Mustard and Mister Substitute had the pleasure of speaking with New York’s Megawave. Together we discussed their origin, their upcoming name change, sharing the stage with artists such as I Fight Dragons, and so much more! Check it out below!

1. Hello! Mustard is grateful to have Megawave join them. How is everyone?

Michelle: Everyone is doing well! All of us are going through big changes in our personal lives so there’s both positivity and bittersweetness all around.

Mike DiGiulio (Guitar): A bit busy, but doing good! We just finished a short tour earlier this month and are really stoked with how it went, it definitely invigorated with lots of good energy. Since we got back we’ve had a lot of wedding prep to take care of, since Michelle and I are getting married in October. 

2. Before becoming Megawave, you were Megaweapon. What prompted the name change? Was the name change inspired by Kaiju battles or a tropical vacation?

Michelle: When we changed from Megaweapon to Megawave, there was a significant line up change for the band. From 2017 when Behind Glass Walls came out to 2019 when we released the single Retrograde, 3 members parted ways with the band and Diglo joined officially on guitar after filling in on bass and guitar over a 2 year span.

I wanted to drop the word weapon for a long time because I felt people never understood the nerdy background that it came from. We really felt Mega matched the vibe, and had already been calling our listeners Megababes and couldn’t part with it. We tossed around a lot of Mega __ names until settling on Megawave. Megawave had all the things that represented us- living near the ocean, retro and game feels, waves like audio waves. 

Mike: As we were heading into a different era of the band, with members shifting and our sound drastically changing, we felt Megaweapon didn’t really represent the new direction we were headed. It was often misconstrued as a metal band, and that would frustrate Michelle a lot. The primary songwriters also are different from our old material. I started writing music for the band around 2018/2019 as opposed to just being an occasional live member, bringing in a lot of different influences then the old members, and Michelle and Mike (drums) also embraced a lot of different influences on the material that ended up being Rainbow Heartache. 

3. You are in the midst of another name change and had fans submit their ideas. Do you have any favorite name submissions? Have you decided on a new name?

Michelle: There was one submission we love the most but we can’t say much more than that yet! It is likely our rebrand will be publicly known in the winter. 

4. What is Megawave’s origin story?

Michelle: In summer 2014, Mike (on drums) and I had another band that broke up. Our friend Andrew filmed a music video at the band’s final gig and our friend and producer Nick Starrantino was also at the final gig playing with his band Love, Robot. The way my old band broke up was that the rest of the group wanted to form a new band and ghost me. Mike, Megawave’s drummer, came to tell me that the band wasn’t a band anymore so I started looking to form a ska band and Andrew and I started writing together. 

5. You’ve shared the stage with artists such as I Fight Dragons, MC Lars, and Creed Bratton from the U.S. Office. What was it like sharing a stage with these acts? What is Megawave’s ideal type of show? Is Creed Bratton the Scranton Strangler?

Michelle: Sharing the stage with those mentioned were some of the best times ever! I Fight Dragons is a very influential band for us and they are just really fantastic, funny and talented men. Creed Bratton’s comedic timing is incredible in a live and musical setting. He played his own music as well as music from his band the Grass Roots. So many people came out to meet him and the venue is our hometown base, Amityville Music Hall, so it was so convenient and just amazing. Our ideal show would be performing in front of as many new people as possible and even better if they are into many of the same things we are: music that isn’t committed to a genre or box, storylines and plot lines, civil rights and humanitarian action and the subtle ways stories convey humanity, and having fun. 

Mike: I Fight Dragons are such a phenomenal band, they were a blast to play with. The way they incorporate big pop hooks, incredibly fun songwriting and the way they utilize chiptune melodies in rock music has been a huge influence on our music. My ideal show is one where we can get a good, positive energy from the crowd to feed off of, we get to meet new people, and we share a bill with sick bands that push us to better our craft. In the future I’m hoping we can travel more, we had such a good time playing to both new people and internet friends who have never got to see us before on the Rainbow Roadtrip tour.

It’s also super special when we get to play shows with bands I listen to and look up to. It’s always exciting and validating when an artist whose music you constantly jam out to also loves your music, and you get to form friendships/connections with them as people. A few examples we got to gig with this year were The Best of the Worst, Flying Racoon Suit, Biitchseat, Joystick; all bands that have been in constant rotation for me that were all the sweetest people to meet in real life and share the stage with!

6. Being neurodivergent is something that Megawave is very vocal about both in awareness and advocacy, and “Rainbow Heartache” feels like this anthem for those of us that view and go about this world differently. Was that the goal or did it just end up working out that way?

. Michelle: It was never my goal to specifically represent neurodivergency in my lyrical themes but at the time most of the lyrics were written, I was grappling with a lot of challenges as a disabled person, physically and also due to c-PTSD as a rape survivor. I was struggling in my personal and family relationships and in my finances and a colleague struck a nerve when she brought up adhd as a possible part of why I had been struggling so much.  

As I started to keep track of these things I was struggling with, I was deep diving into AuDHD, I realized that neurotypicals don’t question their neurotype. Even reading back on the lyrics of Retrograde I saw myself telling the struggles I had communicating and fitting in through the song. Many of the songs just naturally started to come out as I began to have the words for why I always felt like I didn’t belong and why I was ready to be the person my inner child needed me to be. 

7. “Rainbow Heartache” has arguably one of my favorite things I’ve ever experienced in an album and that is a meditative interlude. Is meditation a big part of your life? What was it liking coming up with your own guided meditation?

Michelle: Meditation and my spirituality is a part of my life that is super important to me. Having meltdowns and burning out is a painful part of my life; meditation helps me in being able to bounce back and keep going. A piece of being neurodivergent for me is also synesthesia. Meditation helps so much with my overwhelming sensory needs. I listen to a lot of guided meditation and do EFT tapping as part of my mental and physical health. 

A lot of this particular track I wrote the day of based on the lyrics of Saturn Return, which was highly influenced by A Course in Miracles as well as one of my favorite spiritual teachers Gabby Bernstein. 

I loved coming up with the script and would write a whole album of meditations, if I end up making the time to! 

Mike: I’m glad you love it so much, I Will Begin Again is one of my favorite moments on the album! Since Rainbow Heartache was our first time putting together a full length and there was so much going on throughout the course of the record, we felt like it needed a good breather point to make way into the back half of the album. Michelle and I knew a mediation track would fit really well thematically to tie in with Saturn Return, and I loved creating the music to it. A lot of it was me messing around with MIDI pads, synth sounds, and getting creative with my guitar pedalboard to create tons of layers of soundscapes; just stretching the chord progression of Saturn Return into a dreamy, ambient bed for Michelle to place her mediation over. I’m really proud of that one, even before Michelle put her mediation over it in the studio I would constantly listen to the demo of it and get really stoked with the arrangement.  I don’t really meditate, but I have learned a lot about meditation/spirituality from Michelle and my sister who have always been very in tune with it. 

8. As an AtLAB (Avatar) fan, future educator, and advocate for educational reform, I guess I have one question: Did you write “Sozin’s Comet” for me? In all seriousness, what was the inspiration to write a song with such a powerful message?

Michelle: When I was in college I was studying to be an English as a second language teacher. I traveled to El Salvador and did work with a church in the community. In my coursework, I took a course on Latino Studies and learned a lot about Columbus, about the civil war in El Salvador, about indigenous people in the Americas, but especially about hate crimes against immigrants in Suffolk County where I grew up. It was truly terrible to have so much hidden from you in order to be brainwashed that your country and white people are the way it’s supposed to be. 

There’s only so many hate crimes you learn about as a white person in this school system. It feels so much like you grow up being lied to- and I felt like Prince Zuko learns that over the course of ATLAB. The Fire Nation and USA feel so parallel in their course of imperialism and propaganda in the curriculums of what the students learn in school.  

Mike: At the time we were in the thick of writing Rainbow Heartache (2020), Avatar The Last Airbender was just put on Netflix and we got HEAVILY into the show: binging the whole thing, collecting the comics, rewatching it, moving on to Legend of Korra, just nerding the heck out on the Avatar universe. One thing that stood out was how powerful the storytelling was, and how the themes of this vivid fictional world were so prevalent throughout history. Zuko’s character arc of learning the true harm the fire nation has been causing to people’s lives and choosing to take responsibility for the anguish left in their wake was one that felt extremely relevant to the current climate. I demoed the instrumentals before the lyrics were written, and the strong message felt fitting to pair with one of the more intense tracks on the record. 


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