In September of 2001, four guitarists united to form The Meeting Places. Based in L.A., Scott McDonald (lead guitar), Dean Yoshihara (now playing drums), Arthur Chan (now playing bass) and Chase Harris (lead vocals and rhythm guitar). Their first album, “Find Yourself Along The Way was released in 2003 and followed by Numbered Days in 2006. And thus concludes my dry, perfunctory history of this band. To truly understand this band you must listen, watch and feel the output of this organic creation. Once again, the best shoegazeyourfuzzbloodymarychainslowdive music may be coming exclusively out of Southern California. Yet, like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, they are able to put enough of a spin on it to keep it feeling original and disorienting enough to make you smile.
A couple members of the band were able to take some time to work on solving the sonic mysteries of yet another of America’s finest.
TDOA: We’re fascinated by this concept that all four of you were guitarists who shifted instruments to form a band. In particular, do Dean and Arthur still play guitar and perhaps contribute guitar ideas during the songwriting process?
Scott: They do contribute a lot of ideas and songs. For example, “Until it’s Gone” is one of Dean’s songs while “On Our Own” is basically a song that started with an idea/riff from Arthur.
TDOA: You worked with Brad Laner in the band, Amnesia. I imagine him as a guitar-mad-scientist, but is that a fair assessment? What was he like to write with in a band?
Scott: Brad is an incredible musician and, in my opinion, one of the most experimental and influential guitarists of my generation. Brad wrote and played all of the songs on the Amnesia records, I was merely his supporting guitarist in the band on the first disc.
TDOA: Your bio gives the impression that you’re trying to move away from the ‘dream-pop’ or ‘shoe-gaze’ label. Do you feel like there’s a negative connotation to those genres?
Scott: No, I don’t see or experience any negative connotations with those terms. We’re not moving away from our influences, at least not intentionally. We just play and write songs that sound good to us. We should probably create a new bio.
TDOA: It seems like there are a lot of great bands coming out of Southern California right now. Certainly, this isn’t a new thing, but bands like The Meeting Places, Darker My Love, Crocodiles and others have really embraced that very British MBV/Mary Chain sound and called it their own. Is that perception shared by you and the music community in L.A. or a figment of our imagination?
Scott: I can only speak for Darker My Love because I’ve seen them play so many times and they are a very good band with great songs. We are not close with many other bands who might share the same influences though. There’s really no popularity or community that we belong to because L.A. is so large. We have way more in common with L.A. bands like Film school and Eskimohunter.
TDOA: Do you enjoy making videos and will we see new ones for your next album?
Scott: I enjoy making videos. If the price was right and we could do something cool and memorable then we’d love to make more.
TDOA: We absolutely love the new song, “Millions”. What can you tell us about the song; meaning of the song, songwriting process, who you recorded it with?
Scott: We recorded it along with some other demos at The Ship studios in Eagle Rock with Aaron Espinoza (Earlimart) a few months ago.
Chase: Lyrically, I was coming from a place of evaluating my roll as a new father. I was processing the estrangement from my mother for the last few years and her absence from my daughter’s/ my life. I was writing from both my and my daughter’s point-of-view as an open letter to my mom. I was foreshadowing my daughter’s feelings, given, the estrangement continues, to where she’ll be able to recognize her feelings about the situation.
Musically, the song came together off an old bassline that Arthur had used as a part of a live soundtrack we did for a friend’s short film. I think the song came together in under a half an hour. I think our best songs are sometimes come together the easiest.
TDOA: There was an article printed on another site talking about the death of music magazines because they don’t cover a large enough variety of bands. As a band, how do you publicize your band to get the word out?
Scott: Yeah, magazines are fading away, not because they don’t cover many genres, it’s just not effective for labels and corporations to advertise with a mag when you can get more bang for your buck spending the same amount across more websites/blogs. Also, by the time a magazine comes out the material inside is so dated. People want free music, and fresh information that is exciting, and blogs provide the best options for that.
The best way to promote your band is to send music to websites/blogs — hoping they will publish your band and let people know that you exist — and have a strong live show. You can’t choose your fans.
TDOA: What can people expect to see from TMP when they play live? Do you prefer playing live or recording in the studio?
Scott: Honestly, people can expect a massive whirlwind of guitars and a big rhythm section. It’s very atmospheric and can be very loud. I recommend ear plugs.
I prefer to play live because we can accurately translate our songs to the audience. The studio is definitely fun, but there’s always a lot of waiting around.
TDOA: The artwork on all of your releases has consistently been top-notch. We’d love to know if it’s all the work of one person and what input the band has had on it.
Scott: Dean is our director of artwork and is always ten steps ahead of what everyone else is doing.
TDOA: What’s next for the band? Releasing the material you recorded this year? Touring?
Scott: We won’t be touring any time soon. We may do another album, just need to keep working on new songs so we can enter the studio with lots of ammunition.
For more information about The Meeting Places, visit their myspace page at: http://www.myspace.com/themeetingplaces
To purchase their music, visit Amazon: