Gen Z pop-punk band Meet Me @ the Altar is the new face of a genre that previously lacked diversity

Meet Me @ the Altar is a pop-punk band with an origin story only Gen Z can claim. In 2015, guitarist Téa Campbell and drummer Ada Juarez met through YouTube after seeing each other’s music covers. The two decided to form a band and found lead singer Edith Johnson by hosting online auditions. 

Fast forward to 2020 and Meet Me @ the Altar is signed to the legendary punk label Fueled By Ramen. The trio infuses easy core, hardcore, pop-punk and R&B to create its unique sound, although they are often compared to their biggest influence, Paramore. 

“We write positive lyrics, which not a lot of pop-punk does,” Campbell told In The Know. 

The band wrote its uplifting track “Garden” pre-pandemic but it was released during the lockdown and the George Floyd protests. Its hopeful lyrics felt kismet for the group. 

“I think we mainly wrote ‘Garden,’ not for ourselves but for other people because a lot of music is negative, self-loathing specifically in pop-punk. So we wanted to change it up a bit and put some positivity out into the world,” Campbell said. 

But uplifting lyrics wasn’t the only thing lacking in the pop-punk scene for a long time. Like most Indie sub-genres, it has been notoriously white-washed and BIPOC haven’t exactly been welcomed

“Being the face of a new era of pop-punk feels really at home for us,” Johnson said. “I feel like this is exactly where we’re supposed to be. In this role as a new sound, but more importantly as women of color.” 

The frontwoman sports long green braids and says she’ll never go back to her natural color again. 

“When people see me, I want them to learn from me that — just like don’t care,” Johnson said. “It might have been the way my parents raised me but I never cared about what anyone had to say about me.”

The band is already seeing how they impact a community that has been starved of representation. 

“Being a Latina in pop-punk is very not common,” Juarez said. “Somebody DM’ed me and they were like, ‘It’s really inspirational for me to see somebody who’s a Latina in pop-punk and just seeing somebody that looks like me.'” 

“You can be from anywhere and play any music you want. And it shouldn’t matter,” Juarez added. 

Meanwhile, Campbell hopes to enlighten others on LGBTQIA+ punks of color. 

“As a gay Black woman, hopefully sharing my experiences will just open people’s eyes and I think that is just the start of making change and we can do that with our music,” Campbell said. 

The band credits Paramore’s lead singer Hayley Williams as the person who inspired them to play music, Meet Me @ the Altar is hoping they can fill those shoes for a new generation. 

“I think that is what will make me determine how successful we are, is how much we’re able to impact people and inspire them to start their own bands,” Johnson said. 

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If you enjoyed reading this article, check out In The Know’s other profiles on up-and-coming Gen Z changemakers here.

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