Hi Anna, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I’ve been good!! Just trying to get myself organized/orient myself – I’m off work right now so I’m feeling a little loosey goosey.
Can you tell us more about the story behind your track ¨Kicking You Out¨?
Of course! I was staying at my cousins’ place in Ottawa – I was 17, still in highschool so it must have been Christmas holidays – and it was probably late at night or early morning… I remember feeling morose, thinking about the boy I was in love with at the time. I’d been hanging on to being in love with him for 2 years. He was lukewarm mostly, sometimes cruel, and very occasionally interested in me. It was a roller coaster and I was a bit pathetic about it. So I was thinking about all that… and I had just begun to be writing more songs and having this conception of myself as an artist – I think it was on that trip that I thought of the name Merival – so I was looking ahead to where I was going to go and cultivating this ‘fame dream’ (hence the first line of the song). I really wanted to move to Montreal. I thought that was going to be a part of my future. So I was imagining my future self having moved away, in a space of my own, new and different and grown but still facing down the years of pain that this guy had put me through and that I’d put myself through as well. I thought it would be hard to let go of. Maybe it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Did any event in particular inspire the song?
I don’t think so… I think it was a lull in the ‘relationship’ – sometimes we were together-ish or at least closer, and sometimes there was a lot of distance that was painful for me, so I think it was one of those times.
The single comes off your new EP Lovers – what´s the story behind the title?
Hah! The five songs on the EP cover 3 different relationships I went through before I was 20. I used to feel a little bad about mostly writing songs about the romantic turmoil in my life (if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s probably being in the middle of romantic turmoil) – like, oh man, what a cliché. Stop writing about love already!!! But I’ve made peace with it now, and when thinking about the EP I sort of just thought, “well, if this is what it is, we might as well go the whole 9 yards. It’s about my lovers, why dress it up and try to make it more than that?”
How was the recording and writing process?
The writing and recording processes were so far away from eachother.. the recording process was extremely easy I think because of that space. I mean, the song has had almost 6 years to hang out in my brain and I’ve been playing it at shows for most of that time, so it’s very comfortable now. There wasn’t any doubt about the arrangement or anything, because it’s all been set for so long.
How have Toronto and its scene influenced you musically?
My peers are inspiring! It’s amazing to be able to go and see local music for not very many dollars and then just hang out with amazing people. The more I go out, the more people I meet, the more I see they’re all connected and everyone’s in eachother’s bands and you see where everyone is on their different journeys. It’s been great to hang out with friends who are making a living off their music… it seems so much more attainable when your buddy’s doing it as opposed to someone at a distance from you.
What have you learned from your days working with the likes of Ryan Hemsworth, Stars and more?
Not sure I’m really qualified to answer this question, to be honest. My friend Jon (Swim Good) is the one with all the connections. We do a lot of collaborations over the internet – it’s not like we all sit in a room together and hang out and shoot the shit, or at least I don’t. Maybe they’re hanging out without me……….. hahaha. I can say that Ryan is a super super nice guy though! He’s got really cool ideas, on top of the fact that he’s so friendly and polite. Jon is sort of a master of just boldly reaching out to people, so I guess I could say I’ve learned that collaborating with people you admire is maybe easier than you think? I dunno. I’m not great at it. Email is a blessing though. I get anxious about phone calls so at least we have technology I can hide behind, should I want to reach out.
Any plans to hit the road?
Yes! I’m heading out on tour mid-March actually! Southern Ontario and then a couple dates on the way out to Halifax and back. It’s going to be hilarious. I’ve never toured before. It’s going to be me and my 19-year-old brother in my mother’s Buick just tearin’ up the highways. I’ll be surprised if the car doesn’t break down, haha.
What else is happening next in Merival´s world?
I have hazy plans for a full-length in 2017… it’s percolating! Stay tuned!