‘Kind of Like a Catharsis’: Unpacking the Myth of Weyes Blood

An artist truly in it for all the right reasons.
Weyes Blood
Photo: Neil Krug

When I say Weyes Blood, AKA Natalie Mering, is real as fuck, that’s not some nod to ironic comments on TikTok. I mean it in the way that you’re literally intimidated by someone because they seem so grounded.

Throughout her career, Natalie has worn many hats, including as a member of the noise band Jackie-O Motherfucker. But as the LA-based Weyes Blood they released And In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow in November last year – the 2nd of a trilogy of albums. The previous, Titanic Rising, spoke to the hubris of man and impending doom. In Darkness, we’re now exploring the calamity of isolation, capitalism and the journey to rebuild yourself.


Beneath the ethereal veneer of Weyes Blood’s music comes an incredibly common and real experience, rooted in humanity. Heartbreak, love, isolation and even COVID are all explored, with the trademark 70s, orchestral pop feel, and a voice that has earned her the title of the “Millennial Joni Mitchell.” While her music asks the big questions, like, “Where is my life taking me?” and “Is true love a real thing?”, it’s also incredibly relatable.

As someone who spends far too much time on social media – and who is nostalgic for aspects of my life prior to it – something about Weyes Blood’s music hits in a painfully realistic way. 

Weyes Blood in Dublin

Neil Krug

I sat down (digitally) with the artist to chat about the character of Weyes Blood, the AI-ability of musicians, and what it’s like to spend years scraping the depths of the internet, late at night, on subject matter that has no material relevance to our lives. At the first mention of social media and musicians, she was quick to point out the extra workload it has all caused.

“It’s created an extra workload for musicians to also be a bit of an influencer when really they should just be songwriters,” she said. “It's hard when you have a career that was started from social media to turn that into a real, long term touring music career.”

“It might be better to just start off being able to sell some tickets and your social media presence is just okay, because that person-to-person thing might end up being the most valuable.”


Natalie has a very firm grip on her own identity – and that of Weyes Blood. With everyone showing almost all parts of their lives online, it was reassuring to hear someone like her speak to the necessity of some mystery. “There's like a myth around it that if people actually got to know me, they might be pleasantly or not-so-pleasantly surprised that I am not necessarily that,” she said. “But I still think that it's important to uphold a certain air of mystery about who I really am… Weyes Blood is just like a truth serum...Kind of like a catharsis.”

That air of mystery is probably not all that surprising. Online, the relationship between fans and their idols has become increasingly intense, particularly in the last 5 years, like fans calling for the end of Phoebe Bridgers’ relationship so they can have their “sad album” or Punisher 2. It’s all getting a bit too familiar too fast.

“Fans are out of control. I think they feel this false sense of power,” said Natalie. “They're living for these stories and these dramas. I think they feel a sense of religiosity, like they should be a part of it.”

Photo: Neil Krug

Now look: I know this all paints a very anti-internet picture for the artist; someone who doesn’t enjoy or overly use it. But that would be wrong. Weyes Blood can get down with the fan culture, too.

At an earlier point in her life, Natalie found community on early internet message boards. “I remember really early message boards and being inspired by meeting like-minded people, and I hope that people meet through my music and become friends. So I think that's a really beautiful thing.”


“I go on Roblox and I'll go and have digital dance parties,” she tells me. 

I have to be honest here, the Roblox dance party was an unexpected answer. So unexpected, in fact, that I couldn’t even think of a response, and nervously pushed to the next question, asking what her relationship with her phone was like. Like everyone, she said “it’s a bit much,” but doesn’t let her concentration break for a little bump of social media scrolling dopamine. “I think it kind of mines the attention spans of people in a malignant sense. It's almost parasitic.”

However, she is an avid Youtuber and Googler. “As somebody that's obsessed with information, I kind of get really hard on YouTube,” she says. “I get down with, y’know, kind of Googling and searching and researching stuff.” 

“Information being useless, it's kind of a modern idea... When we invented the telegraph:  here's some information from a town that you don't live in that doesn't affect you but somehow it does in this abstract way. And so I do think that definitely changed everything, for the way our culture interacts with itself.”

“But I think what we're finding is, no matter how many hot takes go viral on YouTube, or Twitter or whatever, it's not turning into that much actionable change. So it's like being stuck in a merry go round.”

Naturally, in a discussion on social media, artists and misinformation, the idea of AI – and its role in any and all future music – came up. Also, so did Grimes. “She (Grimes) is definitely on a crusade to be more positive about the rise of artificial intelligence,” said Natalie. “Maybe Grimes is easier to AI, versus other artists who might be more complicated and nuanced and not ready to copy yet.”


In Darkness, there are many moments that inspire deep introspection of lost love, and how to move on, like the song “A Given Thing.” Then there are moments of cultural critique; of people falling deeper into the grips of algorithmic rhythms of life; making it harder to truly connect with each other (“It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody.”)

In “God Turn Me into a FlowerNatalie explained the line It's the curse of losing yourself when the mirror takes you too far as being  about “the culture of narcissism that we all embody, based on capitalism that’s really pushing the one person hero, rugged individualist agenda.” 

Another song, “The Worst is Done”, has lyrics like Burned down the house, waiting for someone to save me from this hall of mirrors.

“It has to do with being quarantined in a situation where all you're left with is just all the stuff that you never dealt with your whole life. And it's all coming to the surface,” she said. “And you can only kind of see the horrors of your reality, because there's nothing, there's no sense of salvation in terms of old means of distracting yourself or coping mechanisms.”

“We all had to reevaluate what we were living off of, what kind of fuel, what kind of perception? It’s like a hall of mirrors.”

I ask her if she thinks about her phone like that, too. “That's another hall of mirrors, isn't it?” she says. “A lot of it is a morbid curiosity not always of the most benign influence.”


“We were leaning kind of deeper into isolationism. And it felt like there was no turning back.”

My personal favourites from the album would have to be “Grapevine'', “The Worst is Done” and “Twin Flame.” As always, if you listen to this for the first time, I would recommend listening start to finish as intended to get the most out of it and understand the full narrative of the themes presented. Some of the transitions, between songs like “Holy Flux” and “The Worst is Done,” can only be appreciated that way.

While that may be true – and it seems like the hold the internet has on us is only getting stronger – it seems Weyes Blood just wants to connect us all after years of being forced apart, in the dark, alone. And I believe it.

Weyes Blood will be in Aotearoa for her “In Holy Flux: New Dawn” Tour for two all-ages shows.

Monday 29th May, at Auckland’s Powerstation and Tuesday, 30th May at Wellington’s Opera House.

Harry Waugh is Multi-Media Producer at VICE NZ