Born in California in 1988, as a teenager Natalie Mering began performing music under the name Wise Blood, taken from a Flannery O’Connor novel, later changing the spelling to Weyes Blood. She was active in the noise underground scene in Portland and Baltimore before releasing her solo debut, The Outside Room, in 2011. She has since released three more albums, including Front Row Seat To Earth (2016) and this year’s acclaimed Titanic Rising. She plays in Glasgow on 28 October, Manchester on 29 October and London on 30 October.
She’s an incredible artist from Seoul, South Korea, who makes really beautiful digital paintings. I first saw her artwork in the Editorial Magazine, a little homespun publication from Montreal. She draws a lot of weird bedroom scenes of women and girls, very surrealist – almost like a psychedelic video game or something. I love her art’s beauty and femininity: it has a lot of pinks and it’s very shiny. It kind of looks like candy. There’s one I love where there’s a woman crying over a young girl crying on a bed.
I was excited to find out that Paul McCartney recently endorsed Greta Thunberg to get an award, and Jane Fonda got arrested for protesting climate change. I appreciate the boomers re-entering the scene and bolstering up the kids. I feel like it’s vital for them to get on board, considering that we’re still under the weight of their influence. There’s a disparity right now: there’s a lot of young kids that are doing things – they have the free time and aren’t saddled by exhaustion and work – and wealthy older people. We need to fill in that middle zone.
Big Mouth is an adult cartoon show about kids in seventh grade who are going through puberty. People have read about psychotherapy and our subconscious relationship to sex, but this just makes it so funny and enlightening. It’s a refreshing, very psychological take on people’s dynamics and relationships and how those formative years start the course of the rest of your life. It’s got layers of meaning, besides being really funny. There’s a character called the Shame Wizard that comes out, a little after the Hormone Monster shows up, to make them all feel ashamed – I think that’s really cute.
It’s a beautiful piece of work. She has developed so much as a songwriter – she isn’t afraid to use quieter acoustic elements and really dramatic language. I think she’s a true outsider, and one of the last alternative artists that are as big as something like Nirvana. People love to criticise her: they think she’s this calculated creation but, having worked with her, she’s so authentically who she is. The song Bartender is my favourite on the album – I know a lot of girls who have fallen in love with their bartenders. It’s such a romantic, relatable narrative arc.
This was a remarkable project: as part of a reforestation campaign, millions of Ethiopians planted 350m trees in 12 hours. It’s a place where I’m sure there’s not as much expendable time and income as might exist in America, so I’d like to imagine what we could do if we all decided to – how many billions of trees we could plant. There is an argument about whether or not this is the most efficient solution, but I think any little thing you could possibly do, you should. Taking action and doing these simple things – I think that’s really admirable.
It’s a book about attachment theory, and one of the more informative books I’ve read in terms of understanding how you bond with people in a romantic relationship. There’s a big myth that co-dependency is a negative thing, that self-reliance is the ultimate structure of perfection. But we were biologically built to be co-dependent, and that’s a very beautiful thing – the negative aspects of co-dependency have more to do with different attachment styles. It’s a really important read for anybody interested in long-term monogamy, or just being in a healthy relationship.