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Marlin’s Dreaming on Their Australian Tour, Favourite Bands, and Kirin J Callinan

It’s been four long years since the gentle jangle pop outfit floated over from Aotearoa to Australia for a tour

Marlin's Dreaming tour


It’s been too long since Marlin’s Dreaming floated over from Aotearoa to Australia, but it makes a lot of sense that they’re woozy sound is so well-received here.

Marlin’s Dreaming’s jangle pop leanings fits in well Down Under, recalling contemporaries like Majak Door, their tracks being ideal for a long drive to nowhere or a chill day at the beach. Their dreamy style can come across detached and aloof, but there’s lots of thought behind the languorous arrangements and sweet lyrics.

The band are also Rolling Stone AU/NZ favourites: “Dunedin indie rockers Marlin’s Dreaming are one sleep from stardom,” this publication declared last year.

After being added to the big stage at Gold Coast’s Spaced Out festival, the band decided to make the most of their Aussie sojourn, adding shows in Melbourne and Sydney. After kicking things off in Melbourne last night, they now head to Sydney’s Mary’s Underground tonight, followed by their Spaced Out slot on Sunday.

“It’s been a long time between drinks. Two new albums, two Prime Ministers, and several flats between us,” the band’s frontman, Semisi Ma’ia’i, says about their tour. “Playing with a number of amazing Australian acts like Kirin J Callinan and Dope Lemon, we’ve always been attracted to the country’s music culture, so we’re very excited to play some more shows.”

To celebrate their first visit here in four years, Rolling Stone AU/NZ got Marlin’s Dreaming to discuss their tour, Spaced Out, and what else is to come from them this year.

More information about Marlin’s Dreaming tour can be found here.

Rolling Stone AU/NZ: It’s been some time between gigs for you – how have you been keeping busy as a band recently?

Marlin’s Dreaming: It has! We’ve been a bit late on the post-COVID rush, but have been itching to get out there. The past few years we’ve been laying low on the touring front, only playing a handful of NZ festivals and odd gigs. Pretty much as soon as we started as a band in 2017 we just played and played, so if there is any positive that’s come from COVID it was the chance to spend quality time with friends and family and press pause on the touring habits that we’d become used to.

As far as what we’ve been up to… We’ve been crafting a new album over the past couple of years. Bit by bit it’s coming together. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind project to work through as a band – chopping and changing the structures, playing with different instruments, listening together – but it’s starting to shape into something we’re all super proud of.

Quotidian and Hasten both pushed quite a different sound than your early work – what drove that musical change?

I started writing material for Lizard Tears (our debut album) when I was 17/18 years old. I’m now 25 and I suppose my influence has changed completely. From living at home to flatting, different bands and genres that I’ve been delving into over the past few years. I’m proud of our early albums and I’m proud of our recent material. The songs are always going to chop and change as we evolve and mature as a band, but the feeling is always going to come from the same place. I’ve never felt tied to a certain sound so in a way it’ll probably always be changing sonically. What’s important to me is that it feels like it’s coming from an honest place.

When was the last time you toured Australia? Any memorable shows spring to mind?

We last toured in 2019. We loved playing to attentive audiences that probably hadn’t had a chance to see us yet. We had a really good time in Brisbane at the Black Bear Lodge. The energy for the show was great and everyone we dealt with – from the venue workers to the people that came to watch us – were top notch.

How was it touring with Kirin J Callinan? He’s a Rolling Stone favourite.

We had fun touring with Kirin. We’d all been fans of Kirin J Callinan prior to playing the shows so having the opportunity to go on tour together was something I don’t think any of us could have foreseen. The attention to detail in his live performances is something to behold. He’s a top guy too.

Your jangle pop leanings have always felt like a natural fit for the Australian music landscape. Any particular jangle pop Aussie bands you love?

The Go-Betweens…The Church… There are so many great Australian bands we love. Not sure if they come under the jangle pop umbrella. Recently we’ve been loving music from Spike Fuck, Gregor, and Taxi Kids just to name a few.

How does an Australian crowd differ from a Kiwi crowd? Are they rowdier…?

I feel like Australian crowds are generally a bit more chatty. That’s been our experience. I don’t mind it though, it’s nice to feel energy from the crowd. I had some really good times with people we met after shows on our last tour, so looking forward to more of that!

Are you also looking forward to playing Spaced Out? 

Yeah!!! We’ve never played in Gold Coast/Yugambeh before, so it’ll be cool to see what that’s all about! Festivals are a mix of fun and stress, depending on how much time you have to get the sound right on stage. I think I’m most looking forward to post-set having a few drinks and watching some bands!

Who else are you looking forward to seeing on the line up?

I’m not familiar with many of the bands on the lineup but I’d like to see The Verge Collection play. I have some real feel good memories listening to their tunes and watching surf edits with my friend Sam in Dunedin.

Any other plans while you’re in Australia? 

It’s a pretty short trip for us. Our only off day is on Good Friday which isn’t particularly ideal ha! Our favourite thing to do as a band is eat good food, so we’ll try and scope out the best food we can’t find in NZ! We hear there is some great Vietnamese food in Sydney so that’s a must.

What else is coming up for Marlin’s Dreaming this year? New music? More touring?

We’re going to try and get a few new singles out this year and do some shows and festivals in NZ. We’ll see how things go but ideally we’ll get back over to Australia for some festivals.