Natalie Mering makes big music.

The songs she records under the Weyes Blood moniker are striking most of all for their scale – Front Row Seat To Earth, the record she released earlier this year, is one big, long, emphatic chorus, exuding as it does both grandeur and an embattled sense of defiance. It is the kind of music that overloads you, deliberately overstuffing you with climbing scales and beautiful, overdubbed vocal lines until you surrender and give in.

One would imagine that carting around a discography that epic would come with its own share of problems – it’s hard to imagine Mering belting out a song like ‘Generation Why’ in a DIY punk venue, for example – but the Californian musician argues that performing is one of the most cherished parts of her artistic process, particularly at smaller venues. “Playing these tiny rooms all jammed with people … those have been some of our most fun shows,” she says. “Those have been really special.”

Touring the world in support of her acclaimed new record has also afforded Mering a unique vantage point to note differences between international audiences, and she relishes analysing and understanding the crowds who flock to see her.

“I think there’s subtle variations between audiences. In Northern Europe and Southern Europe and even the States and Canada, there’s little subtle differences everywhere.

“I’ll notice different crowd vibes depending on the venue too, in any given place. You can tell if it’s a [venue] run by people who really try or people who don’t really care that much. There’s a lot of things that go into a show.”

Of course, by association, there are a lot of obstacles to overcome in order to play a gig. Though Mering doesn’t suffer from stage fright per se, she does struggle when it comes to finding the balance between fulfilling her own performative needs and not shutting the audience out entirely. “I don’t look at the audience, because I think it would really distract me if I locked eyes with people,” she says. “But I see performers do that and I’m really envious that they’re capable of doing that. I feel like if I did that I’d see too many souls and lose my concentration. I actually zone out on the audience and just look past them.

“There’s times where performing is better than others. There are times when it’s really transcendental and amazing and times when it feels like you’re kind of just going through the motions. But it’s funny, there are times when I’m playing sometimes and I’ll notice somebody in the back and I can feel someone’s energy being really involved or something. Like, if they stand out to me and I can tell they’re having a moment or it’s really affecting them. That’s kinda cool.”

For Mering, it’s all about creating open lines of communication with her audiences. She is thankful for everything they have given her; thankful for every punter who rocks up to cheer her on. “People reach out to me – it’s hard for me to keep track. Like, my Facebook messages – I don’t read them all. There’s only so many ways to be in touch. At shows is the best. Like, I’ve had people come up to me and start conversation and things like that. That’s great.”

And yet ultimately, for Mering it all comes down to the music. Everything else is distraction: the songs and the songs alone are the reason she does what she does. “The songs are like my baby children,” she says with a gentle laugh. “They’re all spreading out across the world.”

Front Row Seat To Earth isout now through Mexican Summer.Weyes Bloodplays at Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent on Thursday January 19 as part of Sydney Festival.

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