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Weyes Blood performs in The Current studio

L to R: Eliana Athayde and Weyes Blood (Natalie Mering) perform in The Current studio.
L to R: Eliana Athayde and Weyes Blood (Natalie Mering) perform in The Current studio.Kiera Faye for MPR
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by Mark Wheat

May 21, 2019

Weyes Blood - Wild Time (Live at The Current)
by MPR
Weyes Blood - Something To Believe (Live at The Current)
by MPR
Weyes Blood - Picture Me Better (Live at The Current)
by MPR

In Weyes Blood's latest release, Titanic Rising, tides rise, trees fall, and big, haunting questions about the future of our planet are played out in strikingly intimate scenarios.

Weyes Blood, which is the brainchild of singer-songwriter Natalie Mering, stopped by The Current's studio Monday for a stripped-down performance ahead of her sold-out show at the Turf Club on Tuesday, May 21. The trio, which includes Walt McClements on piano and Eliana Athayde on bass, played three songs off Titanic Rising. Mering began the interview chatting with host Mark Wheat about her summer tour and about landing a slot opening for Kacey Musgraves this coming fall.

Visuals serve an important role in Mering's artistic vision, and her early fascination with the sweeping orchestrals of film scores influenced her writing early on in her career, so much so that Mering admits her family thought her early work sounded like a horror-movie soundtrack.

"In our culture [there's] a brainwashing and emotional manipulation that goes on in movies and yet [they're] all we have in the way of universal myths or shared public experience," Mering says. "I kind of had to rebel against them when I realized what they really were. I didn't watch movies for three years from [ages] 12 to 15.

"I couldn't stand it anymore," Mering continues. "I just wanted the reality."

The album's title, Titanic Rising, is a nod to both the "iconic tragedy," as Mering puts it, and the blockbuster success of its film adaptation. The way our culture processes tragedies like the Titanic, and on a grander scale, climate change, is one of the main themes running through the album. "Truth has died according to the internet," Mering says in reference to a line in the song "Wild Time." "I do think some of the songs are a cross between bigger picture and a microcosm of how we personally experience these colossal changes in the world and in society."

On the song "Something to Believe" she sings, "Give me something I can see. Something bigger and louder than the voices in me."

During the recording process, Mering turned to Jonathan Rado of the band Foxygen, who has a preference for analog recording methods. The album's accompanying visuals share a unifying aesthetic. In the video for "Movies," Mering is projected underwater in front of a theater of viewers, and on the cover of the album, she sits serenely in a flooded room. In this image, the album's undercurrents are evident — the massive tragedy of a flood made manifest on the micro level of personal interior space. For both the video and the cover, Mering took actual trips underwater. "If the water's warm, you can stay under there for a long time," she explains. "If you relax and try not to think about the fact that you're not breathing, you can kind of chill for quite a bit. Once you start thinking about it; that's when your body's like, 'Breathe.'"

Songs Performed

"Wild Time"
"Something To Believe"
"Picture Me Better"
All songs from Weyes Blood's 2019 album, Titanic Rising, available on Sub Pop Records.

Hosted by Mark Wheat
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Michael DeMark
Visuals by Kiera Faye and Minju Kim
Web feature by Lydia Moran

Weyes Blood - official site