New Bloom Fest is a touring festival bringing some of the brightest North American emo punk and post-hardcore bands together in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne in March. Stoked to be part of this line-up is the emotive and visceral sounds of Fleshwater.For many of these bands playing New Bloom it's their first time visiting our shores, which is the case for the American crew of Fleshwater.
Festivals are a connective experience, spending the day with friends brought together by the commune of music. As central as music is to a festival, it's the stories and shared experiences that come out of the day that remain long afterwards.
On one fateful day, the members of Fleