Meka Nism Invades SXSW and Melts Some Faces Along the Way
An Interview with Meka Kyoto and Bobby Keller of Meka Nism
By: Coren E. McLeod
Back in February of this lovely year, my editor, Dan Locke, and I were talking about sending me to South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. I told Dan that my best friend Jackie and her husband live out there. Jackie has been telling me since 2003 that I have to attend SXSW since I am such a music buff. Well, March of 2016 was finally the right time for me to go to Austin. And not only was I going out there to party with my favorite person, (Yes, that is you Jackie…) I was going to be able to see some awesome music acts perform and possibly interview them for UnRated Magazine. Jackpot!!!!
So, Dan and I had to come up with a schedule for me to follow (ha ha.) to make certain I attend the big events and get interviews with amazing bands. While researching some of the events that would be happening at SXSW March 16th-20th, Dan noticed a 313 Entertainment Showcase happening at the Dirty Dog Bar on 6th Street. He literally said, “Hey. That band you interviewed at Durty Nellies will be at Dirty Dog on the 18th.”
At this point in the night, I was already tired from working a 10 hour day at my big girl job and I just worked out at my crappy gym. So, apparently I just had enough energy to totally get excited and say “Omg! Meka Nism! Fuck yeah…!”
Unless you have been living under a huge rock, Meka Nism is the band for me right now. They are the quintessential “Art Metal” band from Orlando, Florida. I simply love this group of people. There is so much talent bleeding through each member of the group, anyone that attends one of their shows will automatically want to become part of “The Tribe.”
The entire group: Meka, Bobby, Reed, Jay, Alvin and Jeremey are all such wonderful people and I have the upmost respect for them and what they do. With my ass being down in Austin for 4 days, I was one busy chick running around downtown trying to make for damn sure I get to everything that was scheduled for me. Let’s just say I did a pretty good job.
Believe me, I saw some pretty great talent. Of course, I was truly ecstatic to rock out to Meka Nism. Well, I did and it was glorious. Not only was I able to witness Meka Nism melt the faces off of every single person at Dirty Dog bar at 3 pm on that Friday afternoon, I also got to take photos (with a very professional camera I thought I was going to drop the entire time). Plus, I got to get yet another interview with two of the members of Meka Nism. Score!
After their 20 minute set of hard core, bitch slap of a great performance, I was able to catch up with Meka and Bobby. Since I last saw these marvelous people back in Springfield, Illinois in December of 2015, the band has been growing. With a live album released, members of Meka Nism have been spreading their wings into other projects.
Meka is the lead singer that has this spiritual vibe that leads a group of followers with such love and dedication. What I find the most inspiring about Meka is she still maintains a girly atmosphere while still rocking out with the guys. I give her a lot of respect for that.
The lead guitarist, Bobby, is simply a rock star with a good sense of brilliance and a keen eye on how to keep getting better each day with the music industry. Whether it’s building an empire or wailing out amazing riffs on his ESP guitar, Bobby happens to be very smart and ingenious.
So, after much love was expressed after their show, I got to ask Meka and Bobby about the future of Meka Nism. Plus, find out a few more facts about these wonderful people:
Coren UnRated: How did this all happen with SXSW?
Meka: We were called about a 313 Showcase. So, we got called in and we were really excited. We have played with these bands like Twisted from Slipknot. Actually DJ StarScream and we got to play before him again. He has so much stage presence and so much charisma. I love people mixing genres and he is not afraid. The whole showcase was and it was really good. It was a bunch of different genres thanks to 313. They asked if we wanted to be on the showcase and we were like “YES!”
Bobby: We got a little rushed. We got a short set. Our kick drum was out so they had to replace it. But, it was okay.
Meka: We gave a nice heavy set. We played a lot of the softer songs. I am looking forward to the day we get to do full blast sets.
Coren UnRated: So, Meka…. I saw on your Facebook page that a bio is coming out about you. What is going on with that?
Meka: I have a friend and he lives in New York now. And I have actually known him for a long time. He was in Orlando briefly from LA. He stopped by and he was working for a film company. He said, “I just want to interview you. Do you have like an hour?” And we interviewed and I had no idea what he was going to do with it. It was months, months later when he was settling in New York. He is a bad ass all around and makes a lot of shit for film festivals. I want to brag about him like crazy. His name is Cory Benjamin. He is a great vocalist in his own right. Yet, he does more film work. It is actually a secret, but he sent me clips. Now, we did this before we released our album “The Shift.” He did an hour interview with me and chopped it up into little segments. He is an old friend and I just said everything. It ended up being very revealing, very spiritual, and emotional but in a very bright way. He just made the moments happen. He is doing them in little episodes. Cory is still working on it, but it should be release this year. I had no clue what he was going to do with it and I was like “Holy shit.”
Coren UnRated: Ok, Mr. Fashion Designer over here. What made you want to come up with your brand of t shirts, hats…. Etc?
