Music / Features
They Made Me Do It -
Talking Influences with M.W.
Words by Conor Lochrie
Wednesday June 24th, 2020
Our friends at Spoilsport Records are bringing us another excellent release with a collection of jangling and personal demos from bedroom-pop gem M.W., and ahead of its release next week, we had Meaghan talk us through some of the inspiration behind the tracks.
A growing presence in Melbourne’s DIY community, the debut tape of M.W. - the initials of musician Meaghan Weiley - is a welcome solo release. Weiley was a member of fellow Spoilsport Records alum Dragnet and House Deposit, who released two excellent albums last year (All Rise For Dragnet and Reward For Effort respectively) and is now ready to provide a keener insight into her own sound with Coruscant. These demos take Weiley away from the energetic punk of Dragnet but remain a few steps closer to the House Deposit style, retaining the jangling beats and introspective lyricism.

Coruscant is bedroom pop in the truest sense of the term, where now Spotify have diluted it by applying bedroom pop to the most unbecoming artists. The demo is raw and real while maintaining a consistent level of quality. It weaves tales of personal experience, simple in presentation but all the more affecting for it - when Weiley speaks in such an honest manner, it’s endearingly charming. On ‘Bug Bites’ she wearily sings “drinking coffee just isn’t good for me / nothing good comes from psychosis by caffeine” while on ‘Head On Straight’ she implores herself to get her life on track.

As the wistfully melancholic guitar of songs like ‘Comedown Off High Street’ and ‘Best In Show’ fades, memories of the minimal but memorable indie-pop produced by bands like Gaze and The Softies that emerged from America’s Pacific Northwest in the 1990’s become imminently clear. A place on the opposite coast gives its name to the driving jangle track ‘Lake Placid, New York’ (both the site of the famous 1980 Winter Olympics and where Lana Del Rey spent her formative years) with Weiley recounting a story of friends playing ice hockey. ‘Sumthing Safe’ is the highlight of the demos, an intensely melodic tune which features a wry and considered spoken word midsection.

Bandcamp legend turned indie icon Alex G is a clear influence over the whole M.W. sound. Coruscant possesses the same fragile but fascinating vocals and rudimentary recording techniques that Alex G’s earlier records do; while the Philadelphia musician mainly used GarageBand, it’s not difficult to imagine him utilising phone voice memos for recording as Weiley has done here. Alex G is undoubtedly one of the most covered independent artists across the internet but Weiley’s lighter melancholic version of his unreleased masterwork ‘Nintendo 64’ has more than enough about it to merit its inclusion at Coruscant’s closing. As she sings lines like “My girlfriend told me that she doesn’t love me anymore / And I wish I didn’t care but I thought she was really cool”, it’s clear the kinship she possesses with Alex G given their commitment to intimate and honest personal songwriting.

Coruscant is scheduled for release on 10th July, with Spoilsport Records running a limited 50 tapes - it should also be noted that all profits from this tape will be donated to Black Rainbow, a national advocacy platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBQTI peoples.

We caught up with Meaghan to delve further into the influences behind the demos and the ones she cites are hilariously varied - respect is paid to a forgotten franchise of children’s films from the early 1990’s, at the same time as discussing the aforementioned Alex G in personal detail. Read what Meaghan has to say about these and more below.

Alex G
Over the years Alex G has become one of my major musical influences. A true king of bedroom indie, he’s a fantastic storyteller, and has this talent of writing about dark stuff but making it feel warm, encasing everything in this real nostalgic energy. I aspire to write like that.

Ben Folds Five
The first instrument I learned was piano, mainly ‘cause my parents have had the same CDs in the car for like 15 years and Ben Folds Five’s one of them. I did a song (or two?) of theirs for my Year 12 HSC Music exams. I haven’t played piano properly since.

'R.I.P.' - Joji feat. Trippie Redd
This song’s honestly so sad but so awesome. Like it’s so straight up about caring for someone so much that you’d be willing to end your life for them… it’s brutal. I tried to recreate the real crunchy sound of the beat on a couple earlier songs I did, using this half-broken, battery powered keyboard with drum buttons. Not sure if it really worked haha. But anyway yeah, Joji rules - and Trippie’s emotion here is powerful. Heaps of people hate on it but I reckon it’s sick.

The Spirit of the Beehive
I find myself coming back to this band a lot whenever I’m writing. They’re really beautiful and really inspiring cause they’re always a lot going on in their tracks that you might not necessarily pick up on first listen. Little bit sad but wholesome indie music - the best kind.

Ice hockey films
One of the tracks on the tape was written immediately after a back-to-back viewing of The Mighty Ducks trilogy and Miracle. Quack...quack...quack…quack…
Coruscant is out on Friday July 10th via Spoilsport Records.