Introducing New Zealand's Mermaidens, who share a new single, I Might Disappear
The rising Wellington trio will showcase at BIGSOUND this September, bringing their post-punk sound across the Tasman.
Header photo by Steve Acres.
There's a plethora of musical talent across the Tasman which seems to grow almost every week, covering every side of the genre wheel from high-octane hip-hop and boundary-pushing electronica to accessible pop and blistering rock. Among the latter category come Wellington-based trio Mermaidens, who since the release of their debut EP O back in 2014, have seemingly grown into one of the country's most versatile and exciting acts in rock music, growing and diversifying in sound as their two albums thus far - 2016's Undergrowth and 2017's Perfect Body - put them on the map for New Zealand rock.
After returning with two new tracks earlier this year, You Maintain The Stain and Cut It Open, earlier this month saw them continue to dominate with another tease of new material in the form of I Might Disappear, which arrives through Christchurch rock label and NZ cult-favourite Flying Nun Records. Arriving as the first taste of their forthcoming third album, I Might Disappear sees Mermaidens shake up their sound for something more dreamy and shoegaze-aligned, with washed-out layers of guitar and percussive rhythms keeping a steady pace underneath the two co-lead vocalists Gussie Larkin (guitar) and Lily West (bass) disguise lyrics on vulnerability and anxiousness underneath happy-go-lucky melodies in a similar fashion to Stella Donnelly, for example. "Being close to someone can bring you to share all the weird thoughts and anxieties that wouldn’t usually leave the inside of your mind," Gussie says on the song, which at one point, features a choir of female singers including her own mother. "I Might Disappear is a song about the mess of feelings I have when I make myself vulnerable to another person, and the dread that this will push them away."
Their incoming third album, first teased by I Might Disappear, is out September 6th via Flying Nun Records, arriving in the midst of a performance at BIGSOUND Festival as they take that dreaded leap across to find Australian fame - something that doesn't seem all too impossible with the strengths of their latest track. Check it out below, and while you wait for more, introduce yourself to the trio-to-watch:
Tell us about yourself?
We’re three old friends from Wellington, New Zealand, who started a band in 2012. Our longevity is well rooted in a mutual drive to create, experiment and hang out together. Since forming we’ve toured a bunch; in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and Europe. We’ve released two albums, Undergrowth, Perfect Body and are so perched to release our third, Look Me in the Eye in September this year.
What’s the vibe music-wise?
We like to play around with genre, and really struggle to define ourselves. We like making guitars and bass scream out riffs, but then make it pop. Let’s say we’re post-punk meets dream-pop and neo-psychedelia. Our influences vary, and since forever have loved PJ Harvey, Warpaint, Fugazi and St Vincent. Lyrically, we have always explored themes of human relationships, especially so in our latest songs. We love juxtaposition and strive to contrast the dreamy and gentle with hard and jagged.
What are your production and writing processes like?
We’re both always writing riffs, melodies and lyrics in our own time, so writing often begins with a riff, vocal line or a skeleton of a song on guitar or bass. From there, we jam at our practice space and develop structure, dynamics and work it till it’s done.
We’re being braver with our production and went into recording with a lot of ideas. Working with sound engineer superstar James Goldsmith, and having some extra studio time, it ended up being a freaky guitar tone wonderland. It feels like our ability has finally caught up with our ideas. The upcoming album sounds like something we’ve been reaching for since we started, but it took all that playing and growing to put those ideas into sounds.
One of the funnest parts of production was working with our girl gang choir. We were lucky to have a group of amazing women (including Gussie’s mum!) sing together on a section in I Might Disappear. So much of the album is about female voices and our observations of other women, so it felt right to have these people in the studio with us.
Can you tell us about your new single, I Might Disappear?
I Might Disappear was so much fun to record. We pushed the guitar tone further and further into twisted new places, sounds that made us squirm a little bit but in a good way. Gussie also worked some synth riffage into this song - which is a first for us!
Whilst super playful and energetic, the themes are more delicate - it’s about the vulnerability that comes with intimate relationships. Being close to someone can bring you to share all the weird thoughts and anxieties that wouldn’t usually leave the inside of your mind; the song is about the fear that this exposure could push them away.
Any tour dates coming up?
Heck yes we do. At the start of September we’ll be playing at BIGSOUND, with sideshows in Brisbane, Melbourne and more to be announced! From Aus we’re flying across the world to tour Europe again. Here are the latest dates.
30th Aug The Others Way, Auckland, NZ
3-6th Sept BIGSOUND, Brisbane, AUS
7th Sept, Globe Alley, Melbourne, AUS
12 Sept Thursday Mokka Thun CH
14 Sept Saturday Humbug Basel CH
19 Sept Thursday La Peniche Cancale Dijon France
20 Sept Friday Psycho Mind Tilburg The Netherlands
21 Sept Saturday Elsewhere Margate UK
22 Sept Sunday The Library Oxford UK
23 Sep Monday The Hug And Pint Glasgow UK
24 Sep Tuesday Picture House Social Sheffield UK
25 Sep Wednesday Old Blue Last London UK
27 Sep Friday Naiv Music Festival Dortmund Germany
28 Sep Saturday Stathe Utrecht The Netherlands
29 Sep Sunday Hafen 2 Offenbach Germany
30 Sep Monday Botanique Brussels Belgium
What does 2019 have in store for you?
It’s a big, beautiful, busy year for us. Our album Look Me in the Eye is coming out on September 6th. In the months leading up, we’ve got lots of eye candy coming out with music videos and live sessions. We’re working on our air miles too and are touring in Australia, the UK and Europe. We made a guitar pedal with our friend and we’ve got beautiful records being pressed right this minute.
Where can we find more of your music?
Follow Mermaidens: FACEBOOK