Weyes Blood Rising

Weyes Blood's Natalie Mering talks about her outstanding new Sub Pop album "Titanic Rising" and more

Much of the narrative that surrounds the music of Weyes Blood, the moniker of LA singer/songwriter Natalie Mering, is dedicated to dissecting its majestic, melancholy sound and the author's morose, contemplative lyrical content.

However, often overlooked along the way, is Mering's dark sense of humor -- something that takes center stage in her music videos like the absurd "Do You Need My Love" and the '80s slasher film send-up "Everyday."

During a recent morning phone call, Mering (who performs with her band at the Irenic on Aug. 7) explained why and how it all intersects.

"I think that life, in a lot of ways, is benevolent and I think there's a lot of suffering and a lot of violence and there's a lot of moments where it feels like this incredibly heavy, tragic situation -- but I also think that it's kind of like a riddle and like a joke also. And I think humor is actually very esoteric and actually quite deep. Even though I think it throws some people off.

"I've had people tell me when they hear my banter in between songs, 'Whoa, that was really weird; I was getting all emotional and crying and all of a sudden you're being a ham on stage.' [laughs] So, I think it's not easy for everybody to make that connection but I certainly do. All the comedians I know are pretty dark, sad people in some way [laughs] so they can relate to musicians just as much. It's just a different kind of emotional pursuit but with a very similar outcome."

Missing the comedy of Weyes Blood isn't exactly a difficult thing to do -- especially since the music is so hauntingly dramatic. When Mering dropped 2017's magnificent "Front Row Seat to Earth" on Mexican Summer, listeners got lost in an absolutely sublime album that married downcast Laurel Canyon-esque folk, ethereal synths and Mering's rich, warm voice.

On this year's "Titanic Rising" (which earned a sought-after Best New Music nod from Pitchfork), Weyes Blood has gone bigger with beautiful orchestral layers, even more vocal harmonies, dreamier textures -- just a fuller, more produced sound overall. When asked about its grandiosity, Mering admitted it was largely due to Sub Pop putting its weight (and resources) behind the recording process. [Purchase it here]

"I think because it was my first record with a label that really was ready to put their support behind me, they were just more lenient. It was like, 'Yeah, I wanna go into the studio for like three months instead of one month, you know?' And they were like 'OK!' And I wanted to use string players and hire other people to play on the record more, so all those things really helped it become a more symphonic work.

"Just having that freedom and space and trust from them, I think really helped me have a little more fun."

Weyes Blood headline the Irenic on Wednesday, Aug. 7, with Dustin Wong. Tickets are available here (for now). Doors are at 7 p.m. and the show is all ages.

Dustin Lothspeich is SoundDiego's senior associate editor, a San Diego Music Award-winning musician, and talent buyer at The Merrow. Follow his updates on Twitter or contact him directly.

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