GABRIELLE S

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Music Month Interview 03 / Merk

Hey! What’s your musician name/label and how long have you been producing music under the name Merk?

Hi! My name is Merk and I’ve been making music with this project for about a year!

Talk us through a little bit about your past with music? Did you grow up with music, how did you pick it up/recognize it was your thing?

I think most of my musical background comes from my older brother and sister. I was still pretty young when they showed me how to download songs on the internet and make CD mix tapes of songs I was into. I still remember my cousin playing me Because by The Beatles on his headphones when I was 13 - that was the moment I wanted music to be my thing. 

I played in bands through high school and did the Rockquest/Play it Strange thing which was great.  Then moving to Auckland I played for a bunch of different friend's bands just as a session musician (Tom Lark, Clap Clap Riot, Scuba Diva, Fazerdaze). I also spent a year interning at Roundhead Studios where I learnt how to record. After I left the studio I moved back home and set up a studio in my parents spare room and made my own album. 

Are you a record, CD, cassette, radio, iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, sound cloud ( anything else ) kinda guy?

I’m into Spotify. One day I’ll have a big record collection of my favourite albums, but until then the Spotify subscription that comes with my phone plan does the trick! Haha.

You are part of the NZ band Fazerdaze who you’re touring with currently? What’s it like selling shows in the UK and working with a band vs. your music under Merk?

Yeah it’s been really fun! The shows have been cool. We’ve just done the UK and right now we’re in the van on the way to Cologne, Germany. I mostly use the long travel times to play around making beats on my phone or laptop. 

It’s really cool playing in Amelia’s band and having her in play bass in my band. It’s nice to be able to not be in the spotlight for a bit and support your friends! Being the leader of a band is really hard, you have so much to think/worry about and it all comes with anxieties and self doubt so it helps having someone in the group who understands all that.

In saying that this is my last tour with Fazerdaze. Both our projects are getting busier, which is a good problem to have, and it’s time for me to knuckle down and do my own thing. It's really sad but necessary :') We’ll still collaborate a lot but just not so much live! 

You have a very strong visual focus to your work - who do you collaborate with and where do you seek inspiration for the end result?

Yeah I really want this project to be more than just the music! For my album Swordfish and all the visuals around that I was really inspired by simple, fun, and colourful art that also had a sadness to it. Most of that I found in old children’s books and cartoons (www.vintagechildrensbooksmykidloves.com is a good site).

I worked with a bunch of friends who helped me make cut out collages, take photos, and digitse my drawings. Recently I put out a video for my song I’m Easy, directed by Parallel Teeth, we actually just met for the first time in London and really clicked, I hope we can do more together!

If you could pick a handful of tunes from NZ artists/bands what would be on your list?

These are exciting times, our lil scene in NZ is really cool. A.C. Freazy, Pixels, Fazerdaze, Kane Strang, Madeira are some of my favs who are doing cool things right now. 

It would be great to see what music you love, make a small playlist of songs you're currently into ( could be linked, or a made a Spotify playlist or just written out ) 

- Big Brown Eyes/Benny Sings

- Say Goodbye/Hiroshi Sato

- It’s All Good/Superorganism

- Big City/Kero Kero Bonito

- Subways/The Avalanches