Next Wave #947: Meggie Brown

Next Wave #947: Meggie Brown

In Association With Vero True Social

“It’s a party and everyone’s invited” is how Meggie Cousland describes her eclectic seven-piece band.

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We speak to the Meggie Brown singer in the bustling North London warehouse where she lives, rehearses and records music. Greg, the band’s guitarist lives two doors down with the rest of the band commuting here for rehearsals every week.

It’s a Sunday and Meggie seems a little dazed. Despite being featured in The Guardian’s 50 Artists to Watch in 2020, the singer is hesitant to jinx anything. “It’s such early days” she keeps saying. Her goals are modest: to keep the band together and get back in the van again.

The band’s latest single ‘Boys Boys Boys’ is a raucous singalong but beneath the infectious riff, comes a sad memo. The track unpacks masculinity as well as examining Cousland’s relationship with her own queerness growing up. The singer says that “masculinity doesn’t only belong to men. I never really fitted into the tiny queer circles back in Nottingham as a teenager so often found myself surrounded by straight people and culture.”

“It can lead you down the path of heartache,” she continues, “because you end up falling in love with straight people and not being fully part of the gang.” The lively music video sees Cousland sing against a familiar background of all male sports teams and sweaty changing rooms.

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Known for their manic, energetic live performances, Meggie Brown know how to work a crowd. Cousland runs on the spot as she sings while the band play their instruments and hectically dance around the stage. So far, they have two guitars, a bass, a keyboard, a sax, dancers and percussionists but Cousland soon hopes to find a cellist to join her ever-evolving family of misfits.

The band invented their performance style in a secluded mansion attic in Southgate, playing for attendees of the wild house parties that they put on there. Eventually, the band were evicted from the mansion after a particularly shambolic house party-cum-live show during which the band played to the 400 guests.

“Sing along songs are so, so important to me,” Cousland says, noting that audience participation is an integral ingredient to their live shows. “Everybody likes to sing along really. Having a little bit of escapism for five minutes is what I'm aiming for. “I've always been quite an anxious person,” the singer continues.

“I went through a phase where I had to stop listening to sad music, not because I didn't love it but because I was having such physical reactions to it. All my songs are sad stories but turning sadness into woooo singalong songs has helped me.”

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In the past, Meggie has used ketamine to help her to write, and the association has proven hard to shake. But she’s incredibly wary about glamorising anything, mentioning that she’s allergic to alcohol and usually performs sober. “Ketamine gave me less inhibitions. It’s a little bit disassociative so the tension goes,” is all she will say.

At the moment, Meggie Brown are playing any shows they get invited to play at venues scattered across London as well as working on an EP. There doesn’t seem to be any rush to do or be anything in particular, with Cousland describing their sound as “developing and changing.” It’s such early days, after all.

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Words: Sophie Wilson
Photography: Heather Glazzard

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