Memes – Someone by your side to sing along
Between studying towards a degree in Somatic Psychology, having a job, being a mother, performing live, and starting a new non-profit program Living Arts Music Bellingham (L.A.M.B.), Tina North is a very busy lady. After only a few short minutes of interview, it is plain to see that community involvement is at her core. She speaks very passionately about her music and L.A.M.B., the organization that aims to support parents who are trying to make a living as artists, by providing studio spaces, child care and other much needed functions. Spreading her passion and inspired ideas within the community is a central goal for Tina, isn’t that also the function of a meme?
The idea for the band Memes came to Tina while living in Seattle. Having regularly attended poetry readings, often times performing, she decided it was time to put her thoughts into action and add music to her lyrics. Strolls along city streets helped provide lyrical inspiration and served to focus her work into something tangible. Enlisting the guitar talents of significant other Jordan Rain provided the musical base and thus, Memes was ready to hit the stage. “I used to have a lot of stage anxiety, but I forced myself to perform in front of people and now it is getting a bit better.”
Today, the live show of Memes is an ever-revolving door of musicians in which the only constant is Tina. You are just as likely to see Tina alone with her guitar as you are to see a full band. Other players sit in and add new life to these songs by creating improv pieces that bring much more than simply the sum of the parts. “Though there is a lot of room in the songs for other musicians, that doesn’t mean we are a jam band,” Tina said. Having worked on some of the tunes since the mid 90s, the songs are both well established and welcoming of new ideas.
The actual sound of Memes is heavily drawn on a mix of folk and classical music with dark undertones. Heavily reverb-leaden vocals belt haunting lyrics that are deeply grounded in the physical world. Strong images of the natural world are woven to tales of human life which speaks to our impact on the space in which we live. The classical guitar riffs made to sing by Jordan Rain adds a dance element, almost a dark sway, reminiscent of days long past. The combined effect is similar to that of a bard reciting stories around a campfire guiding the listener through dreams. Tina joked that “Jordan knows I love the Middle Ages, so the songs ended up having a weird Medieval-ish feel.” These are the types of melodies that, while you may not yet know the lyrics, you will find yourself humming along by the end of the song.
As for the near future of Memes, Tina plans to hit the studio with her arsenal of material (roughly 20 songs) to produce a professional LP. Having recorded the last set of tracks in her living room, she looks forward to what a studio setting will bring to her music. Tina plans on eventually putting together a tour post record release and share her songs with the region. She will continue to perform locally, sharing her brand of honest, heartfelt music that is in her words “as in line with who I am as it possibly can be.”
Catch Memes at the Redlight on June 30. Visit myspace.com/northrainmemes for more information.