Natalie Mering’s fourth album, “Titanic Rising,” has been receiving outstanding reviews for it’s sentimental ode to living. Mering speaks of modern-day issues and uses such brilliant symbolism to do so. There’s a powerful nostalgic impression that is left with you. I had the opportunity to speak to Mering regarding the topics of her latest album release while tapping into her mind to learn more about her views and statements.
Titanic Rising - what pushed you to commit to this title? How did Titanic influence the album?
As a kid I was completely fascinated by the tragedy of the Titanic, it’s the ultimate tale of man’s hubris and our inability to conquer the mysteries of nature. These days we’re living under a looming existential crisis of climate change; man’s hubris is at the forefront of our minds. It felt very poignant to me that my generation was fostered on a hugely successful movie about the Titanic but to little effect. The meaning of that story seems lost in time, only to come back and haunt us in more complex ways.
You’ve said the album is ‘drenched in symbolism,’ was this something you knew you wanted to be apparent when you started writing the album? Or was this a natural progression?
I think it’s both- I follow one symbol and it leads to another. It’s like a rabbit hole.
It’s no secret that Enyais an inspiration and influence on this album. When were you first introduced to her music? What do you believe you connected to the most regarding her music?
I listened toEnyaa lot as a kid. I knew she was a sacred feminine drone band even though most people thought it was mall music. I think it’s always been more than that, more sacred and sonically interesting than most music. It’s ancient, sensitive, futuristic, and massively appealing. Quite the phenomenon to me.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge with breaking down the barrier of overpowering today’s “influencers?” Do you think there is any chance that nostalgic style of music may one day be able to take back modern culture the way it felt like it once did?
Most popular culture these days is nostalgic. I think if it ever resonated with everybody all at once, then of course it would “take back” modern culture as you say, and it has in some ways through movies and music time and time again, it always finds it's way back in. Has to be futuristic and nostalgic at the same time. Those lines will continue to be blurred. I think most people’s ears are used to different sounds by now, and that’s mostly the fault of the record companies and radio stations taking ZERO chances. The music industry has already lost so much money once people stopped buying CDs, they have to create No fail artists. And there’s not a lot of room for creativity when it can’t fail. If they took a chance who knows where people’s threshold would lie.
Film seems to be a centerpiece for ‘Titanic Rising.’ I know you occasionally write with Michael of Drugdealer, who is massively into film, did he have any push with this?
I think we both always wanted to make movies and music all at once, we had a similar vision for creating an entire universe that included the nostalgia of music and innovation of modern filmmaking. We’re kids raised in the 90’s who watched a lot of movies and fell in love with a lot of soundtracks. Michael definitely gave me the confidence that I could direct my own videos, and I’m a big fan of the videos he’s made.
Feminism and female quality seem to be a major topic when it comes to the way you view the world. When did you first delve into this topic?
I guess I didn’t learn about real feminism until my early 20s, cause I spent most of my youth thinking being a feminist meant “just being one of the boys”. My perception of it continues to evolve as I change as a woman, and watch how our world changes. I always feel like I’m rediscovering the pain, and the bliss of being a woman.
Do you think that activism through music can make any type of significant impact? Do you think within the last three years it has done anything major within the view of the public eye?
I think it can have an accumulative effect overtime - this is a great wish for a lot of artists, to have their music impact people and inspire change. We still look back on the 60’s as the pinnacle of forward thinking reaching mainstream audiences through music, and a lot has changed since then. Artist’s are still here and being as vocal as before, but there’s more ways for people to be distracted and have their time and hope sucked away. It’s a slow process that seems less centered around art and more centered around social media. I try my best not to be fatalistic when it comes to the political impact of music, the butterfly effect is real and music is like a seed that can grow in people and make them act. The #metoo movement was definitely extremely major and inspired by a lot of women in music.
Do you believe both the music industry and film industry have shifted at all over the last two years with these new movements? What stands out to you the most?
I think it’s obvious that Hollywood is becoming more self aware of its whiteness, and in the process exploring other perspectives and worlds with more diligence than ever before, but it still just the beginning.
You mentioned being a solo musician was never your plan. What did you foresee for yourself when you were in your youth?
I wanted to be a “girl in a band”. I wanted to be like Tina Weymouthor Kim Gordon, I wanted to be in a tribe. Turns out I was too much of a visionary to ever find my peers.
courtesy WEYES BLOOD
photography JESSICA GWYNETH
words SARAH MORRISON
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