With her debut album just released, Amelia Murray is breaking out of her bedroom.
"It excites me, not knowing what I’m doing," confesses Amelia Murray, the name behind Fazerdaze.
A native of New Zealand, she released her self-titled EP in 2014, but it’s only with the release of ‘Lucky Girl’ earlier this year that Fazerdaze started to make to make a splash over here. It’s a captivating mix of happy and sad. The repetition of "I know I’m a lucky girl" throughout the chorus leaves room for ambiguity; it’s not quite clear if she’s celebrating the fact, or if she’s trying to reassure herself in a moment of crisis.
Like many of her songs, it’s charmingly rough around the edges. It’s not polished, it’s not perfect, but then she never wanted it to be that way. "Fazerdaze is all about working it out as I go,” she explains. “It’s not a fully-formed, perfect product. It’s more about learning and inviting people to come and watch me grow and figure it out.”
It’s why, for her debut album ‘Morningside', she chose to keep everything quite close to home rather than head into a studio, something she felt she didn’t yet have the confidence to do. “My bedroom has been a safe space for me to figure it out. It just really worked for me and my personality. I find it hard to be assertive and communicate my ideas; it’s a lot easier for me just to go and do it. It was nice to work at home with my one microphone, my one guitar, my MIDI keyboard and my laptop.”
Fazerdaze has been lumped with the tag “bedroom pop”, much like Frankie Cosmos and Foxes in Fiction, but it’s a term she finds constricting. While an apt label in a literal sense, it’s a term that has become synonymous with a dreamy, lo-fi, carefree sound. “I don’t want to pigeonhole myself, and I hope ‘Morningside’ shows that there are a few more angles to what I’m doing than just effortless dream pop,” explains Amelia. “I wanna show there’s more to me than that.
“It’s great that I’ve managed to start something there, but I do want it to get bigger than my bedroom and experiment further. I don’t necessarily want to make just one style forever; like it’d be cool to do an instrumental album in the future.”
For now, though, the bedroom is her home and, from that very private space, a deeply personal album was born in ‘Morningside’. The shimmering guitars and dreamy synths throughout belie a sense of anxiety. But there is also a sense of hope, as though Amelia has weathered the storm is passing on tips on how to deal with these anxieties.
“As sad as I sometimes get, I don’t like to wallow,” she reveals. “Part of the whole Fazerdaze thing is that it’s me making something productive with my feelings. I was going through such an awful time when I was making it and felt lost, but the album would kind of comfort me and gave me a bit of purpose and direction in that transitional stage in my life. It was a space for me to turn inwards and look at myself going through this rough patch.”
Recorded, not just in her bedroom, but in friends’ houses too, the environments she surrounded herself with played a big part in how the songs came to feel and sound. “There are tracks like ‘Misread’ and ‘Friends’ which are heavy and loud, and there are quite intimate ones like ‘Shoulder’ or ‘Bedroom Talks', and I feel like the different rooms brought out different moods in me,” she explains.
‘Misread’ in particular feels at odds with the rest of the album; a grungy Pixies-esque dissection of an ill-defined relationship. “I wrote ‘Friends’ and ‘Misread’ in really tiny rooms, and I think because I was craving space, making big, loud sounding music was a way of me dealing with feeling claustrophobic.”
Of course, making music in a bedroom is one thing, but taking it out of that safe space is a scary prospect. Having played alongside Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and at The Great Escape, Amelia is starting to get the hang of it. “The album was pretty much all by myself but live I have the band. I try and pick band members that get the music and understand me and get where the songs are coming from.”
Ultimately, Fazerdaze is a chance for her to step outside of herself. “Amelia Murray is so boring! I’ve got student loans, and I’ve got bills to pay. But then when I make music for Fazerdaze it’s like I’m rid of all that. It makes me feel like I’m not just a loner in my bedroom, but maybe something bigger than that.”
Taken from the July issue of Dork, out now. Fazerdaze's debut album 'Morningside' is out now.