With PS13 around the corner, we catch up with Merph
Sydney selector MERPH‘s had a massive 12 months. Not only has she traveled to parties across the country to impart her incredibly honed music taste with those on the dancefloor, but she’s been hard at work behind the scenes establishing her community project, Apparent Motion, an initiative bringing together music and culture through fostering inclusive, accessible and safe spaces.
‘Movement in music should flow hand-in-hand with culture’ is the project’s tagline, and one that has already been reflected in the project’s actions. In early April, she put together a beginner turntable workshop through Apparent Motion aimed at facilitating an open discussion surrounding both the history and context of vinyl as a medium.
As a lil sidenote, I was lucky enough to attend one of those workshops and gained a lot from my time spent listening and discussing with others our experiences of collecting and trying to understand vinyl.
There’s more in the works for Apparent Motion, but it’s been a hectic few months for her as she’s also in the midst of completing her PHD on Human-Robot Interaction.
You’ve probably caught her playing tunes at parties around town with the likes of Paradise Club with Optimo and Job Jobse, Heavenly with Tornado Wallace, George FitzGerald‘s Sydney headline show and heaps more.
She’ll be taking to the decks at our thirteenth birthday on Saturday, June 15 as part of Vivid Sydney. With everything going on and her expertise with collecting, we threw a couple of questions her way to catch up ahead of PS13.
You can also catch her on the guest mix this weekend for Purple Sneakers on FBi Radio. Catch her mini-mix between 5-6PM locally at 94.5FM, DAB+ or online at fbiradio.com.
Hey Merph! It’s been a huge twelve months for you! What have been some of your highlights?
Heading down to Melbourne to play Carefree and Daydreams was an absolutely amazing experience. I also especially loved NECTAR: Thrive because I felt that party granted me the opportunity to play a more DnB and Jungle focused set. And finally, the last Community Chest was really something quite special – can’t wait for the next one!
You’ve been putting your skills to use outside of the club with your new project, Apparent Motion. Can you tell us a bit about Apparent Motion and what your aim with this project is?
My aim with Apparent Motion is to run workshops and events geared towards promoting inclusivity, safety, and accessibility for all individuals within this community. The first workshop revolved around breaking down barriers that hinder the exploration of music within records stores, including anxiety surrounding handling records and using turntables. I have a few more things planned moving forward; including sessions focus skill development, as well as on aspects of health and safety around music.
When did DJing start for you?
It started out with an interest in records and turntables and, in all honesty, it was quite an arduous process. It ended up taking me over a year of asking until someone took me seriously enough to sit down and show me the basics of handling and mixing records. I didn’t like the feeling of having to rely on another person to learn, so from there I spent the next 6 months saving up and buying cheap second hand equipment whenever it came up on gumtree. By the beginning of 2017 I had managed to put together a two turntable set up, and just started by mixing the same 10 records I owned over and over and over again. While I was pretty content doing this, at the end of 2017 I was offered the opportunity to play my first gig at an event curated by Network Connection Records. And I guess things really started moving from there!
Can you tell us a bit about your vinyl collection? Do you have any particular methods or practices surrounding collecting vinyl?
When I first started out with records I was really geared towards buying music that I was hearing when I went out. I’d nervously look through records stores, but honestly found myself purchasing primarily from online stores like Red Eye Records. From there I guess my collecting has really evolved into something totally different. My current process of exploring music is primarily facilitated by physically going to stores. I’m particularly oriented by mood and emotion, so how I’m feeling at any one point in time will drive the direction I find myself going down. I try not to get too bogged down in only searching for artists or labels I know, or genres I feel comfortable in.
I also find it helpful when stores write a short bio for the records (e.g. Network Connection Records in Sydney, Strangeworld Records in Melbourne). From there, I tend to go home and research further into the music that I found – searching online for artists, associated artists, labels, etc. My collection is now more of an emotional representation of myself over time – which might sound kind of stupid, but I prefer it this way because it’s personal to me.
What are five records that define your collection?
At the moment:
Sunday – HNNY
Right There – Ant Orange
The Sorrow Of Derdriu – Mac-Talla Nan Creag
We’re so excited to have you DJ at PS13! What advice would you give to your thirteen year old self?
Afford yourself the same kindness you offer others.
Do you remember what kind of music you were listening to at age thirteen?
In all honesty, not really. I feel like my taste only started to solidify a couple of years later. But if I had to guess, it’d probably be an odd combination of bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Death Cab for Cutie, and Gorillaz.
Photo by Jesse Mullins
Intro by CAITLIN MEDCALF