[PREMIERE/Q&A] Melby – Music Should Feel

Based out of the Swedish capital, Stockholm, Melby have always been a band who offer more than a cursory listen might suggest. While they sparkle with the charm of a jangling indie-pop band, scratch the surface and you’ll find there’s a whole world of depth and meaning lurking beneath. Back in 2019 they released their well-received debut album, None Of This Makes Me Worry, the same year they came over to London to perform at our gig night at The Victoria. Three years, and a string of excellent singles, have come and gone since then, and in October the band will share the much anticipated follow-up, Looks Like A Map, an album they describe as being about, “finding comfort in a sea of uncertainty”. Ahead of the release, today Melby are sharing the latest single from it, Music Should Feel.

Photo & Header Photo by Emma Hallemans

Although only just seeing the light of day, Music Should Feel is actually a song Melby have been working on for a while, as vocalist Matilda Wiezell explains, “the song came together over quite a long period, was forgotten for a while, and then was brought back to life, and got its chorus, after a lot of rehearsal and attempts at making a demo”. The track exists in the in-between place of an ending and moving on, “a song about love, missing someone, and processing those feelings. Acceptance, a tribute to past experiences, and the hope for new good ones”.

As with everything Melby turn their attention to, they seem to find the beauty in difficult emotions, moving on isn’t easy, yet in their hands, it becomes a delightfully calm affair, the whole thing resplendent with an almost country-tinged sway, fluttering saxophones and a vocal melody that seems to go from sadness to comfort with an effortless breeziness. Fittingly for a song that’s at least partly about trying to recapture the joys of old songs in new contexts, Music Should Feel seems to spin through its influences, as if flicking through a record collection for the perfect soundtrack, bringing to mind everyone from Cass McCombs to Angel Olsen, Kevin Morby to Cate Le Bon.

This very special single is the perfect introduction to Looks Like A Map, an album that’s shaping up as a strong contender for one of this Autumn’s finest soundtracks. Check out the song below and read on for my interview with the band where we discuss live plans, record labels as communities and why. “writing music is a good way to untangle fuzzy emotions”.

FTR: For those who don’t know, who are Melby?

Hard question! But basically we are four musicians and old friends living in Stockholm, who have been a band for around seven years.

FTR: You’re premiering your new track Music Should Feel, what can you tell me about the track?

It’s a song about love, missing someone, and processing those feelings. Acceptance, a tribute to past experiences, and the hope for new good ones.

FTR: The song is lifted from your upcoming album, Looks Like A Map, what can you tell me about the recording process?

When the pandemic hit, we were just about to head out on a tour in Germany. We were really slow at realizing what was going on, and I think it wasn’t until the borders started closing that we realized we had to cancel our tour. After the first shock had settled, when life had just turned boring, we started writing and recording new songs. Some of those songs we released as singles, and we just continued recording more material until December last year, when we realized we had a new album.  

FTR: What did you do differently when approaching this record compared to previous recordings?

You could say most of our previous music was made to be played live, and then stuffed into the form of a record. But this album was written for the studio. This let us be much freer in exploring different sounds and recording techniques. I think you can hear that. The sound is more playful and textured. But under that surface it’s the same music I think, building on how we sound together as a band, and exploring the same kinds of themes.

FTR: The album’s coming out on Rama Lama Records, how did that come about? Are record labels still important to you?

Definitely! Rama Lama has something like their own little scene here in Stockholm. With a small but very loyal following. Many of our gigs at home just feel like we are playing to a big group of our friends. And we’ve gotten to know a lot of the other bands on the label. Making music is a much less lonely affair that way.    

FTR: What are your aspirations for this record? Do you see music as a viable career?

We of course want everyone who hears it to think it’s the most brilliant, original, moving, and catchy record they’ve heard in years. But it’s ok if they don’t, as long as some of those who hear it want to come to our gigs. As for music being a viable career or not, I have no idea. Probably not, but I think we will continue doing it as long as people want to listen to what we do.

FTR: Why do you make music?

Good question! For a lot of different reasons. Writing music is a good way to untangle fuzzy emotions. Playing live can be the biggest high there is. And when you start doing it at age nine or something like that it’s kind of hard to stop. Wouldn’t know what to do with all the free time.

FTR: Who are the inspirations for your music? What were you listening to when you recorded Looks Like A Map?

There are so many! Some stuff we discovered around the time was Broadcast, Kit Sebastian and Shabaka and the Ancestors. And some we keep coming back to are Portishead, Beach House and Cate le Bon.

FTR: Are you going to be taking this album on tour? What can people expect from the Melby live show?

Yes! We have some dates in Sweden and one in Copenhagen this autumn, and the plan is to go to some other places in Europe late spring next year. I think our live shows are more unpolished, more dynamic than our records.

FTR: What’s next for Melby?

Hopefully even more live shows!

Looks Like A Map is out October 21st via Rama Lama Records. For more information on Melby visit https://linktr.ee/melbyband

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