On the heels of a brand new EP, we had a chance to talk with Cleveland’s collab-centered project The Merrier. Each song features a unique vocalist and serves as a strange microcosm of the local scene.
Q. Tell us a bit about what inspired you to start The Merrier. Was it always intended to have collaborators from the start – and is this something you plan to keep for the longevity of the project?A: gorillaz and short fictions really inspired me. I almost dipped out of music till i heard “Living in places like these can be bad for your health” by short fictions, that song truly opened me up to the emo scene. I always wanted to do a collab project, since middle school, bending genres and just experimenting. the only problem was figuring out the format to do it and learn how to record myself and find the TIME to do it. Covid basically solved all of that once i had months to figure all that out without interruption.
A:I don’t ever see myself getting away from this format. I love it. I get to work with bands i listen to every day, with no pressure from the label or anyone. I do it on my time when I feel like it and I don’t have to worry about the typical drama that typically comes from a normal band. the more bands the merrier!!!! i would encourage anyone who may not love being in a band but wants to create music with people to try this format, but you’ll never get a better fitting name than the merrier lol
Q. Your second release, If We Fall Asleep Too Early, was released a few days ago. What has the initial reception been like? Was there anything you were hesitant about?
A: the response has been great, I’ve never had ppl just tweet at me about the music and how they like it. bands I really love and have never talked to were retweeting and talking about it, which is fucking crazy to me. numbers are fleeting, but the kind things people have said will always stick. i do not want to act like I’m some wizard who doesn’t look or care about the numbers, but the things people have said have been so cool.
I didn’t feel worried about anything because I had a ton of fun making it. Do you know how cool it is to be able to text and go back and forth with a band like hey, ily? extremely cool. i try not to set too many expectations about the release. As long as I’m enjoying the process
Q. It’s risky switching up vocalists between songs. Even bands with co-vocalists can often feel like they have split personalities. How do you navigate this tension in choosing the vocalists to work with? Side note – it reminds me a bit of the ethos of Glowbug’s Headhunters album.
A: deff very risky, you never know what you’re going to get, the quality, or when you’re even going to get the tracks! at the end of the day i ask people i trust and respect as musicians, and i want them to help shape the song. if they turn the song in a direction I wasn’t planning, GOOD! it’s an honor to have these musicians on these songs and to have them shape the merrier. it’s not always easy, but it’s always fun and exciting
Q. Community seems to be at the heart of this project What’s the Cleveland music scene like? What’s great about it, and what’s something you’d like to see in the future? Is there anyone you’d like to shout out?
A: the cle music scene has alot going on, bands that are doing emo ballads like learning curve, lots of amazing rap/hyperpop from masakiio & ponz the angel, fun twinkle emo stuff from mr. princess or mud whale.
major shout out to masakiio, learning curve, ponz the angel, drag daze, leave nelson b and mr. princess for always believing in me and supporting me in cleveland
Q. The industry has definitely drifted from album and long-form works to singles and more bite-sized things. How do you feel about this as a creator? What does it look like to leave a creative legacy behind?
a: I LOVE EPS. a shorter format lets me focus on a theme and sound. it lets me trim the excess stuff out. as for a legacy…i dunno im just trying to enjoy things while im here. if im remembered for anything id like to be remembered as a person that cared and tries to treat people the right way.
Q. Favorite pizza chain?
A: best chain? donatos….best pizza in cle is edison’s pizza
Q. Anything else you’d like to share?
a: please listen to the bands on my songs. they inspire me to get better, and i hope they have as much fun working on these as i do. pretty obvious but this is impossible without them! SHOUT OUT LONELY GHOST RECORDS FOREVER, THEY ARE A BLESSING WHEN I NEEDED IT MOST