Many know Me eN You is an up-and-coming Madison-based band with an immeasurable number of members, talent, and inches of hair, but more than that Me eN You is changing the way we define music, community, and language.

Known as “the band that everyone in the universe is in,” Me eN You is mostly recognized for their music such as their debut single “Drama King” or recently released “We Are” – both a compilation of hip-hop beats, live jazz instrumentation, sultry vocals, and honest lyricism

Their most recent appearances include performances at the 2015 Freakfest and on Wisconsin Public Radio’s 30-Minute Music Hour, which the band affectionately called “Hi Mom.” Me eN You also has also held several intimate concerts including one called “Madison eN You,” which included art sharing and painting.

But they are not “just a band,” as stated in a press release announcing the launch of their website earlier this year: “ME eN You are more than a band, we are a social network of artists, creators, lovers, and people. The work that ME eN YOU does is creating an institution of love and acceptance by understanding ourselves through each other.”

As an institution of love and acceptance, the band strives to define and redefine what love means using the mantra “Me eN You is not an artist collective, it’s a collective artist” as a mission statement of sorts. Instead of being a compilation of individual artist, they function as one artistic body that draws upon the artistic contributions of its many artist to create a collective sound. (This philosophy goes to why band members declined to name themselves or even describe how many were in the group.)

In November, “we” sat down with me to tell me about the plan to live out that mantra and bring their universal-wide community of love to fruition:

What is the role of Me eN You the institution?

While we do work in different mediums, really the work that we intend to do is the creation of a space. We create that space by bringing people together through music and art, but the work that we really do is a creation of a space and the maintenance of that space, both physical and mental space. It is a space in which we can exchange worlds with each other and gain a more collective understanding and become more unified. It’s like a collective understanding in which you maintain the ability to keep and know yourself. It’s the individuals that create this collective and the collective is the whole picture and the individual is part of the picture. To see the whole picture, you have to understand the individual and to see the individual. You have to understand the whole picture.

How easily accessible is the space Me eN You is creating and how fluid is that membership?

We’re really trying to push for people to reach out to us. When you talk about how easy it is to be a part of Me eN You in some ways, you already are. We’re really trying to change what it means to be a part of something. What does it mean to perform with us? To be a part of Me eN You is as simple as singing along in your own voice or as simple as joining the band on the website. We have a page where you can sign up and send us work that you want to be incorporated in the greater body of work.

While it is an open space and while it is something people are able to interface with, we’re trying to make sure that what we remain true to is a standard of care for one another. Really we’re open and willing to work with people that are open and willing to operate under the framework of love and acceptance that we’re trying to propagate. It would become difficult otherwise to manage an institutional push for a very specific vision and mission with people who are using this platform for self-promotion.

It’s very difficult to actualize this community, right now what we’re really trying to do is lay the platform for us to explore these things further and for us to grow into more connectivity and more fluidity of access. An example of that is Madison eN You, which is very much a significant step in that direction in that its very much intended to be collaborative experience with members of the audience that really invites anyone who would like to be apart of the process into it. We would not argue that we are a fully open space right now, but we are definitely attempting to create a platform so we can become that.

How do you maintain your individual artist identity while also being a part of this body and how do you discern what work you keep for yourself and what you use for Me eN You?

Intention has a lot to do with it a lot of the time, the intention of the work. There’s an exploration of the self that has to happen and not everyone feels that love and acceptance all the time. And a Me eN You creation doesn’t have to be explicitly about love and acceptance, in a way we’re just presenting what love means to us. On the flip side we can make something that’s about hate to show the importance or necessity of love, for example.

It really connects to our last answer about access. As an artist, Me eN You helps me with my solo work because it allows me to separate the parts of the world that try to cling on to me; it allows me to separate myself from that. So when I create work for

Me eN You, I create work as apart of everyone in the world and when I create work for myself, because of the perspective that Me eN You gives me, I can see what work is my truth and what work is the truth or as close as I can get to an objective truth. Me eN You work gives perspective on solo work.

What’s next for Me eN You?

A lot more artistic releases, we’re working towards making a chapbook, so an expansion of mediums. They’ll definitely be a lot more programming, events, and community work that are sponsored by us.

[In short] More greatness.

Jordan Gaines is the re-creator of THE BLACK VOICE. Jordan’s preferred pronouns are she, her, hers, and n*gga. As a journalist she intends to amplify marginalized voices in mainstream media to Meek Mills like volumes. 

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