When you've got Matthew Herbert and Ewan Pearson on your side, producing your sounds, there's probably something just a little bit special in the way you go about making your music. That's exactly the case for the effortlessly talented Merz who has spent most of his life surround by music and has now reached a stage where he's a master of his art. You can give the video for his new track 'Ten Gorgeous Blocks' a watch below before you read on do find out a little bit more about who exactly Merz is;
When did you start creating such wonderful sounds?
Thank you. I started making music when I was around 8 years old. Started writing songs and putting together band arrangements when I was 14. Started Merz when I was 26, I've made 5 Merz albums to date. And a bunch of singles and collaborations.
How would you describe your music?
It depends who I'm speaking to. If you name music sub-genres there's people who have no idea what you're referring to. With some people who ask I have to differentiate between the most basic genres - 'it's not classical, not jazz, I sing, play guitar and keyboards'. To others I'd say it's an eclectic mix of a myriad influences that I absorbed having grown up in a house full of a very wide spectrum of music.
Which location do you think is best to enjoy your music?
I've been creating multiple, parallel shows so that I can pick which style of show to play depending on the nature of the venue or event; currently have six different line-ups and sets on the go. That may come across as a bit excessive or boastful, I'm fortunate enough to find myself amongst a really creative community of musicians which stimulates so many ideas and ambitions and also the desire to do the necessary work.
What's your preferred time of day to make music?
I tend to split the day in to two shifts; an afternoon shift and an evening shift. If i'm working on something in the afternoon and nothing much is happening, or I'm stuck in a rut, then after having a dinner break and when day turns to dusk and to evening there is such a strong change in atmosphere that often the thing I was stuck on in the afternoon really starts to work and happen in the night. Or vice versa.
On a scale of 1-10 how gorgeous are the Ten Gorgeous Blocks?
There's a line in Catcher In The Rye where Holden Caulfield says: "I walked 41 Gorgeous Blocks", I thought Ten Gorgeous Blocks would be a good album title and in the end it stuck with this track, which has got a bit of a Holden Caulfield thought process to it.
We see you've been touring. What's been your favourite gig so far and why?
I've done a couple of UK tours this year, I organised them myself, just opened it up for any possibilities and consequently ended up playing such a diversity of locations; a Scottish Castle, Brixton railway arch, a Cumbrian barn, a Yorkshire Working Men's club, Coventry Heavy Metal club, St Pancras Old Church in London, a Welsh art community's take over of a former high street store amongst a bunch more. They've been the most amazing tours, I could write a book about these tours, so many anomalies and magic experiences.
From what do you take inspiration?
Whatever it takes to write the next song.
Were you ever given any advice, musical or otherwise, that's stuck with you?
I've had so many music mentors over the years, I guess I picked up stuff from them through association, osmosis, the way they played, what they played, their attitude, different approaches to studio work, very conflicting processes yielding very different results. It's really important to have a learning attitude and to gravitate towards those you'd like to learn from. And to play, create and produce as much as time allows.
Thinking Like A Mountain is out on 6th November via Accidental Records - pre-order your copy here.