The first time I met Karl Meischen of The Greening was at a cafe in the Mission, and the first thing I noticed was that he was dressed in a business-casual suit, had hair that stuck up in all directions, and could talk your ear off in a matter of minutes.
But really, I’d never met such a ball of energy that couldn’t be contained. He was also one of the most genuine people I ever met, too, but that was beside the point.
The Greening has a sound that is best described with that energetic vision in mind. A style that is hard to contain on something as small as a stage, a presence that bursts venues at the seams. With the release of their newest single, “All Of A Sudden Tomorrow’s Here,” I had an urge to see what I could parse out about their genre, sensibilities and all that nonsense. The song has a Tame Impala-meets-heavy psych-rock feel. It’s strangely hypnotic, addictively entrancing, and will grab you in it’s groove and not let you go until the last downbeat.
But I realized that wasn’t enough, so instead of just trying to write about the single, I decided to talk to Karl about it instead and see if we could try and keep our tangents to a minimum.
I’m still not sure if we were successful.
The Bay Bridged: Why choose “All Of A Sudden Tomorrow’s Here” as the lead single for your forthcoming album?
Karl Meischen: We only recently decided it should be the single after really playing the song live and seeing how many people enjoyed and liked it. It’s a great showcase for all the instrumentalists, but it’s not a song about shredding. It really shows what we bring individually to the whole of the project. It illustrates a good balance musically on our album, and shows how we work together as a unit. This new song confidently represents our sound and style. It shows our dynamics, the way we change our timing and how we aren’t afraid to try different things.
TBB: What is the inspiration for categorizing your music as “collage rock”?
KM: We have always had an adventurous spirit in any form of music that we approach. At the roots, we come from a power-pop background, with stuff like later-Beatles, Badfinger, Big Star, etc. But we’re also into really powerful rock music that’s strong on the pop hooks. And we also take the dynamics and nuances from art rock, but like to think we have some punk sounding elements that are heavy, too, so it’s all like one giant collage.
TBB: What’s the story behind the name of the single?
KM: The song is about that uncertain feeling, I suppose, of day to day life. We all get so sucked in a rush and focused on our goals. It’s so easy for life to slip away from you, and then all of a sudden tomorrow is here. It’s crazy how disorienting and how easy it can throw you off, and how absolutely necessary it is to step away from the stress and mundane nature of day-to-day activities. But at the same time, stepping away from that can be disorienting.
TBB: What is the motive to making your new LP a self-titled release, especially after a number of releases and years charting the San Francisco scene?
KM: It’s a self-titled release because musically it captures our essence and sound fully-realized. Lyrically, you can say that album is somewhere like happy Goth music, because lyrically it’s all deep and dark. The lyrics are built around existential frustration, where we reached this specifically point of our life. We didn’t feel like we fit where anyone else our age. We’re not settling down, not having kids, not checking off the cliche landmarks, we didn’t do anything of that. It was this feeling of “where the hell do we belong?” The album is about existential frustration and not feeling like you fit anywhere you go, and the second you discover a new landmark in your life, you’re still restless and waiting for the next one. The album is about trying to find that place where you fit.
TBB: Anything else you want to add?
KM: Our goal is to really push rock music to new frontiers. It’s to make you feel like, “hey, I haven’t heard that before,” or to make the familiar feel unfamiliar and the unfamiliar feel familiar. We haven’t gotten to that point yet, but we feel like this new release will really take us there. We’re shooting to be accessible, yet experimental, and really thing the tug of war creates a musical tension. But we’re loving it and using it to our advantage. It’s sort of like advantageous tension or tension with purpose.