All Photos and Interview by Rita Plante
I had the chance to hang out backstage with Marlo, Veronica, and Eric from the indie soul band Melt before their performance at Levitate Music Festival in Marshfield, Massachusetts. While capturing some behind the scene moments we talked about their journey as a band, from winning their high school battle of the bands to graduating college while on tour.
How did you guys form and come together as a band?
Veronica: So we formed in high school, total accident. We won a battle of the bands that allowed us to record our first song, which randomly blew up on reddit, and 5 years later, here we are at Levitate Music Fest.
Who were you inspired by when first forming?
Marlo: Our band name was toast at this first show and we had zero image of anything.
Veronica: It was like, Phish, jam bands, Lake Street Dive, all of the classic soul singers.
Eric: Stevie Wonder, stuff like that.
Seems like it worked out pretty well for you guys. After the battle of the bands, did you guys think, “wow we have something good here, let’s just keep it going?”
Veronica: I think we all suffer from imposter syndrome, we hit so much luck and won this battle of the bands, and we put out our first song, “Sour Candy,” on YouTube, it wasn’t even on Spotify, and it just got shared on Facebook and Reddit. I think we have actively been working on giving ourselves a little more credit for those early days recently because we did kind of strike gold with this group. It came together in the final months of senior year of high school and something just clicked and we’re forever grateful for that.
Moving on to college days, I saw that you were all pursuing college degrees while touring, how did that effect tour life and the band as a whole?
Eric: It was wild because most of the time that we would see each other was where we would congregate for a show. Veronica was in Boston, I was in DC, and the rest of them were in New York, which was a pretty central location. So we would all travel to wherever we were playing a show on the weekend.
Veronica: In the fall I was taking classes Monday through Wednesday and then we were touring Thursday through Sunday. I was living in an off campus house in Somerville, so I would get back home and take a breath and be like I’m home, but then I’d be like-I didn’t do any of my homework, how am I gonna get a degree. But getting degrees was really important to all of us and we were very fortunate to be able to do that and I feel like we really supported each other through that journey and we did it, and now we are all living in New York City.
Eric: A lot of shows it would be like, “Oh what do you do backstage,” and it was like one of us would be writing an essay, the other would be submitting an assignment. So it was a real balance between school and tour.
This will be going on a college radio website, so I was wondering what kind of advice you had for anyone trying to pursue performing arts or music while still in school?
Veronica: Something that I felt really plagued by early on what the idea that I had to do music or pursue a serious career in whatever I was studying. I was studying international relations. Something that I wish I had accepted earlier was that music is just another way to say what’s on your mind, it’s like the language that I speak. I’m always going to be interested in international relations or other pathways so I think for artists and musicians in college just follow your interests, if you’re in school and you’re psyched about it f*ck yeah! Do school, study what you want to study. You are an artist, it’s who you are, it’s not a career path, it’s a state of being, and you can be in that state of being while testing the waters in other areas.
That’s a great way to put it. Would you say that finishing your college degrees was your biggest accomplishment as a band or would that be something else?
Marlo: I think staying together through it would be the biggest accomplishment we’ve had as a band. To be spread from DC to Boston and meet up on the weekends as college students with no management, no booking agent, no label, and totally self funded and figuring out how you book a show, how you budget, how you get everyone there, was a ton of work and that to me was the craziest part of the whole thing.
Eric: I think it really prepared us well because doing that all ourselves for four years, we learned and now know every side of how this worked like booking the shows, booking the hotels, tour managing ourselves, acting as our own label, distributing our own music.
Veronica: We run the business. We’re slowly growing our team.
What would be next for you? What is your big goal as a band?
Veronica: I think it’s an album.
Eric: I think that will be the next big milestone. We’re going on a big tour in the fall, and that’ll be the first time where we’re all getting in a van and gonna be away from home for, at first a month, and then we’re going back on the road. That’ll be itself, a milestone. But definitely an album.
Veronica: Something I’m psyched about is like because of the fact that we were all in college and uniting to play shows, it’s not about money, but that is the thing that kept us afloat as a band. So we unite to play those shows and keep the band together and have so much fun together and we are a live band through and through. And what we didn’t have time for was to get together when it wasn’t time to play a show and record our new music all the time. Usually those recording sessions looked like a day or two or three at the studio where we just grind for three days straight. So now we’re thinking about how we can get the energy and love and great vibe from the live show into our recorded discography, and I think we’re gonna bring the debut album with us on tour. We will see what it ends up being, but we might take audio clips from the audience and workshop the songs on tour and try to incorporate the vibe of the tour into the debut album.
Are you excited to play Levitate today? Anything you’re going to surprise us with on stage?
Marlo: Well we will have new songs that are in our live rotation, but I think that we have never played a festival where there’s not really an overlap of other music, and this is a beautiful day and it’s such a nice stage. We love when there’s this crazy big stage that we can run around on. Later we will be in the VIP tent and that stage is like 10 feet. We will be crammed on top of each other, and that’s kinda not our favorite performance circumstance. So every time we get to go on a big stage it just brings our show to the next level because we have to perform to that caliber.
So last question, is there anything you want to promote?
Veronica: Follow us @melttheband, there are many ways to stay involved but Instagram @melttheband is the hub. It’s the heart of our community, but the main thing is the fall tour. We’re going cross country, we’re going to Canada, so we’re probably going to be playing a show near you. Just in general, I think this is a really big time for our band. I feel like we’re just at the cusp of the next chapter and this is the time to join the community and the bigger it grows, the more love we feel and the better it gets, so I’d just say follow along and join the party, and see if we’re going to a city near you.