Show Off Your Scene: Q&A with North Carolina band Messenger Down

I had the chance to do an interview with Charlotte favorite local band, Messenger Down. Garrett Foster is the brain behind the solo project that is Messenger Down. We talk about his latest album Cheating Death–a well-rounded album that definitely has a song for everyone to love.

BRIANNA STACY: How long has Messenger Down been together?

MESSENGER DOWN: This past February was 4 years since I got this whole thing started!

BS: How did Messenger Down start out?

MD: I had left an old band of mine, and after writing a bunch of songs I just kinda decided to do it. Nobody was playing the kind of music I was interested in being a part of, so I recorded the first few songs with a studio drummer and played everything else myself. After that, I built a band around that sound and the songs I was writing and, after a revolving door of members coming in and out, I’m just doing it myself again!

BS: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard your music?

MD: Ha, “eclectic” I guess. I like asking what people are into and then suggest songs to them based on that. New or old, MD’s sound has ranged from Pop Punk to Synthpop, Metalcore to Trap, and Alternative Rock to R&B. The opening song on my first EP was basically a choir piece. If you like music, I probably have at least a song or two you can jam.

BS: You just released a new EP called Cheating Death. Tell us a little more about that. What was your creative process like while writing and recording it?

MD: This record is about falling in love with music again. I built up such an addiction to nostalgia and, after scrapping over twenty songs that I thought perfectly captured that feeling, I stopped looking for it and started finding things I enjoyed in the music coming out today. I got to play around with a lot of new sounds and ideas and effects that I hadn’t done much with in the past and getting to play everything in the studio made going in to record even more fun because it was all such a learning experience.

BS: What’s your favorite song off of Cheating Death?

MD: It’s honestly so hard to choose! Every song on Cheating Death is so different and brings its own ideas and sounds to the table. If I absolutely had to pick right this second it’s either “I’d Hate to Put Words In Your Head, Lend Me Your Ears Instead (Here to Stay),” “No Home for Ghosts,” or “Dead Weight (All Press is Good Press).” But I’ll probably change my mind tomorrow.

BS: What makes this album different from your last release?

MD: Literally everything. Besides maybe one song, it’s not even the same genre of music as anything I’ve ever put out before. I’ve always played around with ideas outside of the basic guitar/bass/drums/vocals formula, but in the past, I’ve kept the synths, pianos, strings, and anything else I could figure out how to use to simply being flavors and tastes within a very guitar-driven sound. This time around those instruments are essential parts of the songs, so much that a few almost ended up being written without guitars at all.

BS: Who are your top three favorite artists to listen to right now?

MD: Right now I’m listening to a lot of The Ready Set, his new album is nuts. Besides that, there’s a musician from Canada called The Runaway Club that I’m obsessed with, and The 1975 has been a pretty constant favorite for the past few months.

BS: Tell us about your dream tour. Who’s on the lineup?

MD: I was just thinking about this the other day! One Direction and The Weeknd co-headliner with Panic! at the Disco, The 1975 and Halsey as support. In a dream world I’d like to go on somewhere in the middle... but being real, I’d definitely be opening.

BS: What has been your favorite venue to play?

MD: It was definitely Tremont Music Hall in Charlotte, North Carolina before it shut down. So many memories. If I had to pick my favorite place that’s still open, it’s definitely Greene Street Club in Greensboro, NC or Ziggy’s By the Sea in Wilmington, NC.

BS: What’s one of your favorite memories from performing?

MD: The memory that stands out to me the most actually just happened earlier this year. I got the opportunity to open for State Champs at Ziggy’s By the Sea, and at one point in [my song] “North Star,” the crowd was singing along so loud I could hear them over my in-ear monitors. It was insane.

BS: What’s your favorite song to perform live?

MD: Right now it’s one of the new songs, “I’d Hate to Put Words In Your Head, Lend Me Your Ears Instead (Here to Stay).” It’s got this really groovy, indie pop kinda vibe to it that makes it stand out from the rest of the set. It’s a ton of fun.

BS: Is there anything that usually runs through your mind when you’re onstage?

MD: Honestly, not very much these last few shows. I usually have a million things going on in my head, but lately, I’ve been able to just go up, have a good time, and at least try to remember to say everything I need to between songs.

BS: Do you have any upcoming shows?

MD: We just finished up a few shows in July in the North Carolina and South Carolina area in Greenville, Raleigh, and Charlotte. We’re looking at hitting up a few tours to end the year. A lot is in the works.

There's no doubt that we'll be hearing more of Messenger Down in the future. As an artist on the rise, Messenger Down has shown us his best and we're excited for what else is yet to come.

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Interview, MusicBrianna Stacy