GRAZER – ” Melancholics Anonymous “

Posted: August 11, 2022 in MUSIC

Grazer began life in a bare-brick basement in Melbourne, crafting propulsive dream-pop singles while recording vocals in an open wardrobe draped in blankets. But the band’s origins extend much further back, starting with bassist Mollie Wilson moving next door to bassist Matthew Spiller at age eight. Tethered by shared tastes in books and music while growing up in the rural New South Wales village of Uki, the pair became best friends and eventually romantic and creative partners.

You can hear that close bond in Grazer’s music, which entwines Wilson and Spiller’s vocals and artistic sensibilities alike. Their self-recorded songs also often arrive accompanied by videos that the pair make themselves. As painters who have also dabbled in photography and poetry, the two work incredibly well together, whether it’s making music, writing lyrics or filming and editing those videos.

“It’s all part of the same end,” Spiller tells us of that collaborative relationship across mediums. After enlisting friends to help make the Andy Warhol-inspired video for Grazer’s 2020 debut single ‘Fever Dream’, in which Wilson gets her hair cut in real time, the couple have since taught themselves how to do it all on their own. The same is basically true of their music, though NSW-based producer Rob Wolfe has mixed all of their self-produced material so far. “We’re quite fast people, and we do things quickly,” says Wilson. “I think when we delegate, we get impatient.” Spiller agrees: “What stops a lot of creatives is that they don’t know when to pull the trigger and get it out there.” Wilson adds: “There’s always much more to do. I don’t even know that we do that much.”

Grazer’s activity has certainly felt like a lot, especially when many bands were languishing during lockdown. Though their live performances were curtailed by COVID’s initial wave, Wilson and Spiller simply retreated to that makeshift basement studio and began releasing single after single of gorgeous, gauzy pop. It didn’t really matter that they couldn’t play to in-the-room audiences, because their songs found listeners around the world thanks to streaming: Their chiming 2021 single ‘Nostalgia Seed’ boasts more than 300,000 streams on Spotify alone.

Now with a firm five-person line-up and a strong debut album in ‘Melancholics Anonymous’ – not to mention a spot on the NME 100 2022 – Grazer are finally ready to take their intimately conceived sound on the road. “[Grazer has] always been a band, from the very beginning,” notes Wilson of their full line-up, rounded out by Thomas Lee (guitarist), Thomas McMullin (drummer) and Sam Knight (synth). “But in terms of how it’s been recorded and written, [the two of us have] had creative control. 

Signed to Los Angeles/New York label Cascine (also home to Banoffee and Yumi Zouma), the band cite the influence of soft-focus US bands like DIIV, Beach Fossils and Launder while continually circling back to the touchstone of Joy Division’s 1979 classic ‘Unknown Pleasures’. The pair points to that album’s unlikely combination of dark lyrics and resilient bass lines, which Wilson describes as creating “a depth to the music, but then a guiding light out of it”.

The band: Matthew Spiller, Mollie Wilson, Thomas McMullin, Thomas Lee

Grazer’s ‘Melancholics Anonymous’ is out August 12th on Cascine Records. 

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