Mezko practice a mantra of self-discipline away from the influence of outer forces
Combining a love for songwriting with a penchant for exploring the plains that live and breathe outside the land of conformity, Sydney duo MEZKO are incredibly skilled at transforming interesting ideas into our sonic reality.
The galactic and technical sounding project of Kat Harley and Laura Bailey, the pair originally come from two completely different areas of Australia that are about as separate as a guitar is to a synthesiser, yet somehow have bridged the gaps to manifest a profound energy.
Only four tracks deep into their repertoire, and we’ve already seen Mezko take one of the top eight spots for FBi Radio’s Northern Lights competition, have heard them on Australian radio rotation, watched them perform all over the country, and now await their presence at the launch party for the CURVY Creative Women’s Conference – Like A Girl, co-presented by Purple Sneakers.
A stint only made possible by their affluence of talent and dedication to the project, we caught up with both Kat Harley and Laura Bailey over a few cups of coffee in Newtown’s Satellite, to grasp further insight into the Mezko territory.
You two crossed paths away from your respective hometowns. How did this happen?
Kat: I’d been living in Sydney for a fair while, Laura had just moved from Perth. I ran into a mutual friend of ours, and he was like, “I know this chick who has just moved here,” and we met up.
Laura: Yeah, that’s basically it.
So did they think you would both work well together musically or was it just a friendship thing?
L: Yeah, well I think he said that we were something like “two dark birds” [laughs] so we should work together.
K: [Laughs] Yep, and he was right.
What motivated the decision to move to Sydney, was it for music?
K: I came up here maybe about ten years ago from Canberra, so I’ve been up here for quite a while. I played in a band in Canberra for a while and had a band that got a record deal, so we moved up.
Being live musicians, have the current lockout laws ever negated the idea of living in Sydney?
K: That’s a very interesting question. We’ve played a fair few shows in Brisbane lately, and Brisbane is so awesome.
L: Yeah, it’s really vibing, really cool.
K: Yeah we would seriously move there [laughs].
L: Yeah, and I mean Melbourne is obviously a good place to get shows and stuff as well, but we’re so Sydney now. We love it here, it’s become home.
K: Sydney has this thing now, where it just becomes part of you. You even go around to different places, that still are so Sydney. No matter how difficult it gets, you just still feel really connected to the city.
I think there’s been a real sense of community that has become more prominent since the laws too.
K: Yeah, totally!
You’ve released four tracks to date, that all come across as distinctively your own. Do you have a certain approach to writing a song?
L: Every single song comes around and creates itself in its own way. We haven’t got an exact structure for how we do it, each one just grows in its own way. We wrote like three songs this past weekend, in very odd ways. Unusual to anything else we’ve ever done.
K: We kind of do everything from just jamming together on ideas, to one person starting something and sending it back and forth. I guess we have particular instruments that we really love, and that forms the basis of the band and our sound? You know, we’re always going to have the combination of guitars and bass and synthesisers. That was one of the things that drew us to each other, and when we first met – the desire to have the guitar and bass rock band thing, as well as the synthesisers and drum machines thing, and find our way to bring them together.
Was that to challenge the idea of genre?
K: Maybe [laughs], I think we just like both.
Can we expect a body of work in the near future?
L: Oh yeah [laughs], we’ve got lots of bodies of works. They’re all sleeping and just waiting to be woken up.
K: Definitely, yeah we have an EP that is finished and is coming out as soon as possible. We’re already working on our next one.
The Curvy Creative Women’s Conference is set to take place as part of VIVID Ideas. Do you have any experiences with the collective?
K: Mainly through Martin [Novosel], our manager, who is very passionate and driven about this cause. It’s great to see people like him getting out there and really doing something.
Being women in the industry during such an empowering movement, have you felt a positive change being to evolve?
K: I’ve just always played music, and have been a female playing music. We were talking about this before, we started playing when we were really young, so kind of even before you knew that being a female playing music was different. So the idea of it being an issue is not something that I think about, we just do it. It’s the only thing that we want to do, and we feel that our contribution is just playing and being ourselves.
L: We’re aware of it, of course –
K: Yeah we’re definitely aware of it.
L: But at the same time we do it because it’s just what we do, not because of anything else.
I know with myself, I’ve probably understood more about it just from hearing other people’s experiences. There’s definitely been degrading comments made about female artists in a male dominant industry. So I guess what I mean is from being aware of that, has there been any sort of change?
K: I think especially at the moment it’s a really big topic.
L: Hopefully from now on, we can just move on from this time, and it will be about talent, not about gender.
You’re performing at the launch party ‘Like A Girl’. What can we expect from the show? Any new material?
L: Yeah I think we’re going to change it up heaps.
K: Yeah we’ve been writing heaps, and we’re so excited to play our new music.
L: It’s probably going to be a bit heavier.
K: It feels really good for right now, we’re going to try and get it into our live set as quickly as possible.
L: That’s what next week is going to be – all about getting these new songs into a set.
You perform as a two piece. Do you think it will always stay this way?
L: We’re always up for evolving that side of things.
K: Yeah we’d love to grow the Mezko live stage and experience. The more people the better, eventually, but for now it’s just us.
You’ve got another show on tomorrow night too. Is the live show the main objective for the moment?
L: I think right now it’s more writing as well. We really pulled everything back, worked out what we really love. As soon as we had that moment, we’ve just literally been the most productive we’ve been in a very long time, so that feels really good to focus on that right now. When that translates to live, that’s when things are really going to feel good. There will be a massive release of things.
So the writing process and being able to put that into a live show goes hand in hand for you guys.
K: Totally. I think us recording our music ourselves is really cool in that we can sit there and work on this track at home. Then as soon as we feel like it’s ready to play live, we translate it into how we feel we’re going to do it live. It’s just there, straightaway, if we want it.
So you record at home?
K: Yeah, 50/50 at home, and then finish stuff in a studio.
What’s next for Mezko?
K: Our EP release is next, and then just some more writing.
Words by Hannah Galvin.
Photo credit: Tim Da-Rin.