I N T E R V I E W
By Arpie Shirehorse
Wellington’s MERMAIDENS are a band very much on the up. January saw them open for Canada’s MAC DEMARCO in their hometown, before they headed north to play Nivara Lounge on January 29th and then on to Auckland for three more shows. There’s also a new album about to drop. Arpie Shirehorse caught up with Gussie Larkin (pictured right, guitar/vocals) before their blistering Hamilton show.
HUP: What can you tell us about the LP and when can we expect to buy it?
I can tell you that I’m bloody excited about it and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. I don’t want to say too much, but the first single from the album “Seed” is a pretty good preview of what’s to come. Plenty of jangly tones, witchy chanting and washed out vocals. James Goldsmith recorded it and he was so sweet to work with. The coffee was flowing. It’s going to be released mid-March and you’ll be able to buy it online from Bandcamp. We’ll also have some limited addition cassette tapes available.
HUP: How did you guys meet and how long after that was Mermaidens a thing?
Lily and I went to high school together but only started sharing our music in 7th form. I’ve known Abe since I was around 15 – we used to go on missions to the dump shop and find cool shit. Mermaidens was born around 2.5 years ago in a mildew palace.
HUP: What is your songwriting process, does one person write lyrics and chords and the rest of you hone it in practice or is it more organic than that?
It’s a combination of the two really. I’m always writing riffs, melodies and lyrics in my own time and I know Lily does too. Usually our jams start from a guitar or vocal line or even a weird sound we’re digging…the process is forever changing, but we always finish writing songs together.
HUP: We’ve heard about of the Eyegum Music Collective - what is the Wellington scene like at the moment?
I’ve been away for six months but Wellington is a pretty small place so I’m assuming it hasn’t changed drastically! The house party scene is sick, I can’t actually remember the last time I saw a band perform in a venue. And I do think that’s a bit of a shame as it means we might lose even more of our live music venues. That aside, there are always new bands coming out in Wellington who really surprise me. You can’t really put a label on the Wellington “sound” – except maybe the BBQ reggae bands haha.
HUP: Any favourite bands we should check out?
Groeni, Womb, Kobra Club, Red Sky Blues.
HUP: Have you ever played (or even been to!) Hamilton before?
This will be our first Hamilton show, although we’ve stopped off there a million times for pies. Abe’s Grandparents live there so hopefully they’ll be in the crowd getting silly.
HUP: Mermaidens most rock n’roll moment to date is?
Abe once skulled 2 litres of water on stage.
HUP: Best show you’ve seen in NZ?
HUP: If you were organising a show and could have any NZ bands play – which three would it be and where?
Bic Runga, Beastwars, Human Instinct. Party on the beach in Princess Bay.
HUP: Kim Deal or Kim Gordon?
Tough one but Kim Gordon.
HUP: Courtney Love or Courtney Barnett?
Courtney Love. Rock n’roll queen even if she is absolute trash.
HUP: Auckland or Wellington?
This interview was originally published in Issue #1 of the HUPZINE. Photo of Gussie Larkin by the brilliant Ngamihi Pawa (@ngamihi).