6th November 2023
Nell Mescal is one of the most promising up-and-coming names in indie pop at the moment. I was incredibly lucky to get to sit down with Nell before her show at LEAF on Bold Street in late January. I have been following Nell for a while with this being my second time seeing her and she does not disappoint. If Nell’s not on your radar she needs to be as one of the most promising products of Ireland’s flourishing Indie pop scene.
I think for the EP that’s coming out in May it’s definitely very Lucy Dacus inspired. There are even some songs inspired by Ethel Cain and things like that. But also, both of those are prime examples of people I think are such great performers. They both just perform in a totally different way. I’ve seen Ethel Cain perform so many times and the way she interacts with the fans, and everything she does is just so purposeful and personal. It’s just so perfect and I think it’s just so beautiful.
Yeah exactly, I just really love her so she is a big inspiration for me.
My favourite song I’ve written is definitely one called Warm Body but that actually isn’t out yet. My favourite one to perform I would say Killing Time. I swear I’m not just saying that because I recently put it out, it’s just so fun. It’s only been out for a few days and people are still trying to sing along. That’s so sweet, it just feels really fun and really good live. So yeah I don’t know probably that one.
I’m going to be so honest I feel like there’s just a lot of background lore with me. I guess that it’s just as and when things happen I write about them. So I guess now I’m writing love songs which you won’t hear for a while. It’s just interesting because I never thought I’d write songs like that but now I really can’t stop writing them. I guess, it’s just a bit different every day just what I’m going through at the time.
In terms of writing, I had written one song ages ago and I was like I know if I’m doing a project this has to be a song that really matters to it. I was writing a lot of songs and all of a sudden I realised I had written a bunch of songs that worked really well together. Then when I went in to record it was the best experience ever. I worked with my producer Duncan Mills and Charlie Sinclair my guitarist was very heavily involved as well. It was just honestly the best time but it was a very smelly room for a month and it was just crazy and chaotic but so fun.
I worked with Charlie on guitar as I mentioned and then Meg was drumming on a few of the tracks. Dave was away I was very sad he couldn’t do it, so Charlie did his bass. It was just a really cool experience and I’ve never been as proud of a piece of work as I am of this. So I can’t wait for people to hear it!
I wrote that actually with my friend Kai Bosch who’s actually also a singer.
That’s so cool, Kai actually opened for me as well! I lived with Katie, and Kai lives with her now so absolutely love both of them. It’s all very incestuous! Kai supported me for my first-ever headline show in the UK.
We wrote In My Head in the first-ever session we did. He’s so good yeah we wrote it and I just loved it. It was very weird for me I guess that’s a song about a relationship and I wasn’t really in a space to write about that. Despite that, I think I was like we’re collaborating let’s do it anyway and now I’m really happy with it! It is weird though because only now I start to understand it and I’m realising oh wow it’s really deep.
That’s crazy because you saw me at Latitude and when I sang that song then it was the first time I really felt it. I felt so emotional and really close to tears and I couldn’t really understand it. It was just really emotional.
This is going to be such an annoying answer but it changes all the time. The thing is I’ll say it’s the Florence and the Machine shows or like any show and I do mean it but then two days later I remember another show and that becomes my favourite. Latitude is one of them but I played All Points East and I headlined a stage. That was the week before I supported Haim in Shepherds Bush it just felt so momentous and like such a growth thing. I won’t forget about that one anytime soon.
Those were so fun! I don’t know about the shows coming up I guess London because it’s the biggest show I’ve done so far. Loads of my friends are coming to that one as well. I mean literally every night surprises me I wasn’t expecting Nottingham and Birmingham to show up the way they did so I’m super excited for every night.
The EP coming out is definitely what I’m focusing on for the moment and I’m really excited about putting out another single for it. I’m just really excited about all of it we got the final masters back for it today so I can’t wait to listen! I don’t know, a lot more shows and a lot more touring hopefully. A little break would be nice after the EP yeah if I can fit it in. Maybe a little holiday, I don’t know I feel like you rest when you’ve made it.
Come to a gig ok ok!
She posted me on her story, I actually had a panic attack and like immediately started crying I just couldn’t believe it.
No, I one hundred percent wouldn’t want that pressure like I could say Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell or Adrianne Lenker. I could say so many musical people but realistically I want someone I fancy to come to my show. Like my celebrity crush, you know what I mean that’s who I want at my show. Selfishly just one of my many celebrity crushes! Anyone serious musically is just too much pressure for me.
The first support act was Liverpool local and LIPA graduate Astles whose melodic indie pop was a gentle and lyrical introduction to the night. Astle’s music is an ode to his youth and coming-of-age reflective of these themes he dedicates songs to his grandparents and younger brother in touching tributes. If you are in Liverpool find wherever Astles is performing and go, you won’t regret it!
Alice Auer has been opening for Nell across a series of dates on this tour, her set was incredibly stripped back with her singing accompanied by just a keyboard and an electric guitar. Her lyrics are poetic and raw matching her stripped-back sound fittingly. Alice’s set dealt with some incredibly difficult topics like loss and grief with Alice even performing a song about a car crash she and her boyfriend were involved in. Alice was a more than fitting support for Nell’s show it is clear that with more songs released Alice’s reputation for songwriting and poeticism will only grow.
Nell opened her set with the mellow but impactful ballad Graduating which she followed swiftly with Punchline a pairing of songs that truly show her breadth as an artist, from slow-moving ballads to building pop anthems Nell can deliver either way.
The set featured a blend of released and unreleased songs, with fan favourites Punchline and Teeth notably driving up the energy. Their introspective lyrics alongside building layers of powerful guitar and energetic drums drew the audience in and got everyone dancing right till the end of the set.
The unreleased songs Nell performed included Electric Picnic and Yellow Dresser. When announcing both songs she described the deeply personal stories behind them showcasing her use of songwriting as an emotional outlet. If the new EP is anything like these tracks it is going to be a lyrical masterclass.
Later in the set, her band left the stage except for guitarist and incredible vocalist Charlie Sinclair allowing them to perform a few songs stripped back. This included a cover which Nell admitted she was hesitant to include in the set. Despite her uncertainty, she got the audience singing along to the cover of Gracie Abram’s I Miss You I’m Sorry.
Nell’s ability to engage and interact with the crowd took centre stage handing the mic over to audience members during the final song of the night Homesick. Her performance and stage presence oozed with charisma and growing confidence as the night progressed. The relationship between her and her band is incredible and their relaxed stage presence translates into a performance that makes the whole gig feel like friends hanging out playing their instruments.
Nell Mescal has proved time and time again why she is one to watch on the indie pop scene and her show at LEAF confirmed that for me once more. Her vocals were unfalteringly powerful and emotive from start to finish, while her stage presence and charisma effortlessly drew in and engaged the audience. This show and speaking to Nell about her journey have made me even more excited for her EP to come out in early May.
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