Artist v Artist | IV League v San Mei

This Labour Day eve (Sunday May 6th), we’re bringing some of the country’s best and brightest together for a super special night of music at The Foundry, Brisbane. To celebrate, we got Melbourne’s IV League and the Gold Coast’s San Mei – who both released CRACKING new singles last Friday – together for an Artist v Artist chat before they join Chakra Efendi, Felivand, Bongo Bois and CONTROL DJs at The Foundry (tickets on sale here). 


IV League: Hi Emily, nice to meet you! Congratulations on the single release, ‘Wonder’ is such a damn groove and sounds so confident and polished. Tell me a bit about the song!
San Mei: Hey Bella! Lovely to meet you and thanks for the kind words! ‘Wonder’ is a song that I wrote fairly quickly, which doesn’t happen too often for me. The main guitar riff is probably the first thing that came to me, with the rest of the parts flowing fairly naturally from that. The song is about falling for/becoming infatuated with a stranger – your classic butterflies, stars in your eyes scenario. I felt like the upfront, simple lyrics really suited the energy of the song, as well as the simplicity of the melodies and structure.

IV League: Something I’ve noticed about San Mei is that your visuals are really cohesive and synchronize perfectly with your music. Your music videos are quite cinematic all seem to exist within the same Palo Alto-esque teen movie universe. Do you think a lot about the paring of visual and audio within this project or is that something that comes together organically rather than being premeditated?
San Mei: Why thanks for noticing! The visuals of my project are definitely something that I put a lot of thought into – I’m personally into so many different things that I’ve had to be intentional in trying to hone in on an aesthetic that feels natural but also fits the mood of what I’m doing musically.

IV League: You have an EP coming out later this year (which I can’t wait to hear!) that you recorded with Oscar Dawson, whose work I really admire. How was the recording process?
San Mei: Recording with Oscar was awesome – before we started, I was a little nervous about having to be vulnerable with someone who I’ve admired, but we hit it off straight away and our recording sessions were really fun and laid back. Oscar really helped refine the songs and bring out the best in them without taking away from the original ideas/vibes.

IV League: I am so impressed by the quality of bands that come out of QLD, and the success rate of Brissy and Gold Coast bands seems almost unbeatable within the Australian music scene. How has your experience been developing as an artist amongst your peers in QLD?
San Mei: I’m stoked that there has been so much good music coming out of QLD – the music scene in Brisbane has a particularly strong sense of community, where it feels like people are collaborating with and rooting for each other and just being supportive in general. That kind of environment has to spur creativity. I think it’s a cool time to be in music up these ways at the moment!

IV League: Lastly, I feel as though we are at a point in the past decade in Australia in which guitar driven/rock music performed by women and gender non conforming folk is dominating radio and live music scenes in a way unlike anything I have seen before. Which ladies/non binary musicians are inspiring you at the moment in Aus? Whose Spotify should I stalk?
San Mei: I absolutely love that guitar-driven music is having its moment again right now. It’s exciting to see the rise of artists like Ali Barter, Bec Sandridge, Sloan Peterson, Jack River in a time where it feels like electronic music has been dominating the industry. As for stalking suggestions, I’m really loving the nostalgia and dreaminess of Hatchie’s music right now.


02 - Photographer - Eliza Hay

San Mei: Firstly, congrats on the release of ‘Superstar’ – a huge tune! I love the accompanying music video and was instantly captured when I first watched it. Where on earth did you find that killer location?
IV League: Thank you so much! The location is actually the Coburg drive in in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. Our clever director Meg scouted it.

San Mei: I really connect with the meaning of ‘Superstar’ and I thought it was interesting that you said the term ‘superstar’ isn’t one we hear very often when speaking of aspirations. Do you think it can be hard to admit to the sort of dreams you have for yourself in a culture in Australia where humility and a self-deprecating sort of humour are prized?
IV League: I’m really glad to hear you connect with it, I feel like yearning for success is something that all artists go through in some form, no matter how blasé about their pursuit of a career in music they appear to be. I also feel like it’s rarely explored in songs. You’ve really hit the nail on its head here regarding the self depreciating humour in our culture, sometimes I feel like it’s so ingrained in me that I really hold back and don’t allow myself to feel/act as outwardly excited about great opportunities I’ve received as my loved ones do on my behalf. I’m working on learning to embrace being an openly ambitious person haha.

San Mei: The 90’s are a big influence for you and I love that you convey that in attitude and aesthetic – if IV League was a 90’s film, which one would it be?
IV League: This is literally the toughest question EVER because every day off throughout my entire high school/primary school existence was spent watching a 90s flick of some description. I’d say that we’re a mix between Greg Araki’s ‘The Doom Generation’ and ‘Empire Records’.

San Mei: What other genres are you into that you’d love to make music in?
IV League: I keep telling everyone how much I want to start a shoegaze band and its pretty much reached a point where I feel like I need to just shut up and do it. Other than that I love bedroom pop and made a lot of it in my late teens and I’m feeling like it might be time to explore a lo fi sound again.

San Mei: Lastly, let’s say IV League becomes as big as Beyoncé – what’s on your rider?
IV League: An Aperol Spritz dispensing fountain.

CONTROL Presents:
Labour Day Eve at The Foundry, Brisbane
Sunday 6 May | Event Link | Tickets