Auckland artist and producer Merk shares new single H.N.Y.B. The title is the acronym for the songs ear-worm chorus Happy New Year Baby, and reminiscent of artists like Phoenix and Porches, the songs stark minimalism and hypnotic, woozy synths provide the counter point to the sweetness in the reflective lyrics and vocal.
Listen to 'H.N.Y.B' here
Describing the song, Merk says “This track is an exercise in minimalism for me. I was wanting to see how long you could go with doing very little while keeping it interesting. That’s why a lot of the song is just a very basic drumbeat, bass, and vocals with no reverb or anything to hide behind. I was very inspired by Serge Gainsbourg's 'Histoire de Melody Nelson' when recording this track. His dry and minimal production makes him sound effortlessly cool, and it gives a feeling of suspense and rawness that keeps you hooked."
He also shares the video for H.N.Y.B, an equally hypnotic DIY celebration with a surrealist twist directed in a blissful collaboration between director Martin Salgadin and Merk himself. Together they encapsulate the song capturing both the celestial beauty and terror of the quiet passing of time.
"This song has become a more general reflection on time passing without you noticing, and how whether we like it or not we’re getting older. New Years just happens to be a time when people are musing over this with all their personal reflection and goal setting”
Of the video that accompanies H.N.Y.B Merk says "I think there's a beautiful tension in being a DIY producer making pop music. You are searching for these vast sounds, while being confined to a bedroom studio. That's one reason (among others) for the sun & moon murals in the video, they remind me of making this song. Dreaming of celestial heights while being stuck in my room. There's also scenes where we are floating around the streets which remind me of making the song too. Ambling around suburbia, having a studio break while everyone else is at work.
This video is telling a surreal story that Martin and I have hidden in there for people to find. But the main idea is that life is circular, we spin around the world every day, the moon around us every month, and the world around the sun every year. Then the cycle repeats, and it's beautiful and scary at the same time."
Merk (real name Mark Perkins) began his career as a touring member of New Zealand bands Tom Lark and Fazerdaze, before releasing his debut album Swordfish in 2016.
Swordfish was recorded from a makeshift studio in a store basement at Roundhead Studios, where Perkins was learning the craft of recording and producing under the stewardship of New Zealand’s greatest musical export Neil Finn. Merk would stay late after work, writing songs and applying his newfound engineering skills to make a record that is full of indie-pop gems. Swordfish went on to win Best Debut Album at the Taite Music Prize, and led to tours with Cub Sport, Marlon Williams and Julia Jacklin in Australia and NZ.
Now with new music under his belt, Merk is undertaking his first global release via Humblebrag Records/AWAL, showcasing at SXSW in March and playing his first run of headline shows in NZ and Australia.
UPCOMING TOUR DATES
2 March - The Retreat, Melbourne
w/ Darvid Thor + Prettything, Free Entry details
3 March - Cafe Lounge, Sydney
w/ Darvid Thor + Ainsley Farrell, Free Entry details
11 March - Whammy Bar, Auckland
SXSW fundraiser w/ Imugi + Antony Jeffares tickets
17-21 March - SXSW
Austin TX, USA details
5 April - Meow, Wellington
supporting Frankie Cosmos tickets
Merk and his band will play SXSW thanks to the New Zealand Music Commission's Outward Sound programme.