Photo Credit: Elliott Ingham
Written By Kelly Holm
Sometimes, two people need to split apart in order to find their way back together. This cliche often calls to mind images of romantic relationships, but it also applies to the Frampton sisters, founders of the indie rock band Meg & Dia. You may be familiar with their early-2000s albums Something Real and Here, Here and Here, released through Warner Bros. and Doghouse Records. Perhaps, if you’re a loyal devotee of The Voice, you may recall lead vocalist Dia, the younger of the sisters, from the show’s inaugural season. Her viral, ethereal covers of “Heartless” and “Losing My Religion” propelled her to second place in the competition, as the last member of Team Blake standing.
Though the sisters collaborated for Dia’s post-Voice solo record, Red, they ultimately went their own ways following the album’s supporting tour. Dia went on to release a second LP, Bruises in 2017, while Meg teamed up with M&D’s old drummer, Nick Price, in a new band called The Khaki Scouts. Dia also began to pursue acting, graduating from UCB for comedy and improv and taking classes in film and TV.
However, Meg & Dia’s roads could only diverge for so long. In early 2019, the duo announced their reunion for the final Vans Warped Tour and on July 25th, they pulled a Beyonce and dropped an unexpected fifth album, happysad.
“‘Happysad,’ to me, means enjoying the whole spectrum of human emotions without getting lost too far in either the pressure of needing to feel totally happy all the time, or losing yourself in darkness,” Meg said. “During certain chapters, there is a mixture of happiness and sadness, and that balance of both might just be the medicine we need in order to survive.”
Highlighted tracks from the album include “Dear Heart,” “Teenagers” and “Koala.” “Dear Heart,” Meg says, “…is the most natural song for Dia and I to sing together. It just comes out like butter,” she said.
With previous records, the sisters have been very open about the inspirations behind their lyrics, many of them highly influenced by classic literature, but others about the experiences of themselves or friends.
“If something is bothering me in my daily life or relationships, I’ll write about it like a journal entry and then later, sometimes, it turns into a song,” Dia said.
Shortly after Red’s release in 2012, Dia described the story behind each track on her blog and the two continue to tell the tales of how every seed was planted.
“I wrote [‘Koala’] about a very, very special person to me,” Dia said of one of her favorite songs on happysad. “He’s seen me through all my highs and lows, and has definitely picked me up off the floor a handful of times when I’ve been in a puddle of tears… He always called me his koala and told me that I could always come cling to him whenever I’m having my darkest days, and I still do.”
“Teenagers,” meanwhile, is inspired by the “youthful naivete” of playing a show with no rehearsal and no stage fright, as they once did in their early years.
“I wish I still had it!” Meg comments. Dia, however, acknowledged that the jitters are often an important part of growing as an artist.
“Practice being nervous,” she said. “Practice being uncomfortable and try to start getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
Meg & Dia have dabbled in several different genres, from rock to pop to folk. “Sometimes I feel a pressure to stay current, to implement electronic noise and maybe write a few dubstep songs so the kids can take ecstasy… but then I realize that a good song is a good song- now, a hundred years from now, and a hundred years ago,” Meg said.
While good music might be eternal, the Vans Warped Tour was not. After 24 years, the festival’s last hurrah took place in July at California’s Shoreline Amphitheatre. Yet, as a summer tradition was ending, Meg & Dia were beginning again.
“It felt like the perfect way to start our careers back up again,” Meg said. “In a way it felt like we are cycling back up, since Warped Tour was one of the first tours we did when we originally started.”
Other favorite musical memories of theirs include singing at actor Randall Park’s live reading of When Harry Met Sally, performing at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre and playing in front of Circa Survive’s Anthony Green at the recent Disrupt Festival. Based on this, Meg says that, “paradoxically, I already think that I can say ‘I made it’ and at the same time, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say ‘I made it.’” After all, there are so many artists the pair dream of collaborating with and so many cities they have yet to tour. “When you listen to Meg & Dia, I want you to feel like you can do anything,” says Dia.
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