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'Slow Burn' on stage

9 September 2022
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Award-winning indie-folk artist Mel Parsons talks her hot new album 'SLOW BURN', being a part of the Lyttelton music scene, and her upcoming nationwide tour. Interview Hannah Brown

Tell us about your new album 'SLOW BURN' coming out later this month, what should we anticipate?

Essentially it’s still me writing songs, so I don’t think it’s any great departure from what people know of my music already. There’s a bit of a mashup of styles on there I guess, from mellow folky through to a more indie-rockish sort of a vibe on some songs.

How does releasing 'SLOW BURN' feel different to your previous albums?

This one has probably taken a bit longer to come together, we worked on it over a couple of years. I try not to compare between albums as there are so many different variables each time. Hopefully with each album there is development of some kind, but also I mostly try to concern myself with just making music that people have an emotional connection or reaction to. In that sense it’s probably not too dissimilar to previous albums.

What was the inspiration behind the 'SLOW BURN’ single, and why did this make the album title?

This album has been in the pipeline for a long time, so in that sense it’s been a literal Slow Burn. The song Slow Burn itself was the first one I wrote for the album, I just like the sound of it as a title. The song arrived very quickly, as my favourite ones often do. And I think it probably means different things to different people, I prefer not to say exactly what it means to me as I don’t like to influence how other people perceive it y’know?

You wrote the album in your home in Lyttelton, how did this influence your song-writing process?

The whole thing was written at home - I mean, no one has been anywhere for the past two years have they?! I don’t think it changed my songwriting process hugely, wherever I’m writing songs I’m usually sitting with a guitar or a piano, and that was the same. That said maybe you can hear views of Lyttelton Harbour in there?!

What do you like about being a part of the music scene in Lyttelton?

It’s a cliche for a reason I suppose - Lyttelton definitely draws in a disproportionate amount of musicians and creatives. It’s a mellow and unpretentious community, there’s a bit of grit around the edges. It’s nice to be part of the music scene here even when we’re not physically around each other a lot of the time.. in normal times most of us tour a lot so we might only see each other in the airport or backstages in other cities. But it’s a special place to be able to call home, and there always seems to be something interesting happening.

Tell me about working on the album with the likes of multi-instrumentalist Josh Logan and your talented band?

Josh is a very natural producer, he has ears and musicality beyond what most people can communicate. As a player as well he has a great skill in getting the performances out of musicians. We made the album at LOHO, in Ōtautahi Christchurch, and Josh had a strong vision for where we took the album, and I’m pretty excited with what we’ve ended up with.

I’m lucky to have a great band who have been with me for a long time now too - playing on the album along with Josh is my cousin Jed Parsons on drums and backing vocals, and bassist Aaron Stewart who I have been working with for nearly 15 years.

How does it feel to be touring again with the new album?

It’s always exhilarating touring new music, there’s so much energy that goes into writing and producing and releasing it that finally getting to perform it live is a huge buzz. This time around that feeling has been heightened by the unusually big gap between tours.

What song are you most excited to perform on tour?

Oooh great question! We are rehearsing at the moment, and I think ‘Headland’ is going to be pretty epic live. It has a deep dark piano part, which was played on the album by LA Mitchell. Some of the more upbeat ones ‘Tired of Being You’ and ‘Already Gone’ have a lot of energy in them and will be fun onstage too. I’m stoked that we get to bring this show to the Isaac Theatre Royal in Christchurch, it’s a very special place to perform.

On the South Island side of your tour, what are your must-visit spots?

Hard to pick favourites in the homeland isn’t it?! Every place has it’s own thing going on, I like to saunter around CBDs when I get the chance. Drink coffee, find a beach if there’s one nearby...

The 'SLOW BURN' tour will be in Christchurch on October 29, Nelson on November 24 and Dunedin on November 26.

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