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Fazerdaze has been chasing the high that Britney Spears’s cover of Joan Jett’s classic I Love Rock ’N Roll gave her as a kid. “This is kind of embarrassing, but I think one of my earliest memories of music having such an effect on my body and how it made me feel was when I heard that Britney cover. I was sitting in my bedroom and I heard it on the radio down the hallway. It had such a powerful effect on my body.” It was the catalyst for the singer, songwriter and producer to become consumed with music, crafting the world of Fazerdaze from her home over the last 10 years.

Amelia Murray, better known by her stage name of Fazerdaze, is in a state of transformation. The New Zealand/Aotearoa-born artist has been creating and releasing music intermittently over the last decade. After a period of deep self-reflection, uncovering and embracing dualities within herself and her music, Murray has spent the last few years crafting a project that embodies the genuine essence of herself. Similar to Britney’s I Love Rock ’N Roll, Murray’s music has always been guitar-driven: you can hear it in moments on her 2017 debut album Morningside, one of the biggest releases to come out of New Zealand in recent years, and more so on 2022’s Nirvana-inspired Break! EP and last year’s epic single Bigger. While there’s a grounded grittiness in what she creates, an ethereal delicacy is also present on a Fazerdaze project. “I feel like I’m constantly doing both things, having dreamy music and then hard-hitting, direct stuff,” she says. “I’m still trying to find myself in both of those things, and realising it’s okay to do both.” Embracing that gentleness and strength has been a result of the breakdown of a long-term relationship and a move from Auckland to Christchurch, when suddenly the city felt too big for her. It’s what she pinpoints as the best moment on her journey so far. “I packed my car up, left Auckland and took two days to drive down to Christchurch. That was a very spiritual experience for me. It was spooky and felt so beautiful. I was driving past the Southern Alps and the weather was magical. And I just did that drive by myself. It felt like a very important part of my journey to move on from 10 years of living in Auckland, which is where I built my career. I had a long-term relationship [end] and that drive was massively significant to me, it felt like I was driving into the unknown. There was a very peaceful feeling that this was the end of one chapter and the start of another.”

There’s been a shift in how Murray has been creating since moving into this new chapter. Learning how to quiet the judgment and criticism from both herself and those around her has been a key factor in letting go and being her most vulnerable self on her new music. “I’m learning how to say what I really feel and I still hear criticism as I’m writing, but some of the stuff I’ve been making lately has felt like uncharted territory for myself. [I’m] surrounding myself with people who are not so judgemental of me, which has definitely helped me love all aspects of myself. Previously I had a lot of critical people around me and I was trying to hide certain sides of myself.” Feeling liberated, she now accepts that she doesn’t need to conform to industry standards of working with various producers and inside sterile studios. The magic of Fazerdaze is homemade. “I’ve always been such a homeboy with creative stuff. I’m so sensitive to other people’s energies and how they’re feeling. Now I try to go into what makes me feel comfortable, which is honestly just writing at home in my pyjamas on a Saturday night. That’s the sanctuary that makes me feel the most safe and at peace and creative.” She thinks of herself like a gardener in the way that she writes, taking her time with the lyrics that come to her. “It’s never cognitive, I just come back repeatedly and water songs every day. I’m not someone who usually can sit down and bang out three songs – I’ll find one little gem and then I plant that and let it slowly grow over time.”

This empowerment she is feeling resonates not just through her music but also through her creative process, as she notes that part of her evolution is learning how to let go more and find the right people to trust. Most certainly, she is trusting herself throughout this transformation, having started a small label called Butterfly Records. “Transformation is the key word. It is all about that, but also my own freedom and having a pocket of the music industry where I get to own my masters and rights and have a bit more control.” Sometimes the industry, especially for female artists, can feel intense and male-driven. Murray has felt this over the years, from down to the way artists are the last to get paid to the fact that there are rarely female headliners at festivals. “It drives me nuts when I see a lineup of male headliners. I love those bands and artists, but it’s like, why are the women down there and the men up here? I grew up listening to LCD Soundsystem and Tame Impala and all of these male alternative festival bands. I really want to build Fazerdaze toward being that kind of equivalent. I think people want to see women up there as well.” She notes Lorde as one of the women who has acted as a north star. Murray opened for the megastar on a tour of New Zealand in 2023. “I’ve been a big fan of her from day one. I think as a woman that’s grown up in New Zealand, you always feel that you’ve got to talk yourself down and be as small as possible so you don’t trigger anyone. Ella [Lorde] never conforms to that. She’s always been so confident and unapologetic. A penny dropped in me when I saw her come up, like, wow, you can be from New Zealand and you can do this. I really look up to her.” And so, in the unapologetic phase of Murray’s life, Butterfly Records marks one of the small yet mighty moments on her journey – a triumph as she begins the next phase of Fazerdaze.

This phase will feature her strongest work to date. The upcoming Fazerdaze project feels like pure freedom. Powerful in its production and cinematic in its lyricism, the deep growth she has done is felt and heard. It is the ultimate embodiment of Fazerdaze, encompassing all sides of her. Murray’s intention was to document and capture her journey into womanhood. “The feelings I’ve experienced, the contradictions I’ve experienced… it’s been a big journey of finding myself as a human, as a woman, as a producer and songwriter. I think this next chapter is all about stepping into my power and sinking into who I am. I don’t think I’ve experienced that in my life yet. It has always felt like there’s some sort of tension. I definitely feel like everything has been leading up to this.”

It’s with age that she has found her creative freedom and let go of the “heaviness” she felt when she was younger. “So much of it was this fear of getting older and being in my twenties and getting all of these messages that I was in the prime of my life. Now that I’m in my early thirties, I feel way less pressure. I’m not afraid of aging the way society taught me to feel. I’m like, actually this rocks. I know myself and have better boundaries and I’m not so afraid anymore. I think this is definitely my season of enjoying all the work I’ve done on myself and also relinquishing false constructs. It feels a lot lighter. I was saying to a friend that this is the youngest I’ve felt in so long. I had such a heaviness when I was younger and I’ve done a lot of work on myself to let go of what I didn’t need to carry. That shines through in all the music that’s about to come.”

After giving all of herself to the music, crafting these songs from thoughts to lyrics to production in the comfort of her home, Murray knew the project was finished. “It was probably two in the morning and I think I’d done the track listing. I felt this feeling of nothingness. Not even celebration. It was this equilibrium setback, it was strange. It wasn’t this big moment, it was very neutral. And I think I had that feeling the whole time I was making it. I don’t feel afraid to put it out. I don’t feel any nervous energy.” Perhaps when an artist knows something is wholeheartedly a representation of their purest intentions, there’s a deep sense of self-assured peace. “Yes, I feel at peace,” she says. “What I’d love people to feel and take from the record is connecting to that deep sense of self, which I think is hard to do. In a very noisy, stimulated world, I think [this music] is about re-centring and disconnecting from all of that. It’s about finding the universe within yourself and then following that. If this record can inspire people to connect to their hearts and their spirit, then I think I’ve done a good job.”

Right now, in the calm before the wild, brilliant storm that undeniably awaits Murray when she releases this as-yet-unnamed project, she’s dreaming of the future of Fazerdaze. “I’m such a dreamer. I’m dreaming of playing massive festivals and taking up all the space I can with my music. Being who I am and owning everything I’ve been through and not apologising anymore. Not playing small. I’m stepping into my full power.”

Fazerdaze wears Chanel throughout. Taken from Issue 23 of 10 Magazine Australia, OUT NOW.


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LOCHIE STONEHOUSE at using the CHANEL Spring 2024 Makeup Collection
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