ESSENGER DOWN, how long have you been together and who makes up the band currently?
My name is GARRETT FOSTER and I released my first song as MESSENGER DOWN in 2012. I have a few friends who come help out when I play shows, but I'm a solo artist so there's not really members of MESSENGER DOWN. It's my stage name.
If I'm not mistaken, you have been through quite a few line up changes, in what ways do you feel as though you have adapted to survive through them rather than fall apart?
It's partially true and partially not, MD's had a weird history. In the beginning I wanted to do MESSENGER DOWN as a solo artist in part to avoid the drama and distraction of member changes. These days it's a rare thing to find a band who hasn't had a member change or two, and when you're on a smaller local scale that can seriously get in the way of building up momentum and progressing. I have always loved writing music on my own, so after being in a few bands I decided this time I was just gonna do this on my own. After about a year and a half there were a few guys who had been playing shows consistently and really dug the music I was writing so we decided to try it as a band, but that eventually became the revolving door of member changes we all wanted to avoid in the first place. We were burnt out and that lead to a lot of tension among us so it was just best for us all to go off and do our own things. As of 2015 MESSENGER DOWN has just been me again, and those dudes all have their own things going on now that I'm super supportive of and into.
How many albums or eps do you currently have released? Where can readers find them to buy/listen to them?
I've got three EP's out, and they can be found just about anywhere! SPOTIFY, ITUNES, BANDCAMP, SOUNDCLOUD, AMAZON MUSIC... the list goes on haha
What as musicians are your biggest influences whether it be other music or general experiences?
I'm influenced by everything around me from movies and pop culture to the music I listen to, and a lot of it varies between different songs or releases, but a few pretty consistent ones are PANIC! AT THE DISCO, THE 1975, THE WEEKND, BLACKBEAR, and anything that came from or sounds like it came from the 80's.
There's not really anyone else doing it the way I am here. There's a few solid pop, hip hop, and r&b artists in Charlotte but most of them don't incorporate much live instrumentation. There's a ton of guitar bands playing everything from metal to soft indie rock, which early MD music would fall into the category of, but so few of them even so much as touch on electronic music or break out of the standard guitar/bass/drums/vocals formula. What I do has a heavy dose of both, it's electronic pop/r&b music full of live, rock instrumentation, and at least here in Charlotte there's nobody else doing it like I am.
Some people believe that the scene is struggling, others say that it is booming; what is your place in all of this?
This city's scene is absolutely struggling. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of talent here, and there are a few bands or artists that have found their perfect niche in Charlotte and are doing fine, but outside of those few exceptions the rest of the scene is definitely in a rough patch and I blame a lot of it on a lack of places that put on all-ages shows. Without a place for high school kids to play and come see their friends play it makes it that much harder for young, enthusiastic kids to get involved and keep the scene alive. There's only so much the existing scene can do to keep itself afloat without new people finding their way in, and teenagers are a huge driving force in pop culture and music. Without a place for those kids to experience local music, Charlotte is being choked out from the ground up. I could go on about it forever, but that's absolutely the biggest threat to the Charlotte scene. Give high school kids a place to play and a reason to get together in their garage and start a band and I promise the scene will turn around in no time.
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Are you currently working on any projects for 2018? If so, when can we expect them to drop?
I've been recording new music for about a year now without any sort of definite plan as to what I'm going to do with the songs. I'm always writing and coming up with new ideas and of the 40 or 50 songs up my sleeves I've got about 10 or 15 finished that I'm ready to release. At this point I'm just trying to figure out a game plan as to exactly what, how, and when I'm going to put something out.
What comes next for MESSENGER DOWN?
Hopefully figuring out what I'm gonna do with all of this new music, haha.
Do you have any local bands or people behind the curtains that you would like to give a shout out to?
Plenty, haha. Shout out to my favorite Carolina musicians in YUGO, CUZCO, NEVER I, DEION REVERIE, LOWBORN, EYES EAT SUNS, and THE SECOND AFTER. Shout out to DIRT MAN, STEVIEDOESLIFE, and MUZ, some of my best friends since middle school still kickin' it. Shout out to ROB ENDLING for helping bring these new songs to life, as well as a shout out to his band SIXLIGHT for everything those dudes have up their sleeves for 2018. Shout outs to everyone at SOUNDLINK MAGAZINE and SHUTTER SIXTEEN for doing what they do and helping to put the southeast on the map. Shout outs to my favorite photographers and videographers BRIANNA STACY, WHITNEY NEWELL, COREY WILLIAMS/SHOT BY YAMS, ASHLEY READY, and SCARYKIND for helping make the Carolinas look so damn fine. Too many venues to shout out, people in booking, press, and everything in between so before I go on too much longer and start forgetting people I'll just leave it at that haha.
To conclude the interview, I would like to give you a platform to discuss anything that you would like.....
I've pretty much covered everything I can think of, thanks!
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