This week, Hong Kong will get its first glimpse of dream-pop group Fazerdaze, aka the brainchild of New Zealand’s Amelia Murray.
A self-titled, independently released EP recorded entirely in Murray’s bedroom preceded her debut album, Morningside, which dropped earlier this year. In interviews ahead of the album release, the 24-year-old was eager to share her new music with fans.
“I loved being DIY. It was really satisfying, and so exciting when someone buys your CD, and you can post it to them. It’s so direct. And I enjoyed the closeness with the fans, but it got to the point where I had no time to make music,” she stated.
Speaking about the progression from her EP to her debut, Murray said: “I see this album as being an older sister to the EP – diving a little bit deeper into where the EP was going. I don’t know if I changed too much about my approach, but I explored further.”
Her new record’s title was inspired by a move to the town of Morningside, a suburb of Auckland in New Zealand.
“I was really struggling. I was moving a lot, and frequently changing jobs. I had no base, and I felt like such a mess,” she said. “But when I moved to Morningside, it felt good, and I finally felt settled. I felt I could finish this album – and I did.”
Discussing her interpretation of the word, Murray added: “Morningside, it’s like getting through the night. For me, it was getting through a very rough patch in my life, reaching the other side and being stronger because of it.”
Although the music is written and recorded solely by Murray, she has two other members when Fazerdaze are on the road to help recreate the music in a live setting. Through layers of softly crunching guitars swirling over consistently driving drum machines, and sparse electronica, the band have picked up acclaim from music publications all over the world, with Murray named as one of the indie breakout acts of the year. The exposure led to Fazerdaze touring with acts like Explosions In The Sky, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Connan Mockasin, before headlining sold-out tours in Britain and the US.
“Playing live isn’t a natural thing for me,” she says. “I like hanging out at home. So those shows gave me a chance to grow, analyse my live set, and see how I can improve.”
This experience has had an impact on her music. “Before finishing the record, I’d never really been outside Auckland, and I think it shows. It sounds inward-looking and insular. Now that I’ve travelled, I think I’ve had my eyes opened a little bit more.”
Morningside is a succinct collection of intimate, beautifully produced dream-pop, but Murray had to master her songwriting craft somewhere.
“I started a band with four girls, and that was where I learned how to write and arrange songs. Even though the music we made is a little embarrassing to me now, that experience was so essential in learning the groundwork for being a musician.”
Fazerdaze play MOM Livehouse in Fortress Hill on October 17 with support from local shoegaze stars Thud. Tickets are available from pelago.events
Edited by Pete Spurrier