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From a dark basement below the red light district of Auckland, New Zealand come the colourful sounds of unassuming wonderkid, Merk.

As an intern working 15 hour days, Merk (Mark Perkins) learnt the ropes of recording and producing under Neil Finn between his cleaning and coffee-making duties at Finn’s Roundhead Studio. In the early morning before anyone would arrive and late after each session ended, Perkins could be found at the piano tirelessly crafting song after song. From there he went on to pack boxes in exchange for use of a store basement which he converted into a recording studio. In the safety of this basement studio, the project Merk was born.

Red Bull were quick to spy his unique brand of alternative pop, and chose Merk to represent New Zealand at the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy, in Montreal. Now his songs are ready to meet daylight.

The debut album, Swordfish, was written, produced, performed, recorded and mixed, by Merk. As a body of work it sensitively rides the line of being homespun at heart while retaining hi-fi pop sensibilities. On the surface Swordfish is an album of whimsical, psychedellic alt-pop tunes, however beneath the glitchy childlike exterior is a depth of emotion and musical complexity that sets this debut apart from the status quo.