RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW MERIN WHAT HAPPENED?

Hiya Cole, thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

I don’t know that it was any one thing, really. I suppose I’ve been obsessed with music in one form or another since I was a kid, playing with toy guitars until my hand could fit around a real one. My dad was always playing music around the house, too. I think he was a big influence, once I was old enough to realize that he actually had good taste. 

Introduce us to you all and your musical history.

My name is Cole, and right now it’s just me! Merin started out as a solo recording project years ago before evolving pretty naturally into a four-piece. For this UK tour I’m back to performing as a solo artist, which is exciting and kinda nerve-wracking. As for musical history – I’ve been performing in bands since I was 18 and I’m 33 now, so I guess it’s been awhile! 

Whats the live music scene like in Winnipeg right now? Anyone we should be looking out for (Bar you of course)

We have a pretty thriving music scene at the moment, which is especially apparently heading into festival season. The summer fests are all awesome, and highlight the diverse talent Winnipeg has to offer. Some bands to look out for are Mulligrub, Veneer, Tinge, Polyglots, Strawberry Punch, Cookie Delicious – there’s really too many to list, come visit sometime and see for yourselves! 

Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?

Honestly I’m not entirely sure. I’ve always been pretty relaxed about the whole thing, making music when I feel inspired and just going with the flow. I don’t know much about the industry, and I’m not sure I care to.

This tour, for example, wouldn’t be happening at all without Lynn (I’m Not From Toronto) pulling all the strings and forcing it into existence by way of sheer will. Thankfully I’ve been surrounded by bandmates who are more business-savvy than myself, so I haven’t had to be the one who’s dialed in. Maybe that’ll change and I’ll start grinding one day – we’ll see how this tour goes! For now I’m just riding whatever wave comes my way. 

Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.

I’m a shape-shifting alien, and I’m infiltrating mankind on an insidious mission to undermine political stability and prepare Earth for invasion. 

I have a pet cat named Finn.

I enjoy spaghetti.

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If not why not?

Not really! I do love reading about them though, there are some amazing rabbit holes to go down on the internet. It’s a wonderful time-suck. 

I do, however, believe in shape-shifting aliens, by virtue of my being one.

What was your best experience on stage?

There have been a LOT of great moments, but the last show Merin played all together is at the top of the list. Jordan the bass player was on the verge of moving to Montreal (where they play in Mirella, who are awesome), Kathryn our lead-guitarist was ramping things up touring and recording with her other band KEN Mode (check ‘em out, she plays sax and synth), and Joelly “The Drummer” Klaverkamp was getting pretty busy working on his myriad of other projects (the newest being Cookie Delicious, mentioned above).

With everyone heading in different directions, it felt like this natural conclusion, and we billed it is as “possibly our last show, definitely our last for awhile”. It was at this outdoor venue in Winnipeg called Blue Note Park, and people came out in a big way. The energy was incredible, people were singing along, and there was this whole melancholy-yet-celebratory feeling to the whole affair. Mostly, it was just a rad night surrounded by some of our best friends. 

What was your worst experience on stage?

I had just been through a breakup, and I was pretty gutted. I remember drinking my feelings before I went on, and being waaaaay too drunk on stage. I was forgetting my guitar parts, I was forgetting the words – I was forgetting the songs. At one point I think I almost fell down. Fortunately, it wasn’t a very well-attended show and the only people who witnessed this mess were the other bands and the sound tech. Still pretty humiliating. 

Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about. 

God, how to surprise people who don’t know you? I’m a Leo. I actually HATE spaghetti. 

What are the next steps you plan to take as a band to reach the next level?

Good question, and I can’t say I’m entirely sure. I think this solo tour is a big start, getting me out of my comfort zone and back to performing. I haven’t been very musically active or creative since the full band’s last show/EP release which was August 2023. I think I needed the break to reset my mindset, but it feels great to have this forward momentum again. I think when I get home, it’ll be time to start writing the next album. 

I hear you have some new music, what can you tell us about it.

I wouldn’t say it’s all that new anymore, but Merin’s self-titled EP came out last August. 

It’s a collection of songs that were written within a pretty broad four-or-so year span. I write a lot about my own mental health, loss, all the sad stuff storming around in my brain. It’s not that I’m a perpetually gloomy person, but writing about that stuff helps me process it I guess. The music is mostly upbeat and fun, which is a dichotomy that I love. Sad songs that you can party to. 

What was the recording process like?

It was a lot of fun. We spent 5 days in a Winnipeg studio called No Fun Club, and had a blast. J Riley Hill, who we had worked with on our previous EP and who is incredible, engineered and produced this one as well. All of the songs were pretty fully finished going in, so it was just a matter of getting them down in a way that we were happy with.

Riley has awesome instincts and was great at guiding us toward the overall sound that we wanted, whether by steering us toward the right gear or helping us pick the right take. Essentially, we all got to spend five days with a bunch of our best friends in a building filled with musical toys. How could it not be the best?

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

I tend to overdo things, personally. I have this tendency to want to over-stuff a song with ideas when it should just be allowed to breathe a bit. It’s funny, because as a listener I often gravitate towards simplicity, but with my own writing I have to try to curb my natural impulses a bit.

Would you change anything now its finished?

I wouldn’t. That’s not to say I think it’s perfect – nothing is. Just that it is what it is, and changing it would be disingenuous. You can edit the humanity out of anything if you try hard enough, but where’s the fun in that? 

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Pet your cats and your dogs, they tend to enjoy it. 

And also thanks for listening to me ramble, it’s been fun. If you’re in Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham or London, come check out a show. I’m looking forward to seeing the UK for the first time! 

TICKETS FOR THEIR MANCHESTER SHOW ARE HERE

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