Singer Weyes Blood is a master at world building. Through her retro nostalgic visuals, haunting vocals and honest lyricism, she is a shining light in the alternative folk genre, bringing a contemporary voice to age old themes. Natalie Mering is the mind behind the music. The LA-based artist has just wrapped her In Holy Flux Tour: The Resurrection, where she brought her 2022 album And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow to life for crowds across the UK and Europe. Outside of touring, this year has seen Mering perform at Glastonbury Festival, as well as conducting the soundtrack and walking the runway for Proenza Schouler’s 2024 Spring Summer fashion show in New York. It was a collaboration that felt fitting for an artist whose image is as thoughtfully expressed as her sound. In an interview with Schön!, Mering talks about her early influences, appreciating fashion as art, and some of her favourite crowd moments.
You’re currently on tour. What is your favourite part about performing your music live?
My favorite part of performing is always the unique way you connect with audiences in different places, sometimes it’s an unspoken silence and other times it gets a little rowdy and wild. Even though my music is melancholic and slow I love when people dance and scream. It’s so the opposite of what you think should happen. I also appreciate when you can drop a pin in the room and hear it. [It’s] great to have both extremes.
Do you have any rituals before going on stage?
I warm up vocally, always. You gotta transform out of mundane reality, too. Lately, we’ve been kicking a soccer ball around because it’s a little dangerous indoors. It gets us slightly more unhinged, like anything could happen, and keeps us on our toes, literally.
Is there a city so far where the crowds have been the best?
São Paulo, Brazil was wild, everybody singing along. [It was] bizarre to hear that kind of roar. Glasgow is always a super rowdy crowd, too, with some of the best shout outs. I think last time we heard an older gentlemen scream out “I’m really enjoyin’ myself!”
Now that it’s a year on from the release of your last album, how do you feel the music has grown with you since?
Albums always evolve overtime, especially playing the songs every night. I’ve loved watching the live arrangements really blossom and certain lyrics really catching on with people. It always brings me so much joy to see the songs I took a big risk on end up being the ones that people connect to. It’s a nice indicator that it’s ok to trust your gut, even if it’s scary.
What would you say your current music says about the era that you’re in right now?
It says I’m a pretty open bleeding heart, I guess? I feel like this album is my romance novel, except the romance is with your own internal dialogue.
Your musical work also crossed over into the world of fashion. How was your experience conducting the music and walking for Proenza Schouler’s fashion show?
I was always a bit weary of fashion because I struggle relating to artifice but Jack and Lazaro from Proenza are as real as you can get. Impeccable taste in music and deeper ideas. It was beautiful to think of clothing as art which is something I hadn’t really done that often, comparing the textures of fabric and the look of a piece with sonic textures and sentiments. The adjectives they used to describe their collection really opened my eyes a bit and I understood why my music made sense. Walking in it was just a little icing on the cake.
When you’re not playing music, what can we find you doing?
Probably watching a DVD, renting DVDs or streaming Criterion Channel. I go through long periods of smashing movies left and right. At least one a day keeps the doctor away. Conversely, I also love swimming, any nautical activity. I’m at the beach when I can be. I love sunlight and being outside with my Pomeranian Luigi.
Are there any records you heard growing up that you think shaped your sound today?
From my dad’s vault, XTC English Settlement and Weather Report Heavy Weather. My mum loved Joni Mitchell, even her 90s records like Night Ride Home. She also loved Judy Garland. One of my parents’ records that both me and my brothers were obsessed with was Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book. I still listen to it a lot today when I need to go back to a special feeling.
Can you share one track that you will never get tired of?
I will always get a thrill from Love’s Alone Again Or, the first track off of Forever Changes. This song has an incredible sentiment. It’s produced with all the drama of life baked into it. Maybe the best encapsulation of whatever the hell was going on in LA in the 60s.
This Schön! online exclusive has been produced by
photography. Ambar Navarro
fashion. Lindsey Hartman
talent. Weyes Blood
hair + make up. Leticia Llesmin
EP. Zoe Rosenberg
set design. Charlie Han
photography + lighting assistant. Max Flick
art assistant. Tara Zor
words. Shama Nasinde