MELA

360 Degree View:
A Conversation With MELA

Interviews By
MELA

Just ahead of the release of their new record “Anxiety” EP Marius Grimminger and Simon Bauer aka MELA talk about concepts of fear in electronic music and their experiments in the domains of virtual reality.

Why do you dedicate an entire EP to anxiety?

Simon: It is a topic that is not talked about as much as it should. I recognised that people are not likely to share their feelings when it comes to their fears and mental issues. I think that it is really important that people don’t seal themselves off from others when it comes to anxiety. Actually, we chose the topic before we started writing the EP. We needed a concept. It made the writing process easier for us since we could follow the line like a guiding thread.

How does it feel to release a record about something as personal as the concept of anxiety?

Marius: Feelings are a completely subjective matter. Our EP comes to grips with the issue of anxiety and overcoming fears and uncertainties. This theme also fits our sound. We are not particularly anxious guys yet our music serves as a projection for your deepest feelings.

To what extent is the topos of your EP linked to the current socio-political developments?

Marius: Politics were not our driving force at all but we do believe that the current developments have frightening tendencies to it.

How long have you been working on the Anxiety EP?

Simon: We’ve been working on the record for about a year in total I would say. The EP was a great coup from our stand point of view since we recorded and produced it all on our own.

Where did the idea for a virtual reality video on “Eternal” come from?

Simon: We played “Eternal” to our friends Kevin Ferdinandus, Michael Wallinger, and Daria Eameri who are known as the artist collective Format .strk. The idea on collaborating for a video had been there for a while but when they heard the song they immediately came up with the idea of creating a 360° video – a virtual and constructed reality. It was important to us that they would have complete artistic freedom considering the making and conceptualization of the video. We liked the idea and outcome because it mirrors the deeper meaning of the song and makes it a Gesamtkunstwerk. Also it is a technique that not many musicians have used in their clips before.

There seem to be video projections in the figures that appear in “Eternal”…

Simon: (laughing) The projections show the wobbling belly of Michael…

Which technical ploys did you implement to produce the depth in your sound?

Simon: The depth comes from our reinforced usage of delay and reverb effects. Especially the guitar and synth work creates a spherical feeling within the songs. It creates a sound that is bigger than the two of us which is pretty sublime.

How many compromises did you have to make within the recording and writing process?

Marius: Since we have a relatively common idea about what music we would like to create, we consider it more a process of shaping our individual ideas into a unified whole.

Where do you draw influences from?

Marius: I like the magnitude of Post-Rock which despite being difficult to achieve as a duo still works out fine with us. Apart from that, I can’t really name a band or a genre that is influencing me. I just have a basic beat on my mind.

Simon: Also, we both like electronic music a lot, which you can especially hear in the beats that Marius creates. Bands like “Daughter” and “Cloud Boat” influence the way I play guitar massively.

Why MELA?

Marius: We find the general cultural process of meaning making and interpretation intriguing. If we had decided upon a name with a deep meaning to us, we would always have to explain ourselves. We thought that the actual name of a band is negligible.

Simon: This is why we chose a name that didn’t have any particular meaning for us.

What are your plans for the future?

Marius: Primarily, we would like to go out on tour…

Simon: … and play as many gigs as possible.

Text by Kristina Kirova and Samira Saad
Photos by Elisabeth Jost