Meka: We had people already coming up to the merchandise booth asking about Bobby’s line.
Bobby: It is actual funny. I had no plans, no intentions. I was fucking around with my friends and we made a hat that had my little pentagram logo on it. I got hit up like crazy. People asking, “Where can I get this hat?” And I was like, well maybe I have something here. I have some ideas I have been throwing around. I launched the website I believe last week and it is up. Live now. I should have more stuff coming in. A women’s line should be next. Meka has been helping me. If you love evil, you will love this. It is fashionable. www.Bfkclothing.com
Coren UnRated: What about Jay and his band Photobomb?
Bobby: Jay is a genius. Photobomb is his cover band.
Meka: Jay can listen to a song and play every part. He can recreate it on the keyboard instantly.
Bobby: Jay played Randy Rhodes’ guitar solo in Mr. Crowley off the cuff. I was like, “Dude, did you know how to do that?” Jay was like, “No, I fucking just did it.”
Meka: Yeah, he has some magical powers. He has been speaking the language of music his whole life. Jay is not even on the album. (The Shift.)
Coren UnRated: Meka, you play a little guitar. How does it feel not to play it now?
Meka: It is funny not to play guitar for the past couple of years. I did not realize how freeing it is. I can incorporate the energy, my connection and rhythm. I didn’t realize how much I can just throw the energy out there. By studying Shamanism and how energy works. I really want those connections with people. I am looking for whatever craziness we can bring to a show.
Coren UnRated: Bobby, what is your affiliation with ESP Guitars?
Bobby: It is a funny story. When I first started to play guitar in 2007, my first guitar was a starter ESP Guitar. A couple of years later, I was a Kirk Hammett’s Horror Festival. There were people, there from ESP. Long story short, I was at the right place at the right time. I got to meet the Vice President and now they endorse me. ESP is great.
Coren UnRated: What is happening in Japan?
Meka: We are talking to people and they asked us if we would do a tour in Japan. So, we are on the move to possibly doing a tour in Japan. My old bass player from Origami Girls (A band Meka had in Japan.) She just got married and they just opened a rock bar. They are going to have their wedding party around Halloween and then the Head Bangers Death Night. Michael Field from Germany said we want Meka Nism to be our first International Act. So, we said let’s all do a tour. We are starting to contacting people now and I think we could really have a blast in about 6 months. I miss Japan and my Japanese side of my family. It is a part of my heart. This will merge my worlds. I am more than excited that I can express in any language.
Coren UnRated: So, there should be new videos soon for “Mouth of God” and “The Shift” soon, right?
Bobby: We are working on those. We have a live video of “Mouth of God” coming soon. A very nice friend of ours out in Orlando. Eric filmed it for us. He wanted to do and we were like absolutely.
Meka: “Mouth of God” talks about a lot of things like Shamanism and different cultures. I think we could really express in a new way. We can open up a discussion about what we are as the modern rock show is a sacred space. You can rock out. You can scream. You can dance. You can go crazy and express yourself in your own way. It is a spiritual experience music. So, that is a good song to express that. I am excited because I get to have more fun with my friends. (At this point, my awesome editor Dan was checking on me via a phone call to make sure everything was alright. Thanks Dan!)
Coren UnRated: With everything happening for your band, what are the plans for the rest of the year?
Meka: Touring. Music videos, international touring. While we are touring, we are going to start writing the new album on the road. We are going to see what other energy comes to us. The really cool things about us is that we are really hard workers. Yet, we also just let life happen. We let wonderful things happen.
Bobby: We don’t like to force too much. We work at it.
Meka: We enjoy touring around the United States and around the world. We love connecting with beautiful people. When people see us, they see us having fun, they connect with us. We are giving a great message. We are enjoying the fuck out of all the music that is coming out. You are going to love the journey. That is all you can ask for in art; waking people up in a new way. I found the right guys to be the loudest I can be. Wait till you hear the new ideas we have coming.
Bobby: People are just going to melt. (And IMO, they have and will… Just saying…)
Meka: We are just trying to bring something fresh. It is because we love it. It is the catalyst for their journey.
Can you see why I have such high respect for this band? I wanted to thank Meka and Bobby for their time after their show to talk with me. Meka Nism is for sure the band to watch and follow. You ask why? If you have to ask why, you should just walk away. Their music is inspiring, their talent is beyond recognition and you can relate to each band member.
To Reed, Alvin, Jay and Jeremey: I have nothing but the upmost love for you guys!!! Each one of you is a master at what you do and your performance at the Dirty Dog was above #amazeballs! Thanks to the entire band for letting me be a part of this superb voyage.
Check out their Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and whatever else they have out there. You are now prepared for the next time you attend one of their shows. Just a warning: Your face may melt off. #Cheers #TheShift
WEB SITE http://www.meka-nism.com/
Instagram http://unratedmagazine.blogspot.com/search/label/Mika Nism