Merk bound for Red Bull academy

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - HUGH COLLINS

Play­ing as a ses­sion mu­si­cian just wasn’t sat­is­fy­ing Mark Perkins.

The 22-year-old artist per­forms and writes mu­sic un­der the moniker Merk, a pro­ject born as a re­sult of get­ting ‘‘itchy feet’’ play­ing other peo­ple’s mu­sic.

At the end of Septem­ber the Auck­lan­der will jet to Mon­treal to take part in the 2017 Red Bull Mu­sic Academy. The two-week fes­ti­val has work­shops, lec­tures and per­for­mances that will see ap­pear­ances from il­lus­tri­ous artists Bjork and Iggy Pop. Over 3000 mu­si­cians world­wide ap­ply for the pres­ti­gious event but only 50 are se­lected. Perkins says the ap­pli­ca­tion process was ‘‘soul search­ing’’.

‘‘They ask you things like ‘draw us a pic­ture of where you are in the mu­si­cal uni­verse’ … I found it quite a re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.’’

Orig­i­nally from Tau­ranga, Perkins also plays with Auck­land group Faz­er­daze, whose prin­ci­pal song­writer Amelia Mur­ray was also ac­cepted for the academy.

‘‘It’s re­ally weird, two peo­ple from the same scene who play in each other’s bands got ac­cepted.’’

Work­ing as a pro­ducer out of his small K Rd stu­dio, Perkins de­scribes Merk as a fu­sion of 90s in­die rock and clas­sic pop, such as The Car­pen­ters and The Bea­tles. ’’I can hear those two worlds some­how com­bin­ing a lit­tle bit ... I re­ally want to be in­no­va­tive and make new stuff that peo­ple have never done be­fore.’’

While Perkins has spent con­sid­er­able time play­ing as a ses­sion artist, his own song­writ­ing was al­ways in the back­ground. ’’As fun as play­ing for other peo­ple is, I was never re­ally fully sat­is­fied by it be­cause I al­ways wanted to do my own thing.

‘‘Other peo­ple just love to do ses­sion mu­sic … it starts and ends at the gig for them. I enjoy the artistry of writ­ing.’’ Merk will per­form as part of the Oth­ers Way Fes­ti­val 2016 on Fri­day. The fes­ti­val will see over 30 acts per­form across 10 K Rd venues. Visit fly­in­ for tick­ets and more in­for­ma­tion.

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