In conversation with Melpo Mene

‘It’s Electrical’ is an open-hearted and personal story that explores thoughts on therapy and suicide prevention. Melpo Mene brings us a smooth alternative dream pop track with a heavy message that sounds like the only perfect time for its release is now.  

How do you feel about this song being out and what do you hope the release will achieve? For me making music is mostly an automatic habit that’s there to cope with life, so that’s the main purpose. Making it available for others is not the point, but something that hopefully can multiply the usefulness of the work. I don’t have any particular goals or achievements in mind, public recognition isn’t really the game for an introvert with abnormal integrity, but I’m very happy about the album and very happy when anyone reaches out to me and tells me that it’s making them think and making them feel. In times where big things like mass shootings barely make headlines, maybe music and entertainment shouldn’t either. I think it’s always good to be humble.”

The Swedish-born, Los Angeles-based artist recently released his new album ‘Vernalagnia’, on which we’ll also hear his latest single ‘It’s Electrical’. The album is as honest and in an emotional way as uplifting as his latest single release. Thoughts and melodies intertwine on his pensive dream pop, shoegaze-like sound that is the perfect soundtrack for us organising our own thoughts. 

What thought, emotion or experience made you write ‘It’s Electrical’? “Music is made a lot by intuition and you’re not sure where things are going. It takes shape little by little over time. For me this track brought out a feeling of love and concern for depressed teens. When teenagers give up because they think the street they grow up on and their school is the entire world, you want to tell them to hang in there because the world is so much bigger and you will find a place. Please don’t take drastic decisions based upon the awful moment, you haven’t seen enough.”

The album came out on Earth Day and symbolises the rebirth of Melpo Mene at the same time, it mimics the beauty and pain we see in nature and how it manifests in humans. “‘Vernalagnia’ is the unscripted result of a well-meaning introvert’s musical intuition and thoughts.” ‘It’s Electrical’ is the focus track of the album, one that shines a bright light on Melpo’s bright and striking voice. Its soundscape is subtle and pensive, made up of subtle percussion and delicate instruments combined with analogue synthesizers and human imperfection in mind. 

How did you let human imperfection inspire ‘It’s Electrical’s soundscape? Do you think there is a specific instrument that symbolises that imperfection? “A lot of popular music is created with pre-recorded samples that you buy in finished packages and put together like a puzzle. I try to not be judgmental, but to me, this is kind of like buying a Hallmark card for your lover or taking pride in handmade jewellery after buying a box of pre-made strings and rocks. When you yourself create the sounds in your own room with microphones, there will be lots of human imperfections, in my case, too many imperfections actually. It’s the whole point of recording music that something sincere and honest is put into it. As for what specific element brings human quality and imperfection, it could be the vocals, it could be the snare drum with an oven mitt taped on to it, it could be the 80s synth that doesn’t play in tune, or the reverb that distorts.”

‘It’s Electrical’ shares Melpo’s thoughts on mental health and how different generations deal with those who suffer. The younger we are, the more we live in the moment and the harder it sometimes is to find perspective. 

What do you think is the biggest difference between how mental health is dealt with between generations and what do you think could change for the better? “I think our grandparents were mainly concerned with material and financial health. If you ask them about mental health, I’m not sure they would understand what you mean or associate to severely disabled people in institutions. I think mental health is luxury in that sense, that it’s a problem which presents itself after your basic needs are taken care of. You can reflect on your anxiety when you can afford to so to speak. Our generation in this part of the world talks more openly about mental health and removes shame around it. I think it’s an overall positive trend, at the same time, it seems we are not doing very well. One baby-step of improvement I’d like to try is banning advertisement for one year. Let’s not spend 280 billion dollars yearly on carefully calculated emotional manipulation pushed in everybody’s face many times a day and see if that has any relationship to our mental health, I know it does with my own. Ultimately, I think the strength of capitalism is all the stuff, while the obvious weakness is lack of soul, but that’s where art comes in. The book or the song or the painting that you never heard of, made by some unrecognized introvert who’s been dead for many years and that you find in a garage sale might end up saving your life one day, you’re welcome!”

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