There are many subgenres of metal, and one of the things that makes the genre so unique is the variation found within the artform. For Meka Nism, that couldn’t be more true. The band is characterized by a lot of unique features, including Meka, the vocalist who thrives on shamanic studies and incorporating all kinds of unique art into the band’s eclectic sound. CULTURE caught up with two of the members of the band to talk about cannabis, music and creativity.
How did you get started making music?
Meka (vocals): The way that I started writing music was by creating poetry and learning guitar chords, to express the heartache and triumphs I was experiencing as a teenager. I actually started writing and performing mini-concerts on my front porch as a little girl and I’d have all the neighbors sit on the grass and watch. I’ve had the privilege of writing and performing different types of music that I’ve written with some truly talented people from all over the world, including my band Origami Girls in Japan, but I am blown away by the songwriting chemistry that is working for us currently in the band. I’m truly excited by the music we are creating now.
Bobby (Keller, lead guitar): I started making music when I joined Meka Nism back in 2010. I started playing guitar back in 2009, but I wasn’t really making songs per say. All of that changed when I met Meka, and we started making metal.
How would you describe your sound?
Meka: Eclectic, but with a definite powerful, metal edge. I like to use the term ‘shaman metal’ because it’s spiritually transcendent, and of course I’m obsessed with shamanic studies and energy healing.
Bobby: I would have to agree with Meka, in that our sound is a collection of different inspirations. We all pull from so many different musical influences, and try to portray them in the most powerful way possible. Meka’s voice has a range on it unlike anything I think the metal world has heard as of yet, and as the band, we try to support her as best we can to get the point across.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
Meka: Janis Joplin for her insane ability to express emotion in her voice; PJ Harvey, who can write a bad ass song in any genre; Mike Patton; Marilyn Manson and bands like Sleepytime Gorilla Museum for their stage presence and theatrics to go with amazing music.
Bobby: Some of my personal influences are bands like Metallica, Pantera and guitar players like Randy Rhoads. Their music just spoke to me on so many levels and I try to do the same when writing riffs or songs, in that hopefully one day the music we write will inspire someone else.
Do you have anything you want to announce as far as releases or tours?
Meka: Our new EP The War Inside came out on May 10. You can find our music on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Spotify and everywhere else music is found today, as well as on our website, www.meka-nism.com.
How do you feel about your local and national music scenes?
Meka: We have a really special music and arts community in Central Florida. Everyone is super supportive and there are just so many types of events to participate in. When we tour we find these wonderful pockets of community that we feel very connected to.
Bobby: I’d say that the scene here in Orlando is very special for sure. The bands here, regardless of genre, are all super supportive of each other. There really isn’t any type of competition, but rather just support. The amount of talent here is mind-blowing sometimes, and we are just trying to do our best to help put Orlando on the map.
Have you ever worked cannabis into your music as a theme? If so, how?
Meka: Not directly, but we talk about music as medicine and the healing arts, so we are big supporters of alternative methods of medicine. We are very excited for the future of the therapeutic reach that this incredible medicine will have and the power it has to heal on so many levels. I personally know someone who has completely recovered from cancer through the use of CBD oil, and if that’s not something to sing about, I don’t know what is.
How do you feel about legalization so far? Should anything be done better or differently?
Meka: It seems to be going very well, and the momentum is getting stronger. I see more and more products available, which is diversifying people’s understanding of the healing properties of this medicine. I think it’s all about education and creating awareness in positive ways, so that access is available to those who need it.
Bobby: I think it’s great, because cannabis has so many different healing possibilities. I think there has always been a negative stigma attached to it and the people that partake. What’s happening now is revolutionary, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
“In shamanism, different medicines are known for being worth years of therapy in one ceremonial session. I feel that cannabis has such abilities and can really help heal deeper wounds in so many artists and will definitely help inspire extremely amazing creativity.”
How has cannabis influenced your life or your creative process?
Meka: Being a musician, touring and being around creative individuals, I get to witness the incredible inspiration that cannabis can provide in the creative process. It can truly expand our potential to let go of our inhibitions and really connect deeper to the art that is being created. In shamanism, different medicines are known for being worth years of therapy in one ceremonial session. I feel that cannabis has such abilities and can really help heal deeper wounds in so many artists and will definitely help inspire extremely amazing creativity.
Bobby: Cannabis is something that hasn’t really been in my life until the later years, but I agree with Meka in that I think it really does help people create by taking away their inhibitions. People tend to overthink sometimes, and that’s when art begins to suffer somewhat. Also, the healing aspects are just too phenomenal and cannot be ignored.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Meka: Thank you so much to CULTURE Magazine for having us and for everything that you guys do in the promotion and education of cannabis culture. We are excited to support the ongoing revolution!
Bobby: Yes, thank you for having us; it’s been a pleasure. Please make sure to check out our music videos on youtube, and our most recent EP!
Band Name: Meka-Nism
Genre: Hard rock, metal
Location: Orlando, Florida
Most Recent Album: The War Inside