8 Apr 2020

Merk and Leroy Clampitt release new crowd-sourced track ‘Swirly Song’

From RNZ Music, 10:00 am on 8 April 2020

A ‘swirly’ is a high school prank that involves sticking someone's head in a toilet and flushing. That’s what the new lockdown song, ‘Swirly Song (Gettin' a Swirly)’, by Auckland indie maestro Merk, and LA-based Kiwi songwriter Leroy Clampitt is about.

It all started when Auckland musician Merk - aka Mark Perkins - decided to livestream some shows on Instagram. He wanted to “use up some energy” after his appearances at high-profile American music conference South by Southwest were cancelled.

Merk found the streams really fun, “and quite a cool community builder,” as they meant he could interact with his fans.

Somewhere along the line, fans became obsessed with ‘swirlies’ - a high school prank that involves dunking someone’s head in the toilet and flushing. Every time Merk got a lyric wrong, or messed something up, people would post a spiral emoij, a toilet emoji, and the words “Get em!!!!”

Last week, Merk invited his friend Leroy Clampitt to join him on the stream. Leroy is an LA-based New Zealander known for writing and producing tracks for a string of high-profile artists including Justin Bieber, Dua Lipa, and Adam Lambert.

The pair decided to write a song together with input from Merk’s fans.

While he and Leroy randomly selected chords out of envelopes Merk had prepared earlier, they asked the fans to fire through lyrics. After the livestream, they recorded the song and filmed themselves performing it.

‘Swirly Song (Gettin' a Swirly)’ is the result.

“They had so many good ideas,” Merk says, “It was hard to collate it all, but I think it’s a super funny outcome. One member of the chat was desperate to get a Game of Thrones reference in there, which was a real curveball. I’ve never seen that show, but we did our best.”