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Music Chats: Mild Orange

Back with a brand new release; earlier this month, rising New Zealand band Mild Orange shared their highly anticipated album, Looking For SpaceMade up of friends Mehrt, Jah, Barry and Jack; since their debut release back in 2017, they have been going from strength to strength with their ever-growing cult following spanning across the world – from London to Sydney to Los Angeles. With an exciting year ahead, and new music and live shows on the horizon, their brand new album, Looking For Space, follows on from their earlier single Oh YeahDelivering vibrant and up-tempo indie, pop-rock vibes, Looking For Space is a perfect new addition to their rapidly growing discography. Ahead of the release, we sat down with Mild Orange to chat about the album, plans for 2022, and what we can expect from them next.  

TSU: How’s it going? How has your start to 2022 been?

Mehrt: Brilliant. Stoked to have shared the album with the world finally, and we’re back playing music internationally – living a dream!

Jah: We’re great, thanks! So happy to be back playing shows abroad and releasing new music.

Barry: Bloody good! Got to enjoy an amazing New Zealand summer and I’m now on a world tour with my mates. Can’t beat it!

Jack: Great way to kick the new year off with a hot summer filled with fishing, pumping waves and swimming in some of New Zealand’s most scenic and prehistoric looking watering holes. Now I’m in a London Winter.. Although I’m very excited to be traveling abroad playing shows in some of the coolest cities and eating nice food e.g “Joe’s Pizza NYC”!!

TSU: Hailing from New Zealand, how would you say the local music scene influenced you sonically. And who are some of your favourite Kiwi artists?

Mehrt: I think the environment of NZ has been our greatest influence. We write and record in beautiful spaces and immerse ourselves in nature a lot. We don’t really get too scene-y because we haven’t been living in music scene areas, not since university days. My favourite Kiwi artists are OMC and Marlin’s Dreaming.

Jah: Yeah, Mehrt summed it up well. A few of my favourite kiwi artists would be Marlin’s Dreaming and Heavy Chest.

Barry: The landscape in Aotearoa is beautiful and certainly inspiring. Musically, my favourite Kiwi artists are Marlon Williams and The Beths

Jack: Favourite kiwi bands for me are Fat Freddy’s drop, Salmonella Dub and Marlins Dreaming to name a few

TSU: As a four-piece band, how do you manage to bring all your individual sounds, tastes and artistic visions together to create one homogenous ‘Mild Orange’ sound?

Mehrt: By giving each of us space and trust within the process. We know pretty well by now how each of us work and thrive best.

Barry: Agree with Mehrt here. We all have different influences but are able to trust the process and amalgamate everything into a beautiful sonic experience.

Jack: I just make noise; boom boom, crash bang

TSU: What made you want to start making music together?

Jah: It was quite a natural decision really. I moved into a flat with Mehrt and soon after we discovered our shared love for playing music. We began jamming, which turned into the bones of ‘Foreplay’. The following year, we recruited Jack and Barry to bring the project to life. Since then, we’ve all become great friends and the creative side has always been pretty effortless.

Jack: Whilst at university (2017) there was a strong indie/surf rock band scene, and being a spectator on the outside, I wanted in. Hence, the formation of Mild Orange. Bands that inspired me during this time were Albion Place, Gromz, Marlins Dreaming, The Shambles and Soaked Oats.

TSU: You recently released your single ‘Oh Yeah’, a really mellow and almost lo-fi indie, alt-rock track. What were you wanting to achieve sonically with the song?

Mehrt: To me it sounds like how a beach house in NZ looks. The paint on the wooden framing has begun flaking and chipping off, revealing a dry and splintered timber beneath. Any sign of metal is turning rusty thanks to the ocean spray. There’s an old school radio that plays the National radio all day long in the kitchen, which overlooks a rough patch of lawn leading out to a couple flax bushes which part to reveal the Pacific Ocean in the distance. Everything is worn and imperfect in the most beautiful of ways. Now take that vision and film it on 16mm, and you get the sonic aesthetic goal for the warm crunch of ‘Oh Yeah’.

TSU: You also released the single alongside a stunning beach-themed music video, featuring a couple exploring the surf town of Biarritz, France. What was the inspiration behind the visuals and what was the whole creative process like?

Mehrt: We put an ad out on Instagram to our fans to see if any of them would like to work with us on a video. Simon Levalois Bazer (the ‘Oh Yeah’ director) reached out. We instantly loved what we saw of his work (check out his other surf films!). He came up with the shoot concept after hearing the song. Working with Simon was awesome, he’s such a nice dude and became a friend in the process. We largely left him to it, since his ideas were spot on, but I contributed some edit sequencing ideas to help tell the story better, and I did the titling. Simon, Evan and Clothilde absolutely nailed it!

TSU: Following on from ‘Oh Yeah’, you’re also set to release your brand new album, ‘Looking For Space’ later this month. What can listeners expect from the album, and can you tell us a bit about the creative process and inspiration?

Jah: Expect a bigger, fuller sound on this album. Less bedroom pop, more stadium rock and everything in between. It’s a genre spanning record and I think there is something for everyone on here. The creative process took us to 6 different locations across NZ. We were recording/writing in some very isolated and beautiful parts of the country, including beach houses and an alpine lodge. As Mehrt touched on earlier, this undoubtedly played a part in shaping the record.

TSU: You’re also about to embark on your 2022, ‘Looking For Space’ Tour that kicks off this month. How does it feel to be back on tour, and what can fans expect from you this tour?

Barry: Super exciting to be back on the road, it’s been a couple ‘interesting’ years since we last toured overseas. We’re excited to show fans a taste from each of our albums, combined into a highly energetic set.

TSU: Over the last several years, how would you say you’ve changed or developed as a band?

Mehrt: We’ve become more confident of what we’re doing and where we’re headed.

Barry: We’ve become a lot more tight musically, but also as mates. We love hanging out together.

TSU: With an exciting 2022 ahead, what are your main goals for the year?

Mehrt: Tour, continue working on album 4, keep on groovin’

Jah: Play as much as we can and hunker down to work on new music.

Barry: Continue to grow as a group. We still have much more to do and achieve.

Jack: Keep progressing internationally.

Find Mild Orange on all their socials: @mild_orange

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