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April 28, 2008 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

Seth & Merle

So, there’s this band and I really like them. They’re called Seth & Merle, and they make kind of beautiful wafting folk music with some kicks from this keyboard and amazing lyrics that stay in your head all day. They played a great set at Camp a Low Hum 2008 (“Like, one of the best things ever”) and supported Beirut when they were in town. Being that they’re sort of awesome, I went to ask them questions and they gave me tea.

Sean Kelly (vocals/guitar), Chris Reid (banjo/guitar) and Eammon Logan (keys) met at Wellington College. They like to finish each other’s sentences. “Chris and I learnt guitar together and decided we wanted to make a death metal acoustic band,” says Sean. “And then we decided that everyone would laugh at us. Then I met Eammon in sixth form because he was in my English class.” “I had no idea who Eammon was,” Chris says. “Yeah, I said ‘Oh, Eammon’s in the band’ to Chris and he was like, oh, OK. And then it took us three months to make a song,” Sean goes on.

“[At Rockquest] the only thing that worked the whole time was my singing, so you could hear my voice whining away and then suddenly the banjo would come in,” says Sean. “We got our first abuse at Rockquest. Someone said I sounded like…” “an American girl,” finishes Eammon.

“Rockquest was actually quite a good night, even though playing was extremely depressing. Afterwards we talked to Aidan [Leong, from local darlings So So Modern] and that was really nice,” says Eammon. “He was very supportive.” “And we had our first gig the week after, and he came to that with Grayson [Gilmour, also of So So Modern],” says Sean. “And then we just got kind of lucky.” “Shaun [K] Anderson was the biggest help,” says Chris. “We met him in a bar,” says Sean. “And he recorded us for free,” continues Chris. “And then we had a random gig up at the gun emplacements, and then Blink [of A Low Hum] came to that,” says Sean. And how did they meet the guy who got them a gig with Beirut, Matthew Crawley? At Camp a Low Hum 2008, ‘We did our interview with National Radio and I was wearing a Daniel Johnson t-shirt,” Chris says. “And he came up to me and told me that true love will find me in the end.”

Who would the band love to open for? Like, in their dreams? “Sufjan Stevens would be cool,” says Chris. “Beirut would be sweet!” says Eammon. “Yeah, Beirut would be pretty good…” Chris says. “Before we got asked to do the Beirut thing, I dreamt that we got asked over for Iron & Wine, but you said no,” Sean tells Eammon. “And I wasted you. But then you said yes to the Beirut one so you’re alright.”

Where will they be in ten years? When they’re old? “I probably won’t have a house. I can imagine me not having a house. Or anywhere else,” Eammon says. “I’ll probably be overseas sleeping under a bridge.” “With your keyboards,” says Chris. “I’m keen to be in Canada,” says Sean. “I want to have a ten person alt-country band. [To Chris] You’ll be making wine, I’ll be…” “Making music,” Chris continues.

Sean’s still in Wellington, studying at Victoria; Eammon’s working in Auckland; and Chris is in the ‘mighty Taradale’ studying viticulture. Where do they see themselves in six months? “Touring the world!” says Eammon. “In Taradale,” says Chris. “I can see us trying to make a new song via the internet,” says Sean. “Me sending one song to Chris, Chris sending it to Eammon and Eammon sending it back.” “And I don’t have a computer so I’ll just send you a tape,” Eammon says. “Maybe try to play some shows in Auckland as well since Eammon’s there.” says Sean. He also promises that they’ll have an EP out soon. In the meantime, I think you should go to their MySpace (sethmerlefttheacidtest) and listen to their songs. Do it.

“We’re a band with good karma,” says Sean. “Lucky band, we’re a lucky band.” “We must sound alright if people want us to play and stuff” Chris says.


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