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Interview: Melbs bb Talks About Mental Health, ‘Witches’ And The Importance Of Authenticity

Updated: May 22, 2021

Erica Lilly (aka Melbs bb) is a rising voice in the bedroom pop space. Hailing from Melbourne, Lilly has an uncanny ability to transfigure their thoughts regarding mental health into atmospheric bedroom pop jams. At the same time, each song in Lilly’s discography has an undeniable playfulness to it that allows Lilly to tackle a variety of topics in ways that’ll never weigh listeners down. After hearing their single, ‘Witches’, we were dying to learn more about them. We reached out and Lilly was kind enough to answer our questions.

Who is Melbs bb?

I'm Erica, a non-binary singer/songwriter/producer who makes all my tunes from home. My sound bounces around but it all vaguely fits under the Indie Pop umbrella.

Your lyrics deal with topics surrounding mental health like social anxiety and depression. What about those topics inspires you as a songwriter and as a creative?

"I guess I enjoy writing from my own perspective and the fact of the matter is I deal with mental health issues on a daily basis. It's not so much that these topics inspire me, it's that I can't escape them. Writing definitely provides a coping mechanism for me and likewise listening to music with themes I can relate to has always been super cathartic. Only hope I can pay that catharsis forward.

In general, I think talking about your personal struggles helps to destigmatise mental health issues. I'm quite open across all my social media platforms about how I'm going and always appreciate when others are open as well, especially artists I look up to. Honestly, [I] don't know anyone who doesn't struggle with mental health but then most of my friends are creative types so my data might be skewed."

Your new song, ‘Witches’, talks about depression from the perspective of a child. What is it about a child’s perspective that made it the right choice for the song?

"The whole concept came to me very quickly to be totally honest. I guess the child's perspective felt interesting because if you look at some of the symptoms of mental illnesses, they can be quite silly. E.g. depressed people are generally tired.

Symptoms could be easily misunderstood if you didn't know a lot about mental health and if you didn't have that information, you'd have to decode these symptoms using the information you have. I'm sure kids books have come a long way, but when I was growing up I relied on fairy tales and Disney movies and can't recall any mentions of depression. So, my first thought would definitely have been a curse/hex/some other kind of supernatural interference. "

‘Witches’ is an excellent example of bedroom pop. What do you think makes this sound so appealing for you and so many others?

"Not trying to throw shade but mainstream music has been dominated by very slick, polished productions as long as I've been alive and I think audiences are craving authenticity and a bit of "undoneness". Especially since we mostly use social [media] to communicate with the world around us and everything on social media is so edited and filtered. People seem to appreciate authenticity even if it's at the expense of "quality" (in quotes because it's extremely subjective) and I think that's how bedroom pop has found its feet.

I love super polished pop productions, but to be honest, I still listen to Doja Cat's ‘MOOO!’ way more than ‘Kiss Me More’. girl in red recently released ‘Serotonin’ which is great but I'm still going back to ‘we fell in love in october’. As for why I make bedroom pop, I guess I like quirkiness over polished too (the nest I'm rocking on my head right now definitely fits the vibe too). "

Triple J's Tommy Faith describes you as someone who “refuses to take herself too seriously. It’s a big part of the charm [of Melbs bb]…”. Do you agree? How important is authenticity to you as an artist and as a person?

"Firstly, I love Tommy so much. He's such a genuinely kind person and I feel so blessed that he both likes my music and also "gets" it. I totally agree that I refuse to take myself seriously. Truth is I used to be in bands that took themselves VERY SERIOUSLY and as much as I enjoyed being a super serious artist, it does steal the fun away. I'm running this project on my own and making everything myself, the only way I'm going to survive is if I make it fun.

Even my songs dealing with the heaviest subjects will always have jokes and weird references and my dog barking in the background because that's what makes me happy. Authenticity is not so important to me as it is something I can't get away from me. I'm just me and everything I do, say and make sounds/looks/feels like me. To be honest, I couldn't keep up some facade if I tried. My poker face doesn't exist."

What can we expect next from Melbs bb?

"I have a couple more singles lined up to release and then an EP I'm extremely excited for!! I have most of the demos recorded and regularly listen to them because I think they're straight up bops. Hope other people agree. If not, then please send me your constructive feedback and I'll try to do better next time. Thanks for the chat :)"

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