Updated: Jan 5
Last week saw Brisbane’s very own Melrose. release his latest single, 'Jealous (I Swear I’m Not)' and it’s not hard to hear the appeal of the track: The single is guided by his vulnerable perspective of young love and the immeasurable feelings of jealousy that accompany a relationship ending, explored through bright instrumentals and catchy melodies. The track starts off gently, but increasingly builds up layers of rhythm, pledging itself as an indie-pop track that you’d jam out to in a bar with your friends (while pretending that you aren’t completely obsessed with your ex.)
'Jealous (I Swear I’m Not)' is simplistic in its lyricism yet wonderfully catchy, adding a more relatable layer to depicting the struggle of wanting a relationship back after it’s ended. It is a clear demonstration of Melrose.’s more experimental, mellifluous take on song production, layering verses that are bursting with sunny hooks and an infectious rhythm. Melrose.’s voice is as good as his production, it holds a sweet tonality and lightness that ties the track together beautifully.
We got to have a chat with Melrose. about the single, his influences and what’s to come:
Let’s talk about your latest single! 'Jealous (I Swear I’m Not)'... I was surprised to see it originally wasn’t going to be a full-length track until you posted a little snippet on Tik Tok for fun, and then got pressured (supportively) by people asking you to release it. Can you tell me a little bit more about the creative process behind transforming Jealous into a full-length single?
‘Jealous (I Swear I’m Not)’ was always one of my favourite ideas, but I thought it was a little too odd and different for me to put out officially. So it sat unfinished for a couple of months. Then, after a heartbreak, I needed a distraction so I started making short music videos in my apartment and I figured I’d use 'Jealous'. As soon as I put it out it got a big response, and everyone just assumed I was teasing it for a full release. But NO! That 1 minute was all I had! So I went back to my old notes and tried to piece together a second verse and ending. I started writing and rewriting all these extra bits, re-recording the chorus, trying to make it seem “bigger” and “cooler” but at the end of the day, people really responded to what was already there, so I scaled it all back. In the end, I just added a simple 2nd verse and let the song carry itself out. And I’m so happy I did! The response to the song has been so great.
Another good reminder to keep it simple, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The single thematically depicts a relationship turning sour and the jealousy that is the outcome of seeing your ex with someone else - but the song is so dancy and infectiously warm in its entirety. Do you intentionally contradict optimistic pop tracks with more brooding and introspective lyrics?
It’s not an intentional thing but my songs always end up having that ‘fun but sad’ vibe! Like, when I first got into music, I looooooved Gorillaz and Chic, but often the lyrics are unintelligible or just nonsense. I found enjoyment in the rhythms, and all the music surrounding the words.
But later I found Mallrat and Amy Winehouse and realised you could write lyrics about all the stuff you vent to your best friend about. So I switched and became obsessed with brutal honesty. Lyrics that make you go “ouch”. Not because it’s sad necessarily, but because you feel attacked by the accuracy. All those emotions around jealousy, pettiness, romance - they are soooo good for that.
Without thinking about it, I like to put those two concepts together, fun music, honest words - best of both worlds!
You’re a producer, songwriter AND you direct music videos (multi-talented king.) I think what fascinates me is that you can nail every step of the creative process behind the music and it comes so naturally to you, but you actually started out with a law degree! Can you tell me about when music became such a big part of your life and why you decided to make the switch from corporate life to full-time music production?
Thank you, king! Music has always been really big for me, my Dad was a big influence - I didn’t have an iPod as a kid, so I used to steal his radio at night and listen to all the Hot 30 countdowns until midnight - but I never thought I could actually ‘make’ music until I was in University.
I started teaching myself music production and a few instruments and found it so absorbing. By the end of the first year, I had stopped going to all my classes altogether. I still managed to graduate, but once I did, I left my law job and decided to pursue a music career. ‘Jealous (I Swear I’m Not)’ is my first big step since I made that decision, and I’m excited to keep going!
Hope those degrees can stay unused a little longer.
When creating a song, from the production to songwriting, do you have any rules or structures you abide by? Or is it entirely what you feel in the moment?
I don’t really have any set rules, it’s always changing! But I think a general rule for me right now is consistency. Getting up and writing something small every day is better than waiting around for an idea to fall out of the sky and hit me.
For example, ‘Jealous (I Swear I’m Not)’ came about from three different 5-minute ideas from three different days. I had this really heavy rap beat on a Monday, and I also had this Bossa-nova guitar idea from the day before. I wasn’t really getting anywhere with either of them.
Then I thought - “wonder what happens when I put them together” and suddenly I had the instrumental to 'Jealous'. A week before that, I had written about how I saw an ex with a new partner and I wrote down how jealous I was but how I didn’t want to admit it to them. So I put those words over the song and BAM!
If I hadn’t been consistently making little ideas every day, nothing would have joined up the way it did! So that’s my one rule - consistency. The moment comes and goes, so you just have to be prepared when it arrives.
You recently played your first show at the Hotel Carrington and landed a spot on the Mountain Goat Valley Crawl - incredible - how does it feel to start performing your music to a live audience?
I was so worried initially about my first show but it was so full of love and support, it WENT OFF, and gave me a big rush of confidence.
But then I played a show a few days later and I got heckled (I like to wear weird, colourful clothes and some took issue with it). But the weird thing was, I kinda loved that too. Playing live and getting a reaction, good or bad, is kind of addicting.
So now I am SO EXCITED to play Mountain Goat Valley Crawl in February and get some reactions!
If you were given the shot, which artist would you love to collaborate with and why?
If I had to pick one, it’d be Mallrat - I think she’s a super-duper special artist and her honest, matter-of-fact lyricism is a big inspiration for me. Plus she’s showing how Brisbane/Australian artists can remain themselves, be unique and have such a big impact. She’s always had her own style and never shied away from that.
Plus I reckon she seems like a really nice human to be around, even if we didn’t end up making a happy/sad banger, it would be a fun time in the studio for sure.
Lastly - I want to know what’s coming up for Melrose.? Is there anything we can look forward to in the near future?
I’m playing Mountain Goat Valley Crawl next year (Feb 12!) which I’m absolutely stoked for! I’ve got visuals ready to go and I’ve been rehearsing like crazy, gonna be a wild night.
Plus, I’ll have a new song out in February too, and it’s honestly one of my favourites I’ve ever written. It’s all happening in February!! (every time I write the word February it looks like I spelled it wrong, do you feel that too?)