The story of Meet Me @ The Altar is an unusual and highly modern one – but it’s a success story all the same.
The trio met online as teenagers, deciding to form a band, despite being located on different sides of the United States. But Meet Me @ The Altar don’t seem to let anything hold them back.
Vocalist Edith Johnson says, “We were so young at the time, we didn’t comprehend that we were in separate states and that this really shouldn’t work. I feel like being young and naïve really helped us realise that it doesn’t matter – we can still do it.
“I wouldn’t call it an obstacle or a problem because we always figured out a way around it,” she says.
“It was just something we had to do,” adds drummer Ada Juarez.
It becomes clear that this is a theme with Meet Me @ The Altar – unrelenting positivity and a can-do attitude. After putting the band together, they then had to figure out how to make music together from across the country.
Ada first met guitarist Téa Campbell after seeing a Twenty-One Pilots cover posted on her YouTube channel. Edith joined not long after, when her cover of All I Wanted by Paramore caught their attention.
“Before our first ever show, I flew to Téa’s house a week before, and every single day, we would just practise,” Ada says. “The first ever show with Edith, they flew in the day before and we practised that day.”
Edith agrees, saying, “Whenever we had a show, we would fly from our states the day before, and we’d practise that one day and play the next day.”
It didn’t take long for the band to start being recognised. In June 2020, Meet Me @ The Altar were chosen as recipients to Halsey’s Black Creator’s Fund, giving them a boost in publicity and a grant to help them fund their endeavours.
“It was very beneficial to us at the time, we really needed it,” says Ada. “We got a chance to talk with [Halsey]. It was a really cool experience.”
“She gave us a lot of really good advice,” adds Edith. “We also found out that she was a pop-punk kid back in the day, so she felt a little bit more connected to us.
“At the time, a lot was happening with us – we were at the forefront of pop-punk. I remember when she posted, just looking at our notifications go so crazy. A lot of eyes were on us because of that, it was super awesome,” she says.
In October of last year, Meet Me @ The Altar became the first ever all-female band to be signed to pop-punk powerhouse label, Fueled By Ramen.
“One thing we didn’t like with a lot of labels is how they didn’t seem genuine,” says Edith. “We ran into Fueled and everything felt right. It’s crazy to think about…When I tried out for Meet Me @ The Altar when I was 14, I sang a Paramore song. One of the first bands I ever got into, Twenty-One Pilots is on the label too.”
Despite their success, the trio have still faced issues in the overwhelmingly white, male, pop-punk scene.
“I’m afraid that people don’t take us seriously,” says Ada. “At the same time, if they don’t, we’ve been going at this for a while. We know what we want, we know the sound that we’re making. We try to be influential to so many people.”
“I remember when we first started doing shows,” Edith says, “We were a lot smaller than we are now. We were an itty-bitty band, playing all these local shows with all these men, and it’s very obvious that they didn’t take us seriously. Whenever we walked into a venue, they’d expect us to be really terrible. They’d expect us not to sound how we sound.”
They continue, sharing example after example of slights against them for existing as women in the scene.
“People always used to walk up to Ada, and they’d be like ‘you’re a girl and you drum better than me,” says Edith. “We’ve been walking into a venue before and the venue workers would say, ‘the doors aren’t open yet.’ We were like, ‘we’re here to load in, we’re the band.
“Honestly, as women in the scene, it’s probably never going to stop happening. There’s always going to be someone that says some kind of sexist comment. Hopefully that will change, but I don’t know,” she says.
Despite this, Meet Me @ The Altar have an unshakable drive to be the best. The trio radiate positivity, and they believe they have the determination and ability to make it. They have hope for both themselves and for the pop-punk scene as a whole.
“I feel like this resurgence that’s happening is only going to get stronger,” says Edith. “When shows come back, no one’s going to miss a show anymore. During this time off, we’ve realised what we had.
“With pop-punk coming up again, being on the radio and being mainstream, I feel like the genre is going to thrive more than ever.”
Ada nods, saying, “I feel like people who haven’t been to shows in the past, that were too scared to go, because they didn’t feel like they belonged – now they’re going to be there. Especially at our shows! I just think it’s beautiful.”
Meet Me @ The Altar have high expectations, but they know that they have the talent and the ambition to achieve those goals.
When asked about the future of the band, Edith says, “I want us to have dominated the world – because we will! Everything on the list, festivals, awards, everything. We want to do everything.”
“I would love to do a world tour,” says Ada. “Every single thing, we’re going to do it all.”
Throughout lockdowns all across the world, Meet Me @ The Altar haven’t stopped working. In March 2021, they released their single Hit Like a Girl, which has already received over 200k listeners on Spotify.
Frontwoman Edith says the band are working on “a lot of new music – very, very soon. That’s all I can say, but it’s the best music we’ve written so far.”
“We’re approaching young adulthood; we’ve signed a record deal – we’re growing up. This work is about growing up and learning, finding out about yourself,” she says.
The band have only just burst onto the scene, but there’s no sign of them stopping that momentum any time soon.
“We’ve been working harder than ever before,” says Ada. “We have a lot on our plate and a lot of eyes on us, but at the end of the day, that’s exactly what we wanted. Now we’re just working towards the next goal.
“I feel like that’s just how we are,” she says. “We’re always looking for what’s next.”