On December 8, 2023, the Bristol-based duo Meadowlark bid an emotional farewell, concluding a decade-long musical journey.
As if seamlessly tailored for the moment, the opening performance of Goodbye set the tone for an evening featuring classics like Headlights, Lightning, Paraffin, Eyes Wide, and Postcards, alongside tracks from their 3rd and final album, Hiraeth. The audience was captivated by the harmonious energy of Dan and Kate throughout the performance, but emotions peaked during the final song, Fly, as Dan invited the crowd to join in a collective crescendo. Attendees added a personal touch by holding up paper messages declaring “I love you” toward the stage.
In the ambient church setting, emotions resonated, creating a sentiment-filled atmosphere. Meadowlark’s farewell wasn’t just a performance; it was a wonderfully orchestrated goodbye, leaving a lasting mark on the memories of all present.
Prior to the venue’s doors opening, I had the privilege of witnessing the band’s sound check— an experience that stirred a wave of emotions, as I awaited my conversation with Kate and Dan to delve into all things Meadowlark…
Let’s start off by discussing how your penultimate show in Bristol went the other night?
Kate: “Bristol was beautifully overwhelming, every sense that I have was overloaded but we’ve been so out of the game of performing live for 4 and a half years and whilst there were moments in the set where we found our groove, a lot it was like woah, like a fish out of water for me but all of our friends were there and every one was so, so supportive and so happy to be there. It was more like a gathering and party vibe.”
Dan: “I think there was the risk of it being quite mopey and sad because it was the penultimate show but I think everyone sensed that we were happy about that so there was a really good feeling. It felt like the right way to send Meadowlark off, which is exactly what we wanted.”
Kate: “It was full of both laughter and tears, it was a whole journey but that’s kind of what you want for a last gig.”
Tonight is your last ever show, what made you decide to put this chapter in life to bed?
Kate: “This band’s gone through so many ups and downs, personally and musically and every step along the way it’s not really gone how we thought it might or would have liked. It’s been amazing, from start to finish, but it’s just a wild journey trying to make it in the music industry nowaday. It’s brutal, but also that stuff aside, we’ve been doing it now for 10 years. We’ve gone through a pop era and a folk era and then an electro era and I feel like we’ve seen and validated every part of ourselves now. We could have quite easily fizzled away after the second album but we just had more life in us. We did Hiraeth and it just felt very much like this is us fully formed now. It is sad though but it would suck if A) we weren’t friends or B) one of us wanted to carry on when the other didn’t, but we’re so lucky that not only are we still going to be friends but we feel the same way about it”
Dan: “And I think there’s still opportunities for us to do music together in other capacities. Us closing Meadowlark is not us saying there’ll never be a point where we may or may not pick it back up but it’s just like the closing of a chapter and it’s important for us to close that chapter so we can both continue building other things in our lives.”
Over the past decade you’ve released 3 albums alongside multiple EPs, do you have a particular song that you’ve written that stands out as a favourite and if so, why?
Dan: “That’s really hard because I’ve got so many for different reasons. I think for me it’s Eyes Wide, just because of the joy of writing it. We were very naive at that point and it went through iterations but the song was always amazing. It went through so many versions and usually that would make you hate a song but we still ended up with something we loved!”
Kate: “I find that really hard. I’m going to settle on Postcards though just because of the way we wrote it and how it’s popped up in personal moments throughout my life. There’s just a lot of beautiful weight that the song holds.”
Dan: “I agree with you. That’s probably my second favourite!”
Do you have any milestone moments of achievements?
Kate: “One of my favourites was when we headlined Harbourside festival in Bristol because we had no idea what to expect. We’d never headlined on a festival stage before and there were just loads of people and it was sunny. Also Glastonbury, that was a great milestone too.”
Dan: “I would agree with you. It’s weird because we’ve played a lot of big gigs supporting people or having the opportunity to play festivals but those never really feel like the most amazing moments. They’re often riddled with anxiety and expectation. Sometimes it’s the small moments, so we’ll play a big gig and it’s really great, but it’s the car journey home when we’re buzzed from all that energy and adrenaline and we’re in the car singing songs. You feel like you can take on the world.”
Kate: “Also now, I think a milestone is reaching 10 years as a band. I just think it’s really cool that we’ve done that.”
It’s clear to see you’re both really close friends, how did you meet?
Kate: “Back in the Myspace days Dan was a full on scene kid with full sweepy hair and I remember knowing of him and I think I privately messaged him because I had uploaded a cover by The Killers and I sent it Dan. I don’t know why (laughs)”
Dan: “I guess you knew I liked that kind of music.”
Kate: “Yes I was probably just like validate me. (laughs) Then we actually properly met when he did the video for my song, Cursed back in the day and we met through there and then we kept in touch.”
Dan: “We had one jam together and classic Kate she was like “Right! Let’s get a name. I’ll start emailing managers tomorrow.” (laughs) and then the rest was history.”
Kate: “For sure! I’m always going to be releasing music on the side. I refuse to give up music. I refuse, I can’t do anything else so I will be powering on.”
Dan: “I’ve been juggling the whole film-making and music thing all the way through Meadowlark and I remember a long time ago someone asked me if I had to choose one, what would I pick and I could never make a choice. Then in the last couple of years, it’s been a lot easier for me to make the choice. Film is where my professional heart is and music is my love and I think I struggled with professional music because when it becomes a business, it’s a different thing. I’ll always play music and I’m happy for it to be what I go to when I want to escape and find joy.”
Meadowlark 2013 – 2023.
Words by Emily Leonard