Interrogating the Highly Suspect: A Purple & White Q&A with Highly Suspect Bassist Rich Meyer

by Alex Melnick
Arts & Life

Brooklyn rockers Highly Suspect make music that sounds like everything your parents 10425468_10155304779915437_644937267286419995_nwarned you about. The rock band cites its influences as “all that is good” and its interests as “all that is bad,” and recently came out with the single “Lydia,” which definitely shows these influences and hobbies. Reminiscent of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, these embarrassingly good-looking guys make music that is more like the indie rock boom of the 2000’s than the current EDM craze. I’m a fan.  Highly Suspect, which comprises of Johnny Stevens (guitar & vocals) and  the twin brothers Ryan (drums & vocals and Rich Meyer (bass & vocals), will release their album Mister Asylum sometime this summer.

“Lydia” makes me nostalgic for times when the Libertines were in vogue, and also excited to be alive—fans of The Weeks will really love this single, which shows off how eerily similar lead singer’s Johnny Steven’s voice is to Mississippi-born Cyle Barnes. It’s hard to believe the members came from Cape Cod, the way they rock. I interviewed bassist & vocalist Rich Meyer about carpentry, New Orleans and the benefits of making your guitar sound like A Flock of Seagulls.

The Purple & White: What songs influence you?What are some of your favorite movies?

Rich Meyer: Ummmm…Junip’s “Line Of Fire” is one of the most mesmerizing songs I’ve ever heard. Gorillaz’s “Melancholy Hill” takes me back in time. Queens of the Stone Age’s “If I Had A Tail.”Muse’s “Knights of Cydonia” inspired Johnny and I to write songs that weren’t reggae or beach-y. I remember we were driving to Boston back in like 2009, and we both heard it for the first time. We listened to that song like 100 times that weekend.

I just watched “Interstellar,” great movie! I’m a huge fan of anything with Matthew McConaughey in it. We also watch a lot of series on HBO and Netflix: “Game of Thrones,” “Peaky Blinders,” “True Detective,” “Boardwalk Empire. P&W: What are your hobbies?

RM: I’m a carpenter. I build furniture and apartment lofts. I created a small company when I moved to Brooklyn three years ago and called it “Heartpine Design.

P&W: Awesome! What do you like about where you live?

RM: Bedstuy, Brooklyn, is amazing! Not only is it the most diverse place I’ve ever been to, it’s a 20-minute subway ride to the capitol of the universe, aka New York City.

P&W: Do you enjoy touring or travel?

RM: Traveling is easily one of our favorite things to do, I want to see the whole world before I die.

P&W: Where is your favorite place you’ve been to?

RM: Well, I can’t speak for the other two guys, but so far my favorite place has been New Orleans.

P&W: So what challenged you guys in creating your single “Lost?”
RM: It’s always a challenge to write a song for somebody else’s voice—usually it doesn’t come out the way you’d imagined it. Writing “Lost” was a lesson in open mindedness.

P&W:What was your favorite part about recording it?

RM: Johnny used this really cool pedal that our producer Joel Hamilton showed us, the eventide h-9, it made his guitar sound like A Flock of Seagulls!”

P&W: What has the process of recording your recent work been like?

RM:It was a lot of work, painstaking decision making and sacrifice.I wouldn’t change it for anything though; nothing worthwhile is ever easy.