The music industry is a precarious place for modern day artists, where there is a mainstream approach to chord progressions, lyrics, music videos, and so much more. But Adrian + Meredith take the path less traveled with their new single “Bad for Business,” the teaser and title track for their full length album of the same name.
Adrian and Meredith Krygowski met in Washington D.C. in 2012 at a music community called Modern Times, where they were able to bond over their mutual love and passion for all things music. Five years after their first Modern Times Open Mic encounter, they put out their first record. The couple now calls Nashville home, where they are surrounded by like-minded and passionate musicians.
The two were both avid musicians long before they met in our nation’s capital. Adrian was born on the Canadian/Detroit border, while Meredith grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and their unique musical upbringings forged together into their current duo produces an eclectic mix of Americana, Folk, and Baltic-style playing.
Now in 2021, Adrian + Meredith are no strangers to the recording process, as Bad for Business is their sophomore record following their 2016 debut LP More Than a Little. However, instead of taking their talents to a conventional studio, Adrian + Meredith recorded Bad for Business in the privacy of their own home, along with a slew of other talented musicians and friends.
“Bad for Business” hit streaming services on June 25th, and gave us an exciting glimpse into the overall sound of the rest of the upcoming album. The track straddles grittiness and aggression as well as intimacy and warmth, which creates an inviting and intriguing atmosphere for listeners. They describe Bad For Business as a “raucous, rebellious and home-spun variety show,” so fans should definitely be excited for what this fiery duo has in store.
We got the chance to chat with them about the upcoming record, their roots, and much more.
What brought you two together to form Adrian + Meredith, and how did you make the step from just enjoying making music together to officially start recording and touring?
We met at an open mic back in 2012 in Washington, DC. Adrian was living out there, though already had plans to move to Nashville, and Meredith was there on a summer internship after graduating from college. Adrian was already touring full time as a solo artist. We started dating and embarked on a 2 year long distance relationship between Nashville and Michigan.
In 2015, Meredith decided to take the jump into touring full time together as a duo, quit her job and we headed out on a month long tour on the west coast before moving to Nashville together. Our first record, More Than A Little, was recorded later that year and released in 2016. The decision to start a band together wasn’t light. We really wanted to protect the relationship, and have always put our marriage first. Musically it took a bit for both of us to feel comfortable, as we came from different backgrounds. In the end though that merging of styles is what makes the music so hard to define in any one genre, we enjoy challenging and learning from each other musically.
Take us through a day in the life of Adrian + Meredith. How do you balance music and personal life?
Balance is a daily journey, and life, work, music, family life all goes in seasons. That balance is completely different if we’re on the road or off it, renovating our house, in the studio etc, and we try to remain adaptable. We like the idea of being a working musician, and setting aside specific time for work and personal life. We try to have regular rehearsals and sometimes regular writing timeblocks. We use batching as a way to organize our lives, with all that goes on for any 30 year olds.
When you’re an independent artist, there is a never ending amount of work, or potential work, there is always more you could be doing and a whole list of ‘shoulds’ that folks will advise you (solicited or not). But burnout isn’t cool or a badge of honor, so in the end, we try to keep our focus on sustainability over time, balancing work with play, and finding joy in what we do to balance it all out.
Recording a new album is an exciting yet challenging adventure for any artist. How would you describe your experience recording in the privacy of your own home?
We had a lot of fun recording this record. The rhythm section was recorded at the home studio of Aaron Schafer-Haiss and Michaela Ann – The Yacht Shop. But when it came time for everything else, we wanted to have some fun without the pressure of studio time. Recording in our own home was amazing; it’s the place where we play all the time and rehearse and practice, we’re used to the sound there. The creative risk and edge of this record is because of how comfortable we felt when we were recording. It really feels like it was a snapshot of our musical life. We’re fortunate to call everyone that played on this record, a good friend. Everyone has already been to the house for dinners and such before, and without the stress of the clock ticking, we had the privilege of not sacrificing the art or performance.
A common theme of Bad for Business seems to be a grittiness and aggression, as well as a certain intimacy and warmth. How did you balance these two sentiments throughout the record?
So much of the writing on this record came from us deeply processing what it means to be American, especially after spending a lot of time touring in Europe. The grit, frustration, feeling of unrest, it’s definitely a part of it all, we’re all fighting to have our voices and needs be heard as Americans right now. Despite the tension in the United States right now though, this is our home, something we felt deeply when traveling. This is where our family, friends, and community exist. We take care of each other and we love our country. We wanted to shine light on the issues but also show some paths back to a healthy balance. And show how much good can come from a new generation.
How would you describe your creative process when writing new songs for the album?
We were fortunate enough to have pretty strong opinions on how we see ourselves, after a 180-show and 7-country tour in 2019. That experience can give you the perspective you need to write and present those complete thoughts. Musically, we already felt at-home with the sound we were creating of swing and polka inspired American music. Sometimes we’d come up with a musical line, and it’d instantly inspire specific thoughts and topics.
Did you experience any setbacks while recording? If so, how did you overcome them?
There are always setbacks. It’s been a minute since we recorded, but from what we can remember any setbacks were temporary. In the end, the setbacks are just part of the process and once the record is done it is you don’t think about them anymore. Creating art has to forward thinking, otherwise you would lose your mind and never release anything at all.
The “Bad for Business” music video is definitely more out-of-the-box and creative than many mainstream music videos. What was the process you took to go from idea to on-screen visuals?
The title track is such a poignant song with strong imagery, that it was always going to be a fun expression to do a video for. Our hand-drawn aesthetic started from the previous record and continued to this record as well, so we took the same approach with the video. Our friends at Hearth Music in Seattle have a long background with Crankie boxes, so we were already interested one day in creating one. It was a good match for using the skill.
You have several tour dates coming up in July and August. What does a dream gig look like for you?
We’ve already been fortunate enough to play a lot of shows we’d consider dream gigs. European tours; tours opening for several mentors; opportunities at big festivals; and returners/headliners at those festivals. We want to see it come back from the past year, and we’re rooting for all of the industry to work together again. A dream gig for us is anytime we connect with an audience, meet new people, hear new stories.
What path do you see Adrian + Meredith taking in the next five years? What are some of your goals?
We have always said that our number one goal is to keep playing music, we’re going for the lifetime achievement award here. Life changes, the industry changes, the world obviously changes (ehhemm global pandemic) but we will adapt, we alway do. Five years? Who knows. After the last 18 months we’ve concerned ourselves less with plans on a time frame and are focused more on observing life as an opportunity by opportunity level. One thing we know for sure is that we will still be making music on an international scale.
What advice might you share with the younger generation of aspiring musicians? Are there any valuable lessons you’ve learned?
Be kind. Be generous. Everyone’s here for the same reason, even if they forgot. Be gracious and persistent. Focus on the art, and the industry will find you. Everyone gets an opportunity sooner or later, and it’s your job not to mess it up! Everyone can give you advice, but only you can create YOUR authentic art. Just keep finding joy in it, and keep going, the world is better because you are creating in it.