It’s been two years since the release of Moody Beach’s debut self-titled EP. The Sydney-based musician Melissah Marie returned with the single ‘Slave’ in June and is now ready to present the second Moody Beach EP, Mirage.
‘Slave’ distinguished itself from Marie’s first EP by setting aside guitars in favour of driving synths. That’s not representative of Mirage as a whole, however – it’s a stylistically varied collection, combining shoegaze, new wave, raw acoustics and choral pop.
Stream Mirage below:
Moody Beach began as a bedroom project not long after Marie moved from Adelaide to Sydney. She didn’t know anyone and figured Moody Beach could be a platform for connecting with other musicians and socially conscious people.
Marie’s now passionately invested in the project, which has evolved into a medium for interrogating the parameters of female acceptability. This is the foundation of Mirage, which she describes as “an exploration of beginnings and endings.”
Tone Deaf caught up with Marie to learn more about the EP and her broader aims with the project.
How interested were you in growing the Moody Beach sound when working on this EP?
I didn’t intend on creating an EP that features so many different genres, the songs just evolved organically. It was an empowering experience because I wasn’t shackled to a single sound. I relied on my vocal to provide continuity and trusted that would be Moody Beach enough. Some of my favourite artists, such as Steve Lacy and The Garden, put out eclectic compilations and from a listening perspective, I think variety is exciting.
After releasing the first EP and seeing how people responded to your work, did you feel like you had a better idea of what you wanted the project to represent?
I was a bit of late bloomer as far as music goes. I picked up a bass after high school and started recording for Moody Beach when I moved to Sydney a few years ago. I had always kept a journal but creating music has been the most satisfying way for me to unpack my experiences
Moody Beach was initially a form of catharsis for me personally, but I’ve found many of the issues or interactions I draw from resonate with others. I’d say I’m most interested in exploring perceptions of female acceptability, challenging social expectations placed on women and gender fluid artists and creating a safe environment at live shows so people feel encouraged to enjoy and take part in the art.
Has your intention to challenge the way women are expected to dress and behave become a central focus of your work because it’s an inescapable element of your life?
Yeah, I think so. Everyone seems to have an opinion and I think that, at the end of the day, their opinions don’t matter.
I’m done with even trying to consider meeting people’s expectations. I think it’s so important to break those moulds. We don’t all have to conform to what society expects of us , especially if it’s just to make a few old crusty blokes feel comfortable.
Has exploring these issues in your work strengthened your resolve in terms of how you’re choosing to deal with them?
Definitely. My lyrics aren’t all blatantly feminist, there are other ways I explore my strength as an artist. It took time to develop the confidence to do that. When I first started playing music, I would get told what to wear. It’s ridiculous but I took that on board at the time. Moody Beach has provided me with the chance to defy what I “should” wear, how I “should” move, what I “should” say – slowly pushing the boundaries of what’s felt right to me.
The chorus lyrics in ‘Slave’ seem to acknowledge the power of physical intimacy. The verses are more ambivalent, perhaps reflecting a power struggle in a relationship. What are the origins of the song?
Slave explores obsession and control in a relationship. It’s about the start of a relationship and how there’s this element of infatuation where you’d do absolutely anything for a person it’s physical and exhilarating. Then you reach a place where you want to be less vulnerable and more in control.
Watch Moody Beach – ‘Slave’ below:
Moody Beach ‘Mirage EP’ launch show
Sat 5 October 2019
The Golden Age Cinema – Sydney
(Special Acoustic Show)