In a society where being strong and resilient is often held up like a badge of honour, it’s much, much harder to acknowledge when enough is enough – to accept when it’s time to let go. It’s a truth that New Zealand singer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Amelia Murray has spent years wrangling with, but one whose story thankfully comes with an empowering punchline of personal reclamation in the form of ‘Break!’: her returning EP as Fazerdaze.
“You can get so caught up in these false constructs of niceness and loyalty – these rigid societal constructs of what being a ‘good’ person’ is – but the best thing I did for myself was break free of that paradigm and ruthlessly start putting myself first,” she begins. “This EP is a punctuation mark of that, of being disruptive and severing from the false parts of myself.”
Rewind back half a decade and, objectively, things for Fazerdaze were hitting their stride. Then residing in Auckland (Amelia recently moved to a small place of her own in Christchurch in the South Island), an early determination to graft hard and “put herself in the right places” had led to working for and then signing with legendary New Zealand label Flying Nun. A debut LP – 2017’s ‘Morningside’ – followed, full of gauzy melodies and influenced by Frankie Cosmos, Japanese Breakfast, and the dream-pop landscape of the time.
Having made music in various guises since a young age, feeling alternately “boxed in” by the limiting stereotypes of what a young solo female artist ‘should’ be or frustrated by bandmates lacking the same work ethic, Amelia passionately recalls the moment of finally feeling the gears shift and slot into place. “This time it felt different because it all depended on me,” she says. “I was really self-motivated and Fazerdaze was the first time I’d had the confidence to do something on my own, which was super liberating.” Lead single ‘Lucky Girl’ soon became a breakthrough hit, while ‘Morningside’ picked up rave reviews from publications around the world, hailed as “effortless pop songs that are far less effortless than people think” by Pitchfork and “a fuzzed-up, Pixies-worthy melodic high” by Mojo. Taking Fazerdaze out of her native NZ (none-too-easy a task) and onto the wider musical stage, it was, from the outside, everything Amelia had been reaching for for years.