w/Meg & The Magnetosphere

Nick Lotz

I got a chance to speak with the members of Meg & the Magnetosphere before their Rock the Paws concert at Happy Dog (west). The band gave me insight on their musical influences, creative process, and unending pet love in an e-mail interview.

​Your music is folksy, a little alt rock. Who does most of the composition?

Our music has always started with a solo composition from singer/songwriter Meganne Stepka. When we play a new song together we build around the groundwork laid in lyrics, tone and time - intentionally and artistically, each person in the band strives to heighten the experience of any song Meganne presents with their own voice and instrument - working together, inspired by what each song seems to ask to become.

”Mary Ann” is easily my favorite song off the album, with its bittersweet expressions of exuberant melodic joy. What's it about?

The song “Maryann” … is about celebrating the unconditional love we've experienced in our lives … particularly, Meganne's grandmother and inspiration for the song, as it is named after her. Using the metaphor of sunshine, for the spirit of happiness, the sun does not apologize for being; the song radiates the love that was written into it, the lyrics begin ... "Her Steady Hands Reach Out for You to Dance / and Sing a Song about Happiness."

“Same Rain” comes in at a close second. There's certain sadness to your music. Where does that come from?

There is conscious melancholy in some of our music … because we are often reflecting upon that universal concept … of balancing positive and negative. Even when expressing darkness, our songs seek to resolve in a place where there is comfort in the peace of universal experiences. 
“Radio Silence for Dreams” is a tad more psychedelic. It's also the hook to the album. Any reason you've chosen this song?
We feel this track exemplifies the diverse range and influences of each member of the band. The echoes of everything from 60s psych to 90s alternative, folk and current pop can be heard in each member's unique contribution. “Radio Silence for Dreams” was chosen as the title track; to break through the conflicting frequencies and explore the greater message … using intention to reach our audience with a feeling of hope - in our shared dreams … and the connections we find … within the human experience. 

The benefit show on Saturday is for rescue animals. Any personal reasons you've chosen this cause to support?
Everyone in the band is an animal lover! Both of Dave and Lisa's dogs are rescues. Sadly, this past winter Meganne's dog Coco (Aka "gal-pal" Coco-Clara) passed away. To help the grieving process, Meganne decided to help put together a benefit. PAWS-Ohio rescue society was chosen because they are a non-kill shelter society, which focuses on fostering and adoption. 

Favorite kind of pet?

Meg: Pomeranian!!!
Dave: Pit Bull
Lisa: Beagle 
Chris: Cat. 

Favorite brand of dog food?

Organic products and foods that contain less artificial ingredients; the Rachel Ray brand comes to mind. 

Will any of you guys be bringing home a new pet on Saturday?

No - We have enough pets collectively as a band at this time, but we hope to inspire awareness about the excellent work PAWS-Ohio does … and being active beyond Ohio … including rescuing pets from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. We want to raise awareness that anyone can foster pets; and organizations like PAWS pay for the care (vets/food/etc.). If any musician signs up to foster, or has a friend who could be directed to work with the rescue society in anyway … we want to make sure we bring attention to the ways in which meaningful work can be done … and good people can be connected. There are so many amazing musicians supporting this event … and the people from PAWS-Ohio have been fantastic!

Meg & the Magnetosphere @ Happy Dog 7/22

​There is an older lady doing spoken word poetry. She says, “Please don't follow your resolutions. Please...fuck your resolutions.”
The band is setting up. Dave Snider, the lead guitarist and guy I know from Common Grounds coffee shop, is on stage so I can't speak with him at the moment. Earlier we had met outside. He had been strumming his guitar as though he was a street musician (he isn't. Or maybe he is. Who knows?)

I think they're going on now. It's a different crowd than I'm used to . . . people sitting, standing, and casually talking. A lot more relaxed.
Meg is saying there is a silver Volvo outside with its lights on. Then she launches into a blurb on the PAWS cause ... cause for Paws ... whatever you might call it. She had apparently found a cat outside earlier. I approached her and Dave while they were hanging out with one of my professors from Cleveland State. Dave and I had a lengthy discussion on Trump era politics: namely how we're both in agreement that the only thing trickling down is shit (and it will continue to be so).

There's one thing at the Happy Dog tonight that will trickle into the audience beautifully. It smells good. It sounds good. And it isn't their delightful selection of hot dogs and accouterments. It's Meg & The Magnetosphere.
Who: Meg & The Magnetosphere
What: Rock the PAWS benefit
Where: Happy Dog on Detroit
When: July 22nd 2017
Why: Because puppies!
How: Borrowed my mom's white Volvo to drive up here because Mini Cooper went to large auto shop in the country where cars go to roll around and play with other cars that are too old to drive. Note: no relation to Volvo that was outside with its lights on earlier.
After the sound check, Meg is saying that there's a jar for donations to the PAWS cause. They're doing a raffle for some kind of pet ornaments or something. During my time outside earlier, Meg had been working on the set list. I asked her for a copy. She said we're making it right now.
They start off with a slow jam, some sort of bluesy twang with guitars and a hard pounding bass drum.
'Help / me / to understand humans'
A fitting lyric for this kind of event, and they certainly have more energy than the bands that came before them. Meg has one of those sharp, melodic voices that penetrate the crowd with its gentle power.
'Change what you can / change what you can'
A guitar solo rings out. Killing it, Chris.
'We start to / break through / we start to /break through'
It picks up. Powerful, fun, and soulful: the music lends itself to a gentle and nice atmosphere. Much like the band's personalities. The band is sweet, and the music is sweet as well, and I don't mean like Eric Cartman, ‘shweeeet,’ I mean like ‘sweetheart’ sweet, as in you can tell they have soul and put a lot of it in their music.

”Same Rain” is being played now. It is quite beautiful, even more so live than it is on the album. Meg's voice and the backup singer's mesh nicely.
As the band ends with, “Mary Ann,” I stand outside, smoking a cigarette, content: a little tipsy, a little anxious, but overall feeling the warmth of those around me and the warmth inside myself as well.

For more information on PAWS check out their website.