We Chat To Sydney Musician Moody Beach About Her Debut EP

Today marks the official release of Moody Beach‘s debut self-titled EP. You’d be forgiven for mistaking the name to be something else because that’s exactly what I thought when I first heard/saw the name. But perhaps that’s because we all have a Moody Beach within us? Hmm..

Nonetheless, having only heard a handful of the Sydney singer/songwriter’s hazy and dream-pop creations, we wanted to get to know the girl behind Moody Beach a little bit better, ahead of the release of her new EP.

Who are you and how would you describe yourself?
My name’s Melissah Picca but I go by Melissah Marie most of the time. I have lots of thoughts and I like change – those two things are what fuel most of my tunes under Moody Beach.

Making music is what keeps me sane. I love culture. I live in Redfern; I speak some Spanish and Italian. I’m sensitive to people and the environments I’m in. I like parties and eating pasta. One day I’d like to recite my words and lyrics at an open mic night with no music.

Why did you choose the moniker Moody Beach? Is it a play on words for something
else?

Moody Beach is a play on words for sure. I’m not shy in saying that I’m referring to myself haha. It didn’t come about with that intention though. Moody Beach was a name one of my friends came up with when we were brainstorming about what our band name would be (even though none of us played any instruments at the time). I picked up bass years later, learnt guitar after that and made songs from then on. It’s like my yoga now. It quiets me. Some people would say that’s a hard thing to do. I guess you could say Moody Beach is a way for me to be less of a Moody Beach.

You’re releasing your self-titled debut EP this Friday! Woo! What can you tell us about it?
Yes! I’m excited to share it with everyone. I didn’t have the intention of creating an EP; [the] recording was something I wanted to do to have a few of my demos sounding finished, so I could see if other people would be interested to play with me and I could perform live. My friend put me in touch with Carl Fox who co-produced the EP. The songs are a mix of old and new.

‘I Should Exercise’ is the oldest and the recording ended up with a lot less guitar from
what I started with in the demo, I had a bit of a mental breakdown finishing it. Would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall for that… I’m proud of where the EP has ended up and can’t wait to record another one.

What do you want listeners to take away from your new EP?
Listeners should take away whatever they want. Have a time, have a mope, and have a hug. Anything that makes them feel something. If any of the tracks can be one of those ones that someone stumbles across five months or five years down the track and it makes them feel something that resonates with them that they don’t forget, I would be absolutely stoked. Soko’s ‘Want To Make It New With You’ made me feel like that. So did Dirty Beaches’ ‘True Blue’.

Which song/s from the record do you connect with the most?
‘Hawaii’ was my first love song. The lyrics are the most sentimental to me. I was trying to learn an Elvis song at the time and when I had a break, ‘Hawaii’ happened. ‘Vanilla’ and ‘All I Do’ I think paint the picture of how I always wanted Moody Beach to sound. ‘All I Do’ ended up sounding more political than I meant it to lyrically but the words felt right to me so I rolled with it. ‘I Should Exercise’, like I said, did my head in finishing. I wrote it when I was in a rut too. You know how everyone tells you that exercise makes you feel good? I was flight attending and exercise was the last thing I felt like doing after flying. So, I wrote a song instead.

Recording all the tracks and having them produced properly felt so good. I’ve been so used to recording lo-fi, DIY style. I connect with all of them in different ways.

Talk us through your song writing/creative process. What comes first – the melody or the lyrics?
All the songs start with [me] playing the guitar on my own. Then the words fall out. If I’m stuck, I’ll just go through my most recent notepads. I usually have about three or four notepads on the go at a time. I like recording a whole song at a time. If I’m recording a demo, even if it’s on my phone, I generally have the structure down packed. Then I’ll polish it up in Logic with lots of layering ideas, lots of harmonies. When I decide to get them produced, I’m open to restructuring the songs slightly but I don’t like to change the lyrics or the idea too much. I prefer to keep them as true to what I was thinking or feeling at the time and I have more confidence in them that way.

Who are you listening to these days? If we were to look at your “Recently Added” or
“Recently Played” playlists, who would we find?
Supergrass! I listen to the same song repeat, over and over and over again. ‘Mary’ was the
track last week. I’ve also been listening to the Undertones and a band called Tennis. It just depends on the mood I’m in at the time. If I’m going out and I feel flat, I listen to Total Control’s ‘Carpet Rash’. If it’s a Sunday and I feel romantic, I listen to Barry White haha. Cambio Sun is my new favourite local act. I saw him at a Red Earth party Moody played last month. I love playing live and finding acts that become your favourites by sharing a stage with them.

Aside from being a recording artist, you also run a quarterly party in Redfern called ‘Cult Club’ which focuses on emerging Sydney artists. How did that come about and
how can Sydney artists get involved?
I was playing in my previous band, The Rememberz, from Adelaide but I had just moved to Sydney. We had a Sydney show lined up at Tokyo Sing Song with a band called The Stress of Leisure on the Friday but our Saturday night show had fallen through. So, I was in my friend Tommy’s barbershop having a whinge about it and he offered to have bands in the shop (Hair by Tommy J’s) – so we did. It was a good time, Budweiser and Sailor Jerry offered to get on board and support us by providing drinks for the gigs and now we run it every four months.

It’s about bringing more bands to Redfern and supporting the live music community there. We always make sure there’s a Sydney band on the bill but also look for any other artist touring from around Australia or overseas and invite them in when we can too. Any artist can get involved; they can either get in touch with me direct (imamoodybeach@gmail.com) or send us a message on Facebook or Instagram.

What does success look like for you?

More touring, more recording, more meeting people with fabulous taste in music. I’m looking forward to it all. Success is such a subjective thing… To me it looks like pursuing and being hungry for what it is you’re passionate about regardless of knock backs. That’s how I feel about music, it’s constant.

What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not on the road or recording?
That’s a tough question to answer! Going to gigs, eating wood oven pizza, writing words. Going to the gym is my new favourite thing to do… Pumping iron. I love putting on events too. Facilitating people sharing what they enjoy doing. I get a kick out of it.

What’s next for Moody Beach? Any live shows we can look forward to?
Yes, I have a bunch. The Lansdowne is my new favourite place to be. Here are the first three, the
rest will be on my Facebook  and Instagram:

  • 10 August, The Lansdowne w/ Julia Why? & Sachet
  • 11 August, The Union w/ Hollow Everdaze & Solid Effort
  • 17 August, The Lansdowne w/ NOIR & Tiny Little Houses

Moody Beach’s self-titled debut EP is out today via Personal Best Records.
Stream/download it NOW!