We all know one, right? That super-talented pal that can turn their hand to any instrument they pick up. Part of this special pack is spunky musician Mellah, aka Liam Ramsden, whose passion for the drums expanded as a teen. Over the years, his genre has also evolved, and you could say he has found his spiritual home in indie pop, but sits comfortably on the more punk side of this. Urgency fills his writing with often political grievances or pertinent lessons he has learnt about himself, aired in their catchy manner.
“I often feel quite a lot of anger at society and how people seem to ignore injustice just for a cup of tea and a comfy sofa. We consume these sanitised shrink-wrapped little nuggets of reality whereas the rest of the world’s crawling around in the mud. It seems crazy to me that people aren’t angry about it, don’t want it to change.”
And just to add to that enviable side of Mellah, he built his sanctuary, in the form of a recording studio, situated in Peckham. Oh, and he did this was from scratch too. Although the humble bedroom studios are vital, his is more substantial, blossoming into an artistic hub, with many South London musicians feeding off the experimental electricity. This is the place where he feels most at home, ready to express himself fully, which has resulted in his debut album to be released this summer.
For a little glimpse into the LP, he has released single Family Fun through Columbia records, which premiered on Annie Mac’s BBC Radio 1 show last week. This is accompanied by the self-directed video, embracing the surreal. The graphics and hazy cinematography take you back to teatime with a play of homemade chips smothered in salt and vinegar and a good, old 90s game show, actually using the same set up as Les Dennis’ Family Fortunes. Mellah starts spitting his words out to the up-tempo tune in his punchy fashion, never with the insincere smirk off his face. In a weirdly hypnotising way, the song lyrics are sung as the show pans out. For example, as the host welcomes the teams, their bodies are acting out introductions, but their mouths mime every word.
Close up shots follow as we are shown the disturbing prizes that lead to the start of the contest. The questions asked by the host are hard-hitting, again marrying the two themes of a joyous occasion expressing something quite sinister and dark. An explosion of glitter leads us to the end where even fire doesn’t put off the nominated person from the winning team collecting money in a chamber with a filthy, determined glare. The fetching song has an almost oriental style riff, topped with the lyrics exploring societies failings, with the video bringing us back to Mellah's notion that we can often mask and skirt over serious issues.
It’s a goody, quite bizarre and humorous on the surface, but once you start to unravel all the meanings and messages, it turns into something sobering. To have pop cover such issues without sounding too heavy and sombre is quite an achievement. We’ll keep our eyes on Mellah as it could be captivating to see when this ball of energy fires to. Maybe you’d like to put 28th October in the diary to see him play live at The Scala in London? For now, watch the video below.
Article by Beverley Knight