As he releases his latest single, south Londoner Mellah talks to Anna Fox about consumerism, capitalism, and how the true London has died.
As we settle into our fifth week of lockdown in the UK, many of us crave the catchy anthems that coincide with the summer sunshine. Fear not, south London-based artist Mellah (Liam Ramsden) has conjured up a cleverly constructed tune that will have you tapping those toes in no time.
Marrying the disputed issues of poverty and injustice in the UK, with bright and buoyant beats, Mellah has showcased his innate ability to convey the contested issues society is confronted with, masqueraded in a musical manner.
Emphasising his agitation by the injustice many Britons face daily, Mellah explains that Family Fun is based on the “hyper-sanitised advertisement of capitalism or consumerism” that warps the reality of the economic situation in the United Kingdom. He says growing up in London influenced his outlook on the world, adding that the “gentrification of the city has driven out culture”, making him feel that the true London has ‘died’.
Accompanying Family Fun is a captivating music video he directed himself, staged in an animated game show, which he believes illustrates the metaphor for overconsumption perfectly. When questioned on the inspiration for the design, he highlights that the common aim of a game show is to acquire a large sum of money, adding that the “biggest problem we have at the moment is throwaway culture, which is destroying our planet”. In addition, stark figures of poverty are sprinkled into the game show questions, which Mellah hopes will raise awareness of the increasing hardship that many people face.
From a young age, music provided Mellah with an emotional outlet. He says he had a tendency to continually drum on tables at school. After becoming an accomplished drummer, he diversified his instrumental talent, adding a piano, guitar and trumpet to his collection. Complementing his extensive musical expertise, his ability to produce eloquent lyrics has aided his journey through life. “Songwriting helps me express parts of myself I don’t understand, and parts of society I don’t understand,” he says.
Delving deeper into his discography, you will discover that Mellah’s early tunes are somewhat mellow and indie, in comparison to this Funkadelic anthem. He indicates that his highly anticipated debut album, set to be released at the end of the year, will showcase his versatile musical repertoire.
Columbia Records recently snapped up Mellah for his new single, which will inevitably expand his fan base and encourage his expertise. Pandemic permitting, Mellah will perform a hefty hometown show in October, where, he divulges, new material will be showcased.
Amongst the “hyper-sanitised capitalist” nature of modern society, Mellah strives to contribute to the music industry for the foreseeable future. “Music has been my best friend my whole life, and I want to give back what I can.”