams of pizza, flannel, and wanting to get away from said hometown.
Despite not having any LPs to their name (yet), MMATA is pushing their way into a position within the scene at a pace that is making them impossible to ignore.
In her “sales pitch” for the band, Campbell scratched the surface of what makes their music so interesting. The 2000s pop punk sound is a massive influence for the group. If it were possible to contain that lightning in a bottle feeling, Meet Me @ The Altar is figuring out how to do so.
By combining that raw and energetic pop punk sound that saw the genre thrive in the mainstream, while also working to create their own sound through more technical instrumentals, MMATA creates a modern and interesting twist on an underestimated genre.
In a genre that is characterized by its sad lyrics and overdramatic themes, there is a sense of optimism to be found in the music of Meet Me @ The Altar which gives such a different experience when listening to their music compared to other acts within their scene.
It doesn’t take long for one to find themselves engrossed in one of the band’s riff-driven, intense, and fun tracks.
While explosive choruses and uptempo punk galore make up much of the band’s catalog, one cannot ignore their lyrical content.
Whether it be about trying to find their way in the music industry in “Tyranny” or about taking chances to pursue what you love in their recently released “May the Odds Be in Your Favor”, there’s as much to take from the group lyrically as there is musically. For a pop punk band, that isn’t that common.
But as interesting as the band’s music is their origin story, which doubles down on how the group’s a byproduct of a changing scene.
In 2015, after Campbell discovered a YouTube drum cover of a Twenty One Pilots’ track from Juarez, she contacted her about collaborating, and after, they formed the group.
“We ended up deciding to start a band because we both wanted to be in one our entire childhoods. We had no clue what being in a band would mean for us, but we both knew this was something we wanted to stick with.”
After going through different members, lead singer Edith Johnson joined the group in September 2017.
Since then, they have dropped numerous EPs and singles, including the recent releases of “Garden” and “May the Odds Be in Your Favor.” It’s becoming clear that the band is finding their groove from release to release, with a more mature and developed sound each time through.
But despite the rise of the internet opening the doors for bands like MMATA to reach a greater audience, this hasn’t come without the difficulties often faced by women of color in the music industry.
“We feel like we have to prove that we belong in the scene because of its history of pushing out the groups we fall under. While the stereotypical white guy bands get praised for mediocrity, we have to push ourselves to even be recognized. Whenever we show up at venues for a show we’re playing, people look at us like ‘what are they doing here?’ and it gets old quickly.”
But despite this, they use it as inspiration to work harder. With plans to release another single this summer, the group is continuing to work on their debut album, and is planning to tour as soon as possible.
“There are many people who support us in the scene, and there are others who pretend to support us but hope for our downfall. That’s just how it is for any band/artist, but the supporters are all that matters.”