Mermaidens are a super talented trio from Wellington consisting of- Gussie Larkin, Lily West and Abe Hollingsworth. The band creates songs filled with dreamy vocals and gloomy bass-lines.
Their sophomore album ‘Perfect Body’ was released on August 4 so we had a chat with Gussie Larkin to get all the details.
When was Mermaidens formed? Lily and I were friends at High school- and we started sharing songs with each other and decided that we should make this a thing. We got our friend Abe to play drums, so we first properly formed in 2013.
Why is the band called Mermaidens? I don’t actually remember. It’s kind of funny actually, because we had a few options one of them was Earth Tongue which is actually the name of my other band. It was me who came up with Mermaidens it just seemed right.
How long have you been working on Perfect Body? We recorded it last year in September, but we’ve had songs floating around since March. Some of the songs from the album are really old. The song ‘Smothering Possession’ which is just acoustic guitar is probably the most different on the album and it’s one of the older ones. We had quite a quite a short turn-around between our last album and this one, we get quite impatient and like to get stuff done.
Do you have a favourite song from the album? We all agree that ‘Fade’ is our favourite it’s the last song on the album. It’s one of the most lat minute songs I’ve ever written. We were really unsure about it and we didn’t have any vocals. We did the vocals a few weeks later and we were still writing lyrics on the morning of recording- and now I think it’s one of the best on the album.
Fave venue to play? I love San Fran in Wellington, it sounds amazing and having a home crowd is great. In Auckland I like Whammy Bar I love the scunginess of it.
Who are your musical influences? Each of us have quite different music tastes- the ones we share would be Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, Exploded View and Fugazi. The most enduring one for me is Queens of the Stone age.
Is the NZ music scene male-dominated? It definitely is, but I think it’s getting better. All of my male friends who are in bands are quite aware in making their shows as balanced as possible. It does come up quite a lot we’re still often the only women on the line-ups. We made sure on our last tour to have it really balanced, there’s so many great female bands in New Zealand.
You have a pretty unique sense of fashion, what are your favourite places to shop? I’m a massive op-shopper so most of my clothes are vintage. I love Ziggurat on Cuba Street and Hunters and Collectors. Lily is really into ethical New Zealand designers but I’m op-shop through and through.
What themes are explored on the new album? Well four out of the eight songs have the word body in them. Our song Perfect Body especially, which was written by Lily explores ideas around what it is to be a young woman in this day and age. It’s about recognising the put on women physically and morally and just recognising those things but realising that it doesn’t have to apply to you and it shouldn’t affect how you feel about yourself. We also talk a lot about the sun and craving relaxation and escape. It’s a very personal record, a lot of the lyrics are like a mantra to myself. It’s mainly about ourselves and growing up and being okay.
You can buy Perfect Body from the Flying out website.
Or digitally download it from Band camp.