The Treasure Trove of Sydney Band MEZKO


Photos by Lincoln Jubb

MEZKO are soaring Sydney-based duo, Kat Harley and Laura Bailey.

They make raucous melodies to wrap around your beating dark heart. I stumbled across one of their first ever sets thanks to Gizz Fest a few years back, and to get to know them better, I had them bring along three of their most prized possessions. Before we chatted books, Neil Young, and bike accidents, over a few beers at the Lady Hampshire, we snapped a few shots of the duo’s earthly treasures. Here’s what Kat and Laura had to say.

Kat: Rickenbacker 450 guitar

“It was made in June 1965 and it’s the most special thing I have, it’s beautiful and perfect. There’s something really awesome about having a vintage guitar, knowing somebody’s been playing this for 50 years before me. It opens up stories in my mind about who else has owned this and although I feel that it’s mine, I’m really a caretaker of this amazing plank of wood that will continue to be passed on. I’ve had it for about four years. There’s a website out there for real nerdy Rickenbacker fans and it tracks the online sales of guitars; you can see my guitar a few purchases back when it had a gold scratch plate and it used to have a white scratch plate. So it’s possible to piece together a bit of the story. It is still such a beautiful mystery. It also sounds amazing and plays so well.”

Laura: Steinberger bass guitar

“This ugly, beautiful bass was my gateway into everything. My dad gave it to me when I was 12. I initially wanted to play drums but one day I came home and there on the couch was the Steinberger. I thought it was his, and I said, “That’s a nice new one dad!” And he’s like “Nope, that’s for you.” It still is my favourite thing to write on, and it sounds so good, it just, unfortunately, looks the way it does.”

(“It’s also what she pulled out the first time we went to jam together, she brings that out of her case and I’m like ‘Alright, she’s got a headless bass, this is going to be interesting at least.'” – Kat)

Kat: X-ray of my broken wrist

“My X-ray is from when I broke my hand, early last year. Anyone who’s ever had more than three beers with me will have heard me rant about my hand breaking incident. It was the first time I had ever broken a bone. I was in Alice Springs, having a good time, riding a bicycle with no brakes, and somebody suggested that we have a race, and I rode the bike straight into a parked car… that meant I couldn’t play guitar for about three months. It strangely became quite a milestone in my life because it was a moment where I really fucked up.”

(“I now have a panic attack every time she gets on a bike. No bikes after midnight.” – Laura)

Kat: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

“Dystopian fiction is my favourite type of thing to read. Actually, it’s probably the genre that makes me question my existence more than anything else. For me, this book is one of the best examples of it. It’s kind of like 1984, though it presents this similar type of dystopian future, it’s clever because the world that it’s created is all about control through making people happy and recognising that happiness isn’t an absence of pain. Where you are encouraged to be hedonistic and promiscuous and to take drugs seems like a fucking awesome place to be. But then a lot of us are striving to be that in our real lives and the way it makes me think about that existence is really powerful.”

Laura: On the Beach by Neil Young

“Out of all the music and experiences in my life, Neil Young’s writing resonates like nothing else. I’ve seen him play a few times and as soon as he gets on stage I don’t even listen, I am just crying the whole time. I’m not like that with anything else, and I don’t know why I get super emotional, he is just such an incredible human. Out of all his albums, On the Beach is something I came across way later. Every song on that album it’s just so beautiful, every idea behind every track is just so perfect. He words things in a way I could never even dream of, what a legend.”

Laura: Box of Charcoal

“I am such a clichéd muso, art school dropout, but at the end of the day nothing chills me out more than drawing. I was in New York early last year and I went to this Degas exhibition. I’ve always loved Degas and his style with charcoal, it’s such a difficult medium. You get so messy, but I’d love to control that. I’m on such a one-track mind that when I start drawing I find it hard to write music. I’ll switch between the two, but I do find it difficult to do both—I can’t really go into detail when I’m drawing and thinking about writing a song, and vice versa. It’s like a different part of my brain, so I have to plan things out.”

MEZKO’S first EP Polychronic released late last year is a banger, give it a listen here or on Apple Music.

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