BY HAZEL REID

Internationally known, local band Mild Orange have just released their new album ‘Looking for Space’ which features ‘The Times Of Our Lives’, ‘This Kinda Day’ and recent single ‘Oh Yeah’. We caught up with the band (Mehrt, Jah, Barry and Jack) to chat the new record and upcoming plans. They had just arrived overseas about to embark on a series of international shows after spending time on home soil. 

Tell us about your new single ‘Oh Yeah’? 
Mehrt: It’s a song originally about nothing, but in the end it turned into a whole bunch of something. It’s crunchy, borderline lo-fi, and was created just to feel good.
Jah: ‘Oh Yeah’ is a lazy, summer-bummer sort of track. We wrote/recorded it in Carters Beach, just out of Westport, next to the ocean with horses roaming around the house. It’s light-hearted, fun and easy-going.
Barry: The video for it was filmed by a fan of ours, Simon Levalois-Bazer in Biarritz, France entirely on Kodak 16mm. 

You recently released your new album ‘Looking For Space’. What was the process like creating the record and how long have you have been working on it (did COVID cause any delays)?
Jah: We first got together to start writing/recording LFS just after NZ’s first lockdown back in 2020. Since then, we recorded in 6 different locations across New Zealand. From Bannockburn to Auckland and a whole lot in between. Most of the spaces were coastal and quite isolated, which definitely influenced the music. We love converting beach houses into home studios and letting the environment play a part in what comes out. 

How did Mild Orange form and what were your experiences musically before the band?
Mehrt: It formed first with Jah and I jamming together in my bedroom at our flat in Dunedin. The next year we finally played our first gig just as two guitarists and a singer, then we enlisted Jack and Barry on drums and bass. They had been playing together in another band at the time, Albion Place. For me, I started playing around on guitar around age 7 thanks to my Dad and brother, and I would also produce weird songs on Garage Band as a kid for fun on Mum’s computer. Leading closer to MO I’d been in bands, musicals and loved producing really any genre in my bedroom for fun (like hip-hop, jazz, orchestral pieces, house, drum n’ bass) not really showing anyone except for my friends and family. 

Where do you draw inspiration from and is there somewhere, in particular, you like to get creative?
Mehrt: I get really inspired by visual cues lately. Often music makes me think of a time and a place, like it’s sounding like a setting and how would that sound best suit that space? Spaces have had a massive influence on us. If I’m being particular, I have some of my favourite creative moments while being on aeroplanes. Looking out the window from thousands of feet high in the air is incredible, and being switched off from the world thanks to flight mode is great too. I came up with the ‘This Kinda Day’ video concept on the plane… you’ll see some resemblance to an aeroplane window in the scene transitions.
Barry: Personally I express creativity through music and cooking. Two things I find thoroughly satisfying and therapeutic. My musical inspiration comes from the environment I create in. Where it be the people I’m with, the location I am in or the sounds of the surroundings. It all has an influence on my output. 

Jah: I’m with Barry on this one. My main creative outlets are through playing music and cooking. I also find reading a good book to be pretty inspirational.
Jack: I draw a lot of inspiration from the outdoors. Coming from Westport, I’m spoiled for choice as to how I might spend my free time. Whether it’s surfing, fishing, sports or photography. 

Is there a show or location you’ve toured that has been a highlight and perhaps somewhere you’d like to perform?
Mehrt: Our first ever overseas show was in Budapest, Hungary. That show was epic. We played on a barge that had been converted to a 350 cap venue on the Danube River near the Parliament. We were blown away by the turnout, and everyone knew all the words from the first song to the last. Some people had travelled from Egypt, Macedonia and beyond for that show. I really want to play in India and Brazil, we have a lot of fans there.
Jah: Outside of NZ, I would say London is pretty special. We’ve now played two sold-out shows there as well as a festival appearance at All Points East.
Barry: We just played a packed out show at The Roxy in Los Angeles. An amazing venue with a star-studded alumni. Needless to say, that was pretty awesome. 

What do you hope is on the horizon for the next 12 months alongside your international tour?
Mehrt: As we write this, we are heading to Mexico City to play there. We’ll all be moving to London together with our partners in April and we will get busy creating a new base there. We have a huge overflow of new music that we need to record too, as well as new ideas and directions that we want to explore. In September we’ll be playing our postponed EU tour, and we will also try to fit in NZ, Australia, Canada and US before the end of the year!

Mild Orange’s new album Looking for Space is available now. 

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