For the majority of the folk that visit this site, Meursault will be a band with whom you are very familiar. If you haven’t come across the Edinburgh ‘folktronica’ outfit then you are in for a bit of a treat. Their debut album, ‘Pissing On Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues’ was one my personal favoiurites in 2009 (yes I know it came out in 2008, but I was a bit late on catching on).
My initial interest in the band was spurred by a message board comment which described them as an ‘electronic Frightened Rabbit’. Upon reflection this was pretty wide of the mark, then again I guess anyone singing with a Scottish accent these days tends to get lumped under that banner. The first thing that will hit you when hearing Meursault is the power of lead singer, Neil Pennycook’s voice. On top of this they have a combination of drum machines, guitars, banjos, synthesisers and even a ukulele, to produce a sound which is uniquely theirs. In a live experience it can be simply mind blowing.
Would you care to introduce yourself?
Hello. I am Meursault. Sometimes I play music on my own. sometimes I play music with my friends (they are also called Meursault).
How would you describe the music you make?
How did you start out making music?
With a Les Paul copy that my best friend sold me for £20. I recorded everything I wrote and eventually became confident enough to ask friends to help.
What process goes into the way you write songs?
I write the words then try to soundtrack them using whatever rhythmic elements are there to help build the tune. I start recording at this stage and let the parts fall into place as naturally as possible, if it doesn’t work then I’ll generally leave that idea on the shelf for a while and come back to it later with fresh ears.
Who are your big musical influences?
I’ve always liked Neil Young, he’s the only constant that springs to mind. Recently, The Notwist, Mark Kozelek, Microphones, Daniel Johnston, Casiotone For The Painfully Alone, (early) Sebadoh, Low.
There’s has been some criticism of the manner in which your latest album was produced, how do you feel about this? and why did you choose to deliberately go for this type of sound?
I don’t know how I feel about that really. The album’s as I wanted it to be so it kind of doesn’t matter to me if people don’t agree. I didn’t really choose the sound in a lot of ways. The thing about recording at home means making the best of what limited resources you have. The plus side of all this is that you get to know and understand what equipment you do have a lot better as you have less of it. It was deliberate in the sense that I knew what I could achieve with what I had and I knew that this approach was a more appealling prospect than spending time in a studio where I didn’t really understand the process.
You have built up quite a big fan base in Edinburgh, and Scotland for that matter. How difficult is it for you to move on to that ‘next step’, without the financial backing of a bigger (sorry Matthew) label?
I’m not sure if anyone could accurately tell me what the ‘next step’ is for a band like Meursault in the current climate. Everything seems to be progressing fairly naturally and at a good pace and that’s good enough for me.
You were out on tour in Europe recently, do you recognise that as being a more viable market places, as opposed to a UK scene which is so heavily influenced by the NME?
I just recognise it as a good way to play music in cool places and to different people… the response at the majority of the shows was fantastic but I find it hard to think about it in terms of being more viable…probably best ask the label that one
Are there any plans for you to go over to the US in the future?
Hopefully, we have some friends who are keen to have us over to the west coast for a short tour.
Lastly, what can we expect to see/hear from you in 2010?
Lots of shows, festivals, another European tour in November and hopefully the fruits of a new project that I’m starting with a couple of friends, similar in theory to ‘Cold Seeds‘ but probably a lot more electronic.
Meursault – Crank Resolutions (Live at the Queen’s Hall)
Meursault’s second album, ‘All Creatures Will Make Merry’ is officially released this week on Song, by Toad Records. You can order yourself a copy for the measly sum of ten pounds, over at Song By Toad Records. I strongly urge that you get investing.
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Photo Credit: Stech