If you’ve been waiting for you next grunge indie dream gal to enter your life, well here she is, Moody Beach, (also goes by Melissah Marie for friend and fam). Moody Beach’s single Vanilla of her forthcoming debut EP has all the washed-out dream-pop vocals, shoe-gazy psychedelic guitar lines and dark and stormy undertones to best suit the mood of a filthy hungover Sunday morning. Burgundy lipstick now smeared halfway across your face, memory of the night before is blurry at best and your courtyard’s full of ashey beer bottles and red wine stains.
Thanks so much for chatting with me Melissah! Let’s start with your grunge AF music video for Vanilla. This is collaboration between yourself and video artist Capital Waste. Is he a mate from back home in South Australia? And where did you guys start in bringing forth this idea? I’m getting some serious 90’s Rage nostalgia watching it.
Thanks for having me! Yes, Liam from Capital Waste Pictures sure is a mate from Adelaide. I got in touch with him as soon as I knew Vanilla was the first track off the EP. I had seen a bunch of film clips he had worked on previously and love what I refer to as the Capital Waste ‘flava’. So, I flew back down to Adelaide to have coffee with Liam, chat ideas and set a date to shoot. I flagged a couple of things that were important to me, like colours, zoom-ins and the beach and we went from there. I really appreciate what he does with visuals so I gave him free reign. We headed to West Beach and shot the whole clip in a couple of hours at sunset. Liam’s also put together visuals for Moody Beach live shows. I tee them up whenever I can because I think they fit the Moody theme perfectly. I’d work with him again anytime.
You had an interesting couple of years, bouncing around as a flight attendant and playing bass guitar in the band The Rememberz, before settling in Redfern, Sydney and really refining your sound as Moody Beach. What happened during those years that facilitated your change in sound and drew you in the new direction of Moody Beach?
I was a flight attendant when I started writing songs under Moody, that was a couple of years ago. I was based in Adelaide but essentially living out of a suit case. I spent a lot of time in and out of hotels and got to play with a bunch of different guitars from the places I’d stay. Each hotel would have an acoustic guitar that you could hire – most of them were Maton’s. I think you had to be a member or something but I was usually pretty desperate so I’d barter with anyone who had a flight attendant hotel membership thing to hire one for me. I’d do a lot of writing and recording in hotel rooms to start out with – some late nights, some early mornings, depending on what time zone I was in! DIY, lo-fi sounds have a special place in my heart, the intimacy of them. I really like some of Soko’s earliest recordings so I was trying to rip that off initially. At the same time, I was playing in The Rememberz. We had the opportunity to play in America so I had a short stint there which was a lot of fun. When I moved permanently to Sydney my bandmate was still in Adelaide so I took some time out to polish off the demos I’d been recording.
Carl Fox produced these with me, I wanted to get a band behind the tracks and that’s where Moody was born.
Growing your sound via live performance seems like a very important part of your process. You began curating the Cult Club, a quarterly party held at Hair by Tommy J, a local barber near your house in Redfern, so that you could find a space for yourself and other emerging artists to play live and develop your sounds. How much did you see Moody Beach transform from those early gigs till now?
Cult Club definitely gave me the chance to try a few different live settings with Moody Beach. That’s what the night is all about – inviting people to try new things and inviting an audience to enjoy it. Moody was initially myself just playing along to backing tracks. I really always wanted to have a band for live shows but I love that I’ve had that experience because it pushed me out of my comfort zone. We had an all-girl line-up for one show which was a lot of fun. It was myself on bass/guitar, drums and two other vocalists – harmonies were on point! Since the EPs been recorded more instruments have been added to the line-up. The whole approach has been pretty organic, which is a good vibe.
Having that culture of underground and emerging artists surrounding you must be hugely motivating. Can you tell us a little about the Cult Club itself and how that has grown as an institution?
Being around people who are passionate about their art and sharing it with others is a special thing. Cult Club started out very small – Tommy, Jade and I (the three Cult Club founders) put it together in the matter of under a week. My bandmate from The Rememberz had come up from Adelaide and we needed to play somewhere else, one of our gigs had fallen through and I was complaining about it in the shop. Tommy, the owner of Hair by Tommy J’s, suggested we just have bands in the shop. So, we ended up getting a few bands together and having a party. Everyone had a good time, so we do it every three months or so now and Budweiser and Sailor Jerry sponsor it. For last year’s Halloween, we brought it to 107 Projects in Redfern because we want to make it as much about the showcasing the community as possible. That’s why we finish up early (around 10pm) so we can send our crowd into the Redfern night to enjoy the other awesome venues. We’ll have Le Pie, The Knowgood and yours truly at the next one on 29 April – it’s going to be a real time.
Thanks so much for chatting Melissah! 2017 looks like a bright and exciting year to come!
You can catch Moody Beach this Sat 29th April at the Cult Club – Hair by Tommy J. Keep your ears peeled for more tunes to come from Moody Beach’s forth coming EP produced by Carl Fox (Mosquito Coast, Porches).