By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Influenced by similar predecessors like Yob, High On Fire and Weedeater, Spokane, Wash.-based psychedelic stoner doom act Merlock will drop their new five-track EP ‘You Cannot Be Saved’ on Nov. 19, 2021, which the band has deemed their “reintroduction to the world.”
The EP was engineered by Jamie Yeats and Wayne Randall at Black Magick Studios, mixed by Nicholas Wilbur at The Unknown and mastered by Uncle Randy at Sky Ranch Studios.
Merlock – whose current lineup is composed of lead vocalist/lead guitarist Taylor D. Waring, bassist Andrew Backes and drummer Lucas Wild Barrey – will support ‘You Cannot Be Saved’ with a namesake tour this month, with dates in California, Nevada, Utah and Idaho.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with Waring about ‘You Cannot Be Saved’ and more.
Music Bugle – How did you decide on the band name “Merlock”?
Taylor D. Waring – Our first idea for a band name was “Grimelord,” which is the name of the first track on ‘You Cannot Be Saved.’ We dug it, but it didn’t quite fit the sound we were developing at the time. A friend was talking to me about “murlocs” from the “WoW” universe, but I misheard it and assumed it was a dope wizard or something. When I brought it up to the band, it just seemed to encapsulate the gloomy, quasi-mystical path we were undertaking. When we realized it was also a wizard in “Duck Tales 2,” it sealed the deal. As much as we’re very serious about what we do, we all have a good sense of humor about it.
Music Bugle – What was your goal for your EP ‘You Cannot Be Saved’?
Taylor D. Waring – We wanted to take a step back after ‘That Which Speaks…’ and examine how we wanted to move forward as a band in terms of the recording process. ‘That Which Speaks…’ was all done to a click in the studio, so the sound quality is really great, but something got lost in the process. ‘You Cannot Be Saved’ sought to find what was lost in translation. It’s a little rough around the edges, but it prepared us quite well to record the follow-up a couple months later.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Taylor D. Waring – Possibility. As we grow more as a band and learn to trust each other, we’re able to go to some really interesting places. So many of our songs come out of jamming over riffs and improving as a three-piece, so we’ve learned to communicate in this really organic, unspoken way. With that level of communication and understanding, we’re able to kind of drift off into the unknown, but always find our way back to Earth.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Spokane, Washington to someone who has never been there before?
Taylor D. Waring – It’s beautiful, but also kind of brutal at times. We’re all transplants, so we all kind of have this outsider perspective on it. I think the town has “good bones,” you might say. There’s lots of really great possibilities here.
Music Bugle – What has been your favorite memory while onstage?
Taylor D. Waring – Uh, due to various circumstances and life decisions, we don’t always have the clearest memory of what happens on stage.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Taylor D. Waring – I’m listening to the new Mastodon album right now and I’m really stoked on it. Big, proggy, huge hooks. Love it. Otherwise, I’ve been listening to AFI’s ‘Sing The Sorrow’ quite a bit, some Type-O and Ahab. Oh, and I finally got a copy of Tempel’s ‘On The Steps Of The Temple.’
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Taylor D. Waring – Like any tool, you’ve got to know how to use it. For us, it has been incredibly important to our growth and we wouldn’t be where we are without it. From being able to book tours to creating hype for our releases, it’s foundational to the business side of things. If you have a DIY ethos, it’s one of the most important tools at your disposal. Plus, it’s fucka fun to meet all the zoinked weirdos out there who share our sense of humor.
Music Bugle – Which of your new songs do you feel best describes what ‘You Cannot Be Saved’ is all about?
Taylor D. Waring – The title actually comes from the lyrics to “Final Condemnation,” which is a revisited track off of ‘That Which Speaks…’ and I’m not totally sure where those lyrics came from, but I think it’s the darkest track on the release by a long shot. It’s introspective, with its finger wagging though.
Music Bugle – What has been your biggest challenge lately?
Taylor D. Waring – Balancing booking and promoting a tour at the same time as a release has been a tactical error. Balancing all the moving parts of our ecosystem, both as band members and people, has been tough. Luckily, we all have really rad, supportive partners who understand how important this band is to us and help out whenever they can.
Music Bugle – What’s the next step for the band?
Taylor D. Waring – Next year, we’re hoping to tour a bit more and put out our next record, which was recorded earlier this year in Anacortes, Washington. It’s colossal and a huge step forward for us, so we’re hoping to find some support for a vinyl release. Other than that, we’ll probably get around to writing the next one, but with having the next one already in the pocket, we’re not in too big of a hurry.