Wednesday May 1st, 7.30pm, The Workman’s Cellar
Merpire, the moniker of Melbourne-based artist Rhiannon Atkinson-Howatt writes music living somewhere between the rom-com and horror movie sections of her mind.
Off the back of her independent, debut EP release, ‘Endless Chatter’ in 2018, Merpire showcased at BIGSOUND and sold out her Australian east coast EP tour. By the end of 2019, Merpire and her captivating, predominantly queer and female band had accrued an impressive list of supports including Julia Jacklin, Angie McMahon, Didirri and Gengahr (UK) and a slew of Australian festivals – A festival called PANAMA, Brunswick Music Fest and featuring with Rat!hammock at Laneway). With their live show flowing between intimate pop ballads and fully
immersive alt-indie heart-shakers, one can understand its consistent description as an emotional rollercoaster.
Despite having to cancel three tours in 2020, including a national tour with Spacey Jane, Merpire continued her ever-present resilience by co-founding award-winning online music festival, ISOL-AID and releasing a side-project EP with producer and band mate James Seymour under the name, Wilson’s Prom. ‘Wilson’s Prom’ debuted at #1 on the U.S community radio album charts, leaving Smashing Pumpkins at #2.
In 2021, Merpire released her debut record, ‘Simulation Ride’, co-produced with James Seymour, via ADA Records – a record about looking for positivity in anxiety. It landed the feature album spot on Double J and SYN radio, winning hearts around the country. Overseas, lead single ‘Brain Cells’ was featured on BBC Radio 1’s Jack Saunders’ Future Artists, ‘Village’ on NPR, La Blogothèque and The Line of Best Fit, as well as features in CLASH magazine, NME, Atwood magazine and more. Developing her skills in video direction and production led to her videos for ‘Heavy Feeling’ and ‘Dinosaur’ not only being added to ABC’s iconic Rage, but added as Rage’s ‘Wild One’ of the week – a teenage dream for Merpire.
As Merpire goes from strength to strength, so too does her fanbase and their loyalty to her, her music and her live show. Merpire and her band played the ‘Simulation Ride’ album launch to a record number of home town Melbourne fans after it was postponed more than 3 times due to the pandemic. One fan even flew him and his wife down from Cape York, just for the night, just for the show.
With such powerful, versatile performances, it wasn’t long before the word spread overseas capturing the hearts of Irish indie-rock outift, Pillow Queens. After their double appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden, Pillow Queens took Merpire’s band around the UK in May 2022 on an 8-date tour, collecting new fans and industry eager for her return.
Now in 2023, back from another tour around the UK and Ireland with Ailbhe Reddy (IRE), Hockey Dad and FORM Presents, Merpire dreams up for the release of her second album, ‘Milkpool’.