Dynamic Perth six-piece Mal de Mer have announced their glistening new single Do You See Me?, an eclectic, irresistible track that details the tough, dramatic reclaimation of personal power that occurs when a toxic relationship ends, out today, November 24. Mal de Mer have also announced a visually stunning lyric video to accompany the track, made in collaboration with photographer Mare Elzinga.
Do You See Me? is the result of a truly unique amalgamation of influences; evocative of everything from Camp Cope to Andy Shauf to BADBADNOTGOOD, in other words – it’s just Mal de Mer. Steady, funk-inspired bass lines sit harmoniously amongst sharp, vintage synths while lead vocalist Saskia Fleming’s distinctive voice confidently takes centre stage; handclaps and crisp drums drive the song forward – it’s a curious number, and the expert mesh of genres within this single is nothing new to this skilled group. Saskia from the band answers some questions about the single for Hi Fi Way.
How has the build-up been leading up to the release of the single Do You See Me?
Busy, busy, busy! It’s my first time working with a distribution label, (Community Music) and a PR label (On The Map PR). It’s been crazy how busy things can get when it comes to deadlines- I’m used to throwing things together a lot more at the last minute. We’ve been hanging onto this one for a little while so it feels really great to have it out in the open!
Was the process of making your single as challenging as you thought?
Writing the single wasn’t difficult at all, if I’m honest. All these feelings finally came bubbling up one day when I was looping this chord progression I’d written on my synth. I ended up coming up with the verse and chorus on the spot. The difficult part was showing it to anybody in the band- I was at a pretty low spot mental health wise and really couldn’t tell if what I had written was any good. When I brought it to Julia and Bella they gave me a lot of faith in the track- we started writing it down south and came up with the bassline and the epic synth line. It just kept snowballing pretty smoothly from there- James and Ashton slotted in so perfectly it felt like their parts were always meant to be there, and Brod (Tunafish Recording Company) did an absolutely stunning mix.
Sonically, how would you describe your music?
I don’t exactly know why, but this is such a hard question for me! I think because our sound is so genre-fluid I really struggle to describe it. I’d say we create funk-inspired soundscapes with a tangible sense of vulnerability when it comes to subject matter. We’ve got hard-hitting bass, dreamy guitars, and more recently we’ve been heading in a new synth-soaked direction! Music that will make you feel something, or forget about someone, depending on what mood you’re in!
Who would you consider to be the biggest influence on your music and why?
Every single one of the band members would probably name someone different for this question- which is one of the reasons I love this band!! We don’t have one main influence, we have dozens! BADBADNOTGOOD, Tom Misch, L’Imperatrice, Parcels, TOPS, Mansur Brown, Herbie Hancock, Jamiroquai, Stevie Wonder- you get the picture! We’ve created this amalgamation of so many incredible influences to form this undeniably unique, and distinctive sound. At this point, even we don’t know what genre we are.
Best piece of advice you have been given?
At WAAPA we were taught ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’ which I think was a real game changing moment for me. I was like ‘you can pitch yourself to be booked on shows you want to play?’ – it was a huge lightbulb moment, and that piece of advice has served me well.
How did the band get together?
I started at WAAPA in 2017 and met one of my most treasured people- John Harvey there. We started writing together pretty early on and both quickly realised we were a great songwriting team- I knew virtually nothing when it came to chord progressions, while he was the same when it came to lyricism. So I asked him to start a band with me (he agreed, obviously), reached out to a couple of musicians in our course at WAAPA and we started Mal de Mer. John and I have had the pleasure of working with a vast array of some of the most talented individuals since beginning this project, but the current lineup we’ve got on board has knocked it out of the park.
Are you looking to tour more broadly?
Well, wouldn’t that be a treat? We definitely will be looking at an interstate tour in 2022 (hopefully!), but with COVID and the border everything has been pretty up in the air, and we’ve shifted our focus to recording and writing rather than looking at touring.
What’s next for Mal de Mer?
New music! We’re knee deep in writing mode right now- we recorded a new single last week, and are hopping in the studio again in January to record again. Lots of exciting things in the works, but we’re not ready to give anything away yet!
Interview By Rob Lyon