Melody’s Echo Chamber

Interview by Gerlin Heestermans, photos shot by Camille Balenieri in Paris.

Do you ask for something special on your rider, food-wise?

We’re a young band, so we don’t really have the luxury to ask for crazy things. But I really have a passion for dried figs. No one in the band understands why I love them so much. I do, dried figs are amazing.

Do you generally try to eat healthy on tour?

Yeah. When we were touring the US, we would try to go to Whole Foods as much as possible and eat organic food. So we’re really trying to eat healthily. We don’t want to get too fat. It’s not always easy though. When you’re on the road, you’re more than often travelling from one truck stop to the other. So we had to have a lot of sandwiches and hamburgers as well.

Touring through Europe, bands generally tend to get treated very well in terms of food (also in part because of the food culture here I reckon) but I bet the US is very different in that respect. Do promoters ever actually provide you with any food?

That depends. Sometimes they do. But most of the time you have to look after yourself. Grab a bite on the road while you’re driving from one place to the other. But that’s fun. We do our best to get some proper food.

Would you consider yourself a healthy person?

These days I’m really into eating healthily, yeah. I try to eat mostly organic. I feel better when I do. But sometimes I love to eat junk food as well. I’m also into meditation. I got really inspired by David Lynch’s Transcendental Meditation methods recently. I just finished reading one of his books about it and it really opened my eyes. I’m trying to keep my brain and consciousness healthy as well.

Does that mean you’re regularly found meditating on tour?

I haven’t tried it yet but I think it’s certainly possible. I’m definitely planning on giving it a try on the next tour. Just sit down for a while before the show to get relaxed. Do you eat before playing a show or are you too nervous to do that? I never eat before a show because most of the time I’m really nervous, yeah. It’s not a nice feeling to be too full before or during a show either. But after the show I am really hungry.

Who is the healthiest person you know?

That has to be Chris Taylor from Grizzly Bear, who is a friend of mine. He’s really into healthy food and cooking. He does yoga as well.

Hah seems like meditation is the new big thing with artists/musicians!

Guess so! I think it’s really important in order not to go crazy. You have to find ways to keep your creativity flowing and not care too much about what other people think. You need to want it. I think it’s a good way to get rid of stress, anger, anxiety and fear.

This issue is all about gluten-free food. For a lot of people, the term ‘gluten-free’ is associated with the term ‘hipster’. How do you feel about that? And do you eat gluten-free yourself?

‘Hipsters’ – I think that’s a silly word. I don’t really know what it means, actually. Personally I just try to avoid gluten as much as possible because I feel it makes me fat. But I’m not obsessed with eating gluten-free. It’s almost impossible to do on tour anyway. And I definitely don’t consider myself to be a hipster. It’s not a nice word. I’m just really curious about art and I think staying healthy is very important.

I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for your insights, Melody.

Melody’s Echo Chamber plays Botanique, Brussels on 8 March.