Get To Know Merlyn Wood [Interview]

Ian Hansen

I don’t know of any artist who is as passionate about moving the culture and sound of music forward than Merlyn Wood. He is curious by nature and that has gotten him to where he is now. It’s a new era for the BROCKHAMPTON member, as he is more dialed in on his solo work. His recent single, “ONE OF US,” is a hypnotic and beautiful track, which brings out Wood’s vulnerable side. Get to know Merlyn Wood below:

You just dropped your single, “ONE OF US.” How are you feeling about it and what does it mean to have it out?

I feel like a piece of me is out in the open now. A piece of my soul that people can have and replay. It feels very liberating. It feels like there are a lot of pieces of ourselves that we keep hidden. It’s really nice to have some things that I think even my closest friends wouldn’t know out in the open.

It’s one of your most vulnerable tracks you have out. How important was it for you to let that vulnerable side out?

I think that’s the ultimate goal, which is to get people to know who I am, Merlyn Wood, intimately as a human being rather than an entertainer more than somebody you listen to get hype to. I want to party with the people I have intimate conversations with. I think the order in which I present myself to the world is very important. I want people to get to know me first before they get turnt up to me.

What’s some advice you could give to your fans who might be going through some similar situations?

There is love out there in the world for you. No matter who you are. You could be on death row. It doesn’t matter. At some point somewhere, someone has shown you love. You need to realize that and access that and also go toward that as much as possible to get over whatever trouble is affecting you.

On the sonic side of things, you have such an eccentric sound. What was the process of you finding your sound over time?

Although I grew up in a musical household, it wasn’t until I heard “Kick, Push” by Lupe Fiasco. It was like the story that was being told. Storytelling always has a place in my heart. To me, storytelling is the fundamental unit of human consciousness. A city’s defining unit is the streets. For humans, it’s a story. That’s how we traverse through history, understand artists and other people. That’s how we understand the world is through story. What I want to do with my music is tell stories. I want to take people places they haven’t been before.

Who inspires you and your sound? Who makes you want to get up everyday and keep pursuing it?

I want to say my family. My friends and people that want to do what I’m doing but didn’t get the opportunity. Other musicians and people that want a better life but are living in literal hunger. I tell myself, “Stop being a bitch. Make some shit.” I have a one and a million opportunity. I’m more privileged than 99 percent of musicians. I get to be me and free. I have to remind myself not to waste it because there are other people who would kill for this spot, and I can help a lot of people.

Do you have moments where you’re like, “Wow, I’m really doing this.” What is that like?

I feel like I just climbed a mountain, but there is another mountain. I reached the end of the galaxy, and then there is a whole other dimension so I have to re-do it all again. I’ve done a lot, but there is so much more to do. I have so much hope, but I don’t know if that hope is going to pan out. I’d say it’s horror-esque. In a horror movie, if you wanted the person to die, there would be no horror. The horror is the hoping that the person survives. That’s exciting. The horror aspect of my life is, “Will I be able to have a successful career?”

What did the BROCKHAMPTON era teach you and how has it helped lead to this Merlyn Wood era?

BROCKHAMPTON is history. We made history together. I want to keep adding to the story of music. A lot of artists would rather than add to the history of music, they just add a sub note to someone else. They want to make music like this great artist. That’s not going to push the culture forward. What can you do that’s dangerous? I think art is something beautiful and dangerous at the same time. The controversial topics are worth talking about. I want to continue adding to the dialogue people should be having.

What’s the biggest thing you want your fans to remember from your work when it’s all said and done?

I want my fans to ask questions. I want them to wonder and be curious. Question everything. The world is based on questions. We are living in a time period where people are afraid to ask questions. Science is based on asking questions. Within reason, question. Get a good understanding of how the world works. There are so many unsolved mysteries. Trust your intuition, but do your own research.

How did asking questions help you along with your career and life?

I wouldn’t understand myself if I didn’t ask questions. I wouldn’t understand the world if I didn’t ask questions. I’d be stagnant if I didn’t ask questions. If I took my parents advice that music is a bad choice I wouldn’t be a rapper and wouldn’t be successful. If I took people’s word, I’d be blind. It’s a harmful mentality. We should allow people to judge what is good and what is not for themselves.

What can fans look forward to from you? What is next and what goals do you have?

I want to expose people to stuff they’ve never heard. Expect the unexpected. I’m going to make music a lot of people are going to like and a lot of people are not going to like. Once you put out a song people don’t like, you get re-liberated because you can do whatever you want to. It doesn’t matter that much. I can go wherever I want from here. I want to make music I feel hasn’t been made yet.

How excited are you to hit the road and perform in front of your fans?

I’m super excited. My shows are super lit. My energy is tangible, and people vibe with it. I did a show in Austin and eight out of the 10 shows were unreleased and people were singing along. It’s for those people in the library four hours a day then go home and rage. They are smart people that do dumb stuff.

What hobbies do you have outside of music?

I love movies a lot. It’s a guilty pleasure because I could watch three movies a day. I like to read a lot. I like Sci-fi, and I’ve been getting into horror novels as well. I have a motorcycle I like to ride as well. I just like excitement. I’m a thrill junkie. I’m chasing my bliss. I have a problem with pleasure. I need to find the right ways to access that pleasure. The audio or my motorcycle is the healthiest way of accessing that.

What are your top three movies?

The first movie I was ever excited about was Jurassic Park because it showed me a whole new world. It doesn’t feel like real life. I’d say in college my favorite movie was Slacker. Slacker is fire. The concepts are crazy. I love movies that are mind f*cks. I could say The Raid. Heat with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. I’ll say Inception. Inception was crazy.

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