Special Interview: Mal De Mer

THEAUSSIEWORD.COM catches up with Saskia Fleming from Mal De Mer.

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?

I think I’m motivated by the joy of creating, and the creative process itself. The feeling of watching a song grow and come together from just a kernel of an idea in your mind is unbeatable- it’s an addictive feeling!

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?

I reckon playing Like a Version would be a massive bucket list moment, getting booked to play Splendour or Falls too. I’d love to get some of our stuff out on vinyl too – that would be awesome. My main goal though is just to keep creating music and not measure the quality of our art by its commercial success. 

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?

We’ve got our EP coming out July 8th, and we’re doing a headline show August 5th at the Rosemount Hotel to celebrate that one! We’ve got a show supporting The Beths September 21st which will be huge too, and then we’re gonna be quieting down a bit after that to focus on writing some new stuff. We’re looking at touring nationally next year in February, finally getting to the east coast! We’ll be co-headlining the tour with another WA band we love dearly, but I won’t say who just yet – something to look forward to!

Tell us a bit about your new EP Sanguine and how would you best describe your music?

The EP is kind of a window that peers into a certain time in my life and the processes that I went through to come to terms with it. It was a cathartic songwriting process for me because I learnt about what I was feeling more. I feel like often with the music I write, the lyrics answer questions that I’ve had internally and they’ll bring an awareness to something I’m feeling that I might not have previously noticed or paid attention to. I think the best way to describe our music is: music you can dance to, or cry to – the choice is yours!

Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?

I’m very autobiographical lyrically so my songs always reflect how I was feeling at the time I wrote them. I get struck by inspiration all the time- at work, in the car, when I hear a good song, when I’m eating dinner, so I’m writing pretty regularly. If I’ve got a kernel of an idea that I think is any good I’ll take it to the band and mention some inspiration songs that I like the arrangement of or rhythm of and we’ll build the track from there. That being said, the way that Mal works creatively is constantly changing- which is one of my favourite things about the project! The way we approach each song is different to the last which I think is a big part of why every song sounds so unique. We don’t have a template for writing songs, it’s really organic and is just about what comes to us at that moment. We really encourage collaboration and creativity in the project so anyone can bring an idea to work on and we’ll muck around and see where it lands.

Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? 

I think there is always hidden meaning in songs, but I think that is the whole point of it being hidden- the messages aren’t for everyone. Certain people will take away things from songs that other people won’t notice or hear, and I like it that way. I try to leave our songs a bit open to interpretation so that listeners can derive meaning for themselves, because every song can have incredible meaning to someone in a different way than I intended when I wrote it. I think that is one of the great joys of creating music and art in general.

Success, what is the secret to it?

Success looks different to everyone, but to me a successful musician is someone who wholeheartedly, vehemently continues to do music whether or not there is external validation or accolades. Commercial success does not dictate whether or not you are successful in your craft, to me success is being able to drown that out – which I’m working on all the time!

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

 Ooh- that’s a really hard one because there are so many different things that jump out to me in different areas, but one that stands out is playing Wave Rock Weekender. It had been on my bucket list since I first heard about the festival and it was just such a fun experience.

Are there any new projects in the pipeline?

We’re definitely wanting to get back to doing some writing soon, but for now we’re focusing on the EP release and living in the present. I think we’re gonna shift our focus to writing in August. 

The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourselves in a few years?

I think given the tumultuous nature of the industry we’re in, it’s really hard to say. But I’ll tell you this much: I’ll definitely be making music, and that is the main goal. 

What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?

My favourite part is the feeling of watching a song come together from an idea in my mind and collaborating with musicians I really admire to make music that we’re proud of. Watching what a song can become when you bring other minds into it is a feeling that can’t be beaten.

My least favourite part is trying to describe our music, and handling social media- I spend all my creative energy on the music so I just don’t have the energy to be coming up with engaging content plans or anything like that. 

Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.

Genesis Owusu, Stella Donnelly, Noah Dillon, Hector Morlet.

How will you continue appealing to the international market?

 I dunno if we’ve ever tried to appeal to any market really. We just make music because we love it, and we enjoy creating together.

Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?

I’ve always been really into collaboration, I think that is the best part of being a musician! When I started out in the music scene I would topline for electronic producers which was a heap of fun- I wanna get back into doing that a bit more. I’d love to feature on a Parcels track, I think that would be a heap of fun.

What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?

 Be authentic, make music that you love and try to drown out everything else. Don’t focus on how the public responds to your art, instead focus on how the art resonates with you.

A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?

I love a chat after a show, I love to hear what people thought of our set. Our DMs are always open- we’re pretty active in responding to messages on there. I don’t think there is a stand out way that we best interact with fans though, but we do have a special bond with our live audiences. We love seeing people at our shows having a good time and we really feed off the crowd’s energy!

Website: Mal de Mer | Linktree

Facebook: @Mal d eMer

Instagram: @maldemer.band