Get to know New Zealand trio Mermaidens before they descend on Oz this month
They're headed our way with a new album, and new single - Sunstone - to boot.
Header image by Evangeline Davis.
Last month New Zealand trio Mermaidens released their second album, Perfect Body via Flying Nun Records, to pretty much universal acclaim. Packing a sound that traverses a variety of genres (which they go into below), it's an exciting release that is yet another showcase of some of the amazing talent coming out of NZ at the moment. Seriously not a week goes by where we don't discover an exciting new artist from the land of the long cloud. Mermaidens have announced a run of Aus' dates kicking off next week, you can check the full list out in the Q&A below.
Tell us about about yourselves?
Mermaidens is Lily West (bass, vocals), Abe Hollingsworth (drums) and Gussie Larkin (guitar, vocals) - that’s me. We’ve been making noise together for four years now and we’ve just released our second album Perfect Body on Flying Nun Records - which is such a dream! We write songs that are intricate, dissonant and dynamic - sometimes very quiet and sometimes very loud! Lily and I both share the singing and I guess that has been one of our defining characteristics. Abe is the most uniquely groovy drummer I know and he is a big part of the band’s sound. You can never predict what he’s gonna come out with.
What kinda tunes we talkin’?
We’ve been described as so many genres I can’t even keep up! I guess our sound sits somewhere between the realms of post-punk/shoegaze/grunge/psych. Our music always has a sinister quality about it and I think that might be down to the female voice being accompanied by thick layers of guitars and tribal like drums. There’s something haunting about that combination. On our latest album Perfect Body there’s plenty of dissonant riffs in there, off kilter drums, weird time signatures and some pop-infused vocal melodies thrown in too.
Collaboration is the best, so that is a pretty integral part of our songwriting process. We’ve always jammed together and I think that’s the most fun way to write songs - although not always the most productive. Usually Lily and I will bring either a guitar or bass riff to practice and begin from there. Sometimes I’ll have an almost finished song and it’s a case of getting input from the other guys to finish it off. The production process for Perfect Body was pretty sporadic - we squeezed in weekends and weeknights in between our day jobs. I think it was good for us to work in these short bursts to keep it fresh.
Can you tell us about your new single, Sunstone?
Sunstone is made up of three contrasting sections that gradually become more and more brutal as the song progresses. I didn't want the song to have a 'hook' that it returns to - instead I wanted to create an unpredictable journey: full of time signature changes, evolving guitar textures and imposing vocals. It's a not a song you can just put on in the background. We’ve also just released a music video for the song which was created by the band with the help of some of our amazing friends including Ezra Simons who directed our video for ‘Satsuma’. The video is a 1970s tupperware party with rather swinging undertones…
Any shows coming up?
Well we’re coming to see you guys across the ditch for the first time! And we’re bloody excited. I’m just going to take this moment to shamelessly plug my other band, Earth Tongue. We’re playing some Aus' shows too. You can catch us here…
Sat 23 Sep - Pride Tide @ Rad Bar, Wollongong
Sat 23 Sep - Botany View Hotel, Sydney (Free show)
Wed 27 Sep - The Tote, Melbourne
Sat 30 Sep - Lacklustre HQ, Canberra
Sun 1 Oct - The Gasometer, Melbourne
Earth Tongue dates:
Thu 21 Sep - The Curtin, Melbourne
Sun 24 Sep - Frankie’s Pizza, Sydney
Thu 28 Sep - Bar Open, Melbourne
Sun 1 Oct - The Gasometer, Melbourne
What’s the rest of the year have in store?
In October we’re playing a show at the City Gallery in Wellington, which is an art gallery that is near and dear to us. The exhibition that’s on while we’re playing is called Occulture - it features art from Aleister Crowley, The Witch of King’s Cross… quite fitting for us really!
Other than that we’re working on new material. I’m itching to do some more recording.
Where can we hear more of your music?