PRICK AND DING #69: MERZ

Each week Fresh On The Net invites an artist or band to answer a short series of questions in Prick & Ding: the two and a half minute interview. It's convenient and quick - like enjoying a tasty microwave meal!THIS WEEK:MERZ

Merz is British song musician Conrad Lambert who is currently based in Bern, Switzerland and – in my humble opinion – one of this country’s finest musical talents. With four spellbinding albums to his name – in ‘Merz’, ‘Loveheart’, ‘Moi Et Mon Camion’ and ‘No Compass Will Find Home’ – Merz is an artist who should be celebrated as an aural sculptor of the very highest order.

This is music to curl up on the sofa to,to reflect upon & help inspire new plans for new futures,to shower illegal dance moves upon,to challenge your ears to taste the new & most of all to cherish,to admire.enjoy & then cherish a little bit more.Many weathers apart (below) was recently featured on our Fresh Faves after you voted it there. It was also the song that Conrad recently built a whole show around(see Conrad’s answers below).

He inspires me does Merz, its a wonderful gift he has for not standing still with his music,for challenging himself & his listeners- every time I hear his music I want pick up a guitar & keyboard & write a song.He has a sweet tone of voice that doesn’t need to try hard to get the message across loud & clear,whilst knwoing how to play with melody to entice & delight.

His back story (like his music) deserves sharing:-British song musician Merz won’t be pinned down. Merz (real name Conrad Lambert) has released four albums since his electronic eponymous debut, each garnering him heavyweight acclaim as a peerless contemporary balladeer. After huge hype and a major label release in 1999, he walked away from the deal and disappeared completely.

Returning from self-imposed exile in 2005, he released second album Loveheart on UK indie label Gronland, a work that won him renewed respect, then scaled the iTunes charts in the USA with follow-up album Moi et Mon Camion in 2008, solidifying his reputation for heartfelt tunes, intricate production and enigmatic displays of multi-instrumental talent. His fourth album, No Compass Will Find Home, was recorded in the Swiss Alps and produced by electronic pioneer Matthew Herbert. A progressive, wild and ragged record with a unique kind of psychedelia, it was released on Accidental Records in January 2013 and subsequently gave birth to his latest collaboration, drum and vocal renditions of No Compass Will Find Home by Swiss experimental drummer, Julian Sartorius.

Merz’s previous collaborations have included Paul Hartnoll from Orbital, London guitarist and composer Leo Abrahams, Will Gregory from Goldfrapp, Producers Markus Dravs, Marius De Vries, Tim Simenon, Bruno Ellingham. In the past year Merz has worked with artists as varied as cult electronic composer Dimlite and UK beatmaker Dan Le Sac to Balearic-electro producer Tythe and Norwegian folk songstress Anne Marie Almedal

With a special version of ‘No Compass Will Find Home ‘(Julian Sartorius Drum and Vocal Renditions) on  its way on 17th November on Accidental Records including 12″ Vinyl and Download  and with a raft of glorious previously released singles & EP’s for you to discover afresh, the uninitiated have so much to discover in Merz‘ music.

Its truly a pleasure to have him on Fresh On The Net’s Prick and Ding. If you haven’t already-jump head first into the beautiful music of Merz.

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1. What are you up to at the moment?
Preparing a live show consisting of four drummers and me on vocals, no other instruments. It coincides with a record we’re releasing in November; No Compass Will Find Home (Julian Sartorius Drum and Vocal Renditions).
Drummer extraordinaire Julian Sartorius has produced a drum and vocal version of my last album No Compass Will Find Home. Accidental Records will release the album in the UK and Julian’s label Everest Records will release in Europe.

2. Favourite childhood memory?
Growing up in the grounds of Bretton Hall College, Wakefield. Once the 14 century estate of the Wentworths. Now the wonderful Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

3. Hero?
Anyone whose actions speak louder than their words.

4. Villain?
The greedy. The worldly.

5. What/who makes you laugh?
Arbitrary

6. Describe what you do?
It seems to be ever evolving. But roughly it’s a case of using, doing whatever it takes to keep creating and keeping on.

7. Who’s hair would you like to have?
I really should be grateful that any kind of baldness aint struck me. I inherited good hair from my Robert Plant-hair-like Mum.

8. Best musical experience to date?
I just did a show in London where I played one song for a whole gig. It was a song I released fifteen years ago called Many Weathers Apart. I played the show with musicians Shahzad Ismaily and Julian Sartorius, both incredible and unique musicians. I split the gig up into 8 distinct sections which morphed into one another. There was a lot of room for improvised and spontaneous playing which was really fun and satisfying.

9. What artist inspires you?
Right now; Kurt Vile as an acoustic songwriter. John Maus as a synth-pop songwriter. Tim Hecker as an ambient composer. Bradford Cox. Connan Mockasin. Throbbing Gristle. Cluster, Faust, Black Dice. But in two weeks time they’d be another list.

10. What does Fresh On The Net mean to you?
A filter? New music. Vibrant graphics. A chance to mention a new Merz record.

Johnno Casson

Johnno Casson is a London-born/Colchester-based singer, musician, songwriter and show-off. He also compiles and releases compilations and is a serial supporter of new music. Johnno releases his own music as Snippet ,Old Tramp and also under his own name Johnno Casson.. As far as we know he was the most-played artist ever on Tom’s legendary late night Fresh On The Net radio shows on 6 Music – having been featured no less than 18 times and appearing as an interview guest. You can also find Johnno on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

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