Memory Screen - "Minimal Effort, Maximum Thought"
Time is the ultimate luxury. An abundance of time makes for endless possibilities. A lack of time is do or die. For Memory Screen, time is being used to its full potential. The new 4 piece featuring members of Abuse of Power and Slow Fire Pistol is not letting the monster that is Covid-19 slow them down. Their new EP is being released through Jacksonville's Tiger Records, with a single and a music video for an appetizer on the first of the month.
The interview was done in person at Justin's some time after midnight.
Who had the idea for the band? How did each member end up in Memory Screen?
Haylen: Wow... Who had the idea for the band...
Yeah, unless it was a collective thing?
H: I think it was a collective thing. I mean Lucky had been writing these riffs since he was a pre-teen
Lucky: Yeah, I was young.
H: So the music had already existed in a sense, but we had to work on the actual concept of the band. I think we knew that we wanted to keep writing music together so...
L: I think it was more of a thing where we all had a lot of free time. Haylen wanted to start a band and I was writing song after song after song. I really don’t know where it went from there, but I do remember we were sitting in Jug’s (Justin Aledia, singer of the band) room playing guitar on Jug’s new Yamaha amp (Yamaha G100 212 S III) and we were talking about a new band with Jug singing. I didn’t think he was being serious about it at first but turns out he was.
H: Yeah Jug almost jokingly being like, “I’ll sing for the band.” So I was like, “Alright! Put your money where your mouth is! Let’s do it.”
Then Blake, (Blake Hall, drummer of Memory Screen) how did Blake come along. I know you’re all friends...
L: Yeah, I played with Blake in Slowfire (Slow Fire Pistol, screamo band from Atlanta) and worked with him inspecting houses and we were talking about how fun it would be to be in a band together again. So he was an obvious pick just because I saw him every day.
H: We wanted to switch it up a bit.
To me, there’s a DC influence in the sound but was curious where else you all are pulling from for your sound. Lucky has been writing these for a while so I’m curious where your head goes since you’re all into a bunch of different things.
H: I would pass that whole question to Lucky since he’s writing most, if not all, of the music.
L: What’s that first song called?
H & Justin: “In Between”
L: Yeah so I wrote “In Between” when I was really young. Around that time in my life I was interested in starting a band that sounded like Swiz so that’s how that started but it’s a lot different now than how it was back then. We started out with the intention of pulling from the DC sound while not fully emulating it.
Eventually, the songwriting in the band evolved to a free-form thing where we have an idea and run with it. Instead of sitting down and focusing on sounding like a band that we like or trying to pull from a specific band, era, or city and just giving in to our own ideas. That way everything sounds as natural as possible.
That being said, DC as a scene is a big influence on our band. The Cars are huge for me, for this band, and that’s where I pull from a lot, but I know everybody else has their own thing that influences their approach. Where I’m ripping off The Cars and pulling from DC, everyone else is coming from their own direction. That makes it unique and hard to pinpoint.
H: It’s all very organic. When we’re in the space writing we’ll all contribute our own spin on it. Whatever idea that’s brought up might end up different but it naturally changes. We don’t focus too hard on trying to sound a specific way. We do it really fast...
Memory Screen's video for "In Between"
So with that songwriting process, you all are writing them differently. I don’t know if this is the reason exactly but you were in Abuse of Power and the songwriting process for AOP took a really long time but these songs you’re just getting together and cranking them out without dwelling on the ideas.
H: Yeah! That goes with what Lucky was saying if something comes up and it’s not working then we just put it aside and leave it alone. We don’t want to spend too much time racking our brain on a specific part and whatever comes naturally is what we go with.
L: I think the overarching theme for the band is minimal effort, maximum thought. We want to be thoughtful in our approach but we don’t want to expend more energy than we need to write the song. If it doesn’t work it doesn’t work.
J: Yeah there are already songs we've scrapped.
L: There’s always another idea to be had.
Justin, this is the first time singing in a band. What has that process been like? Are you getting help from other members?
J: Lyrical process has been very interesting. I say that because I’ve never done it before. I like taking a simplistic approach to write lyrics by using words that relate to my life or my immediate surroundings. Usually, I’ll sit in my room with a notebook, think of a subject, and try to expand on it. Other times I’ll write at practice. One thing I always ask myself is “What do I enjoy about other people's lyrics?” The answer for me is relatability and catchiness. So that’s mainly what I try to incorporate into these songs, which might make them less poetic because I’m trying to make them repetitive in that way.
Lucky helps with a lot of the lyrics because he’s good at it. On the upcoming record, he wrote the lyrics for “God’s Lonely Man” which is about a movie character I’m assuming everyone will know. Overall the process is interesting. I don’t even know if I like doing it yet.
Covid interrupted Memory Screen from writing and playing as a band. How did you guys keep motivation?
H: Not only did it interrupt us writing songs, but we also had them pretty much done and had a show booked. We were ready to play our first show and Covid ruined that for us.
L: We almost set the first show as a deadline for us to have everything written, recorded, and ready to go. Covid was definitely a blow to our motivation, or at least my motivation at first, but very quickly we shifted to just wanting to get the record done. I think, honestly, it gave us more time to think about the band and what we wanted to achieve with it. We had time to fully think about things we wanted to do as far as building a concept and aesthetic as well as making the record look and sound good. I think it has been a positive thing for us in that way.
H: If you think about a different scenario where Covid never happened we’d probably be playing shows, we’d be booking weekends and doing all that. It did give us more time creatively.
J: I’m glad Covid happened because otherwise, I’d be broke.
H: Yeah Covid did pay us fat (the infamous stimulus checks and unemployment).
L: It paid us fat and helped us with our free time with making songs, a video and being productive creatively.
H: I think it’s been good because not to give anything away, but we have put a lot of thought into what our live show is going to be like. Without this time we wouldn’t have such a solid idea of what we want our live experience to be like. It’s being planned and it’ll be cool.
You all figured out who’s going to do the art and who’s going to put it out…
J: Yeah exactly. That free time allowed me to think about all that.
L: Otherwise we’d just have a band.
J: Yeah we would of just put it out and went on with our lives.
It’s a little more exciting that way! All the effort you guys have the privilege of putting in must feel
L: We definitely went from a fun band to this exciting new vehicle to express ourselves.
Not just a boredom band anymore... It’s a real concept!
L: It ended up being something that felt good and was fun in a way we’d want to continue to do even with Justin and Haylen moving, we will continue to do it.
So for that first show back, what is the dream lineup?
L: Truth Cult!
J: They put out the best LP this year in my opinion.
L: Truth Cult, Dame……Method of Doubt!
H: Okay so Truth Cult, Method of Doubt, Narrow Head, Charade, and Memory Screen headlining our first show.
J: I feel like no one would care.
L: We’re going to blow those bozos out of the water.
Listen to Memory Screen here.