With a little help from your friends

Semisi Maiai (left) and Marlin's Dreaming. Photo: Supplied
Semisi Maiai (left) and Marlin's Dreaming. Photo: Supplied
Marlin's Dreaming's Lizard Tears was the surprise Dunedin hit of 2017 as far as international audiences were concerned, racking up millions of plays on Spotify with it's laid-back summery sound. Now, the group is about to release its second LP.

I caught up with frontman Semisi Maiai ahead of Thursday's gig at The Cook.

Q How are things going for the band?

Yeah, pretty good. We just recorded a full-length LP that will, hopefully, be releasing at the top of next year.

Q Will this be your third LP?

We've done one sort-of not-quite full-length and then we did an EP, that was released in 2018, and then we've been working on this record for the entire year. It's probably going to be 12 to 13 tracks.

Q How are you feeling about it?

Really stoked on this piece, it's been kind of a slow burner. We've spent about, I dunno, four to five months writing it and scratching together demos in Auckland. We've got a bit of a funny setup, two of us live in Auckland and two of us live in Dunedin, so we've kind of been trying to do makeshift practices before gigs and it's been a bit scrambled, so most of the effort and the focus in terms of the band has been writing music and working on the album. We haven't really been doing any touring this year. We did a short tour with an international Australian act, Kirin J Callinan, and that was probably the only tour we've done since summer.

Q You recorded your first album shortly after forming as a band.

Yeah, yeah. So I had written all of those songs before the band was a thing and I wanted to form a band to record it, and basically that was the start of the band. So we had that product ready before we even started doing live shows.

Q And then it all sort of blew up a wee bit.

Somewhat, it was cool. We had some cool like help from Spotify and blogs, we just kind of emailed it round and they ended up jumping on board and put it on a playlist, and embedded a soundcloud link on their blog ... So we found like relatively decent exposure through that, and I think that was one of the catalysts which meant we could play a lot of live shows around New Zealand and have some success and not just break even.

Q So would you say you've taken more time with this album?

Yeah, this has been a slower more thoughtful process. I mean, just myself as a writer - I was 19 when I wrote the first album and now I'm 22, so I guess these are the kind of years that your music taste can really change and things kind of take different twists and turns: you flat with different people and move out of home, you know. So I feel like it's a bit of a different sound? Not too dissimilar to what we've been releasing, but I feel like it's definitely probably a more upbeat rocky than dreamy slow thing that people seemed to quite like.

Q So this tour you're doing, it's a three-stop tour?

Yeah, just a three-stop tour in New Zealand and then we're doing another three shows in Australia ... We're doing a summer tour as well after this and then we're probably not going to be playing shows for a bit and work on releasing the album and work out a plan around that.

For more from Fraser Thompson go to dunedinsound.com

 

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