Music Bugle Exclusive – Q & A – Merk

Photo credit – Lily Paris West. Courtesy of Girlie Action Media.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

Merk – the musical moniker of Auckland, New Zealand-based indie-pop artist, multi-instrumentalist and producer Mark Perkins – recently dropped his new album ‘Infinite Youth’ via Humblebrag Records, which explores the intertwined journey between adolescence and adulthood.

So far, the release has been highlighted by songs like “My Love,” “H.N.Y.B.” and “GOD,” the latter of which was accompanied by a self-directed and edited video with the help of Martin Sagadin, that played on the song’s theme and mixed it with Merk’s obsession with video glitch art while fastened in lockdown.

The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with Merk about “Infinite Youth’ and more.

Music Bugle – What directly inspired your single “GOD”? 

Merk – It started as a semi-ironic tongue-in-cheek song, but the more I worked on it, the more I realized I was being quite sincere in my questioning of our existence and what lies “beyond.” Ya know, small stuff like that!

Music Bugle – How would you describe Auckland, New Zealand to someone who has never been there before? 

Merk – World-class music scene, mild climate, bad public transport. 

Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?

Merk – Lately, I’m binging Gustav Mahler, Kane Strang’s new album and Paul Simon’s ‘Still Crazy After All These Years.’

Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Merk – This time last year, my band and I had just finished months of rehearsals in preparation for SXSW, when the week of our departure, the whole world shut down. Releasing music without the opportunity to tour it is weird, but we’re making do! However, in other ways, not much has changed! I’m a home studio guy, so I still work from home, making noises in my laboratory.

Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need an escape? 

Merk – To the West Coast beaches in Auckland. The landscape is very beautifully epic and rugged!

Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do? 

Merk – When I’m finding the work hard and uninspiring, I often come back to this quote from Ernest Hemingway talking about writing which I relate to – “Don’t get discouraged because there’s a lot of mechanical work to writing. There is and you can’t get out of it… You’ve got to work it over. The first draft of anything is shit. When you first start to write, you get all the kick and the reader gets none, but after you learn to work, it’s your object to convey everything to the reader so that he remembers it not as a story he had read, but something that happened to himself. That’s the true test of writing. When you can do that, the reader gets the kick and you don’t get any. You just get hard work and the better you write, the harder it is, because every story has to be better than the last one. It’s the hardest work there is. I like to do and can do many things better than I can write, but when I don’t write, I feel like shit. I’ve got the talent and I feel that I’m wasting it.”

Music Bugle – What’s something that you wish happened more in today’s music industry? 

Merk – There’s plenty to work on! Safer and more accountable working environments, more diversity, fairer pay for artists, more support for mental health.

Music Bugle – What has been your proudest accomplishment so far? 

Merk – Writing a song about swirlies that made on to the national news.

Music Bugle – Away from music, what’s something people might be surprised to know about you? 

Merk – I’m in a netball team with a bunch of my other musician friends! We lose every week, but we have lots of fun!

Music Bugle – What do you hope for from the rest of 2021? 

Merk – Really excited to share these new songs with everyone and play them live in NZ and… hopefully… overseas?!

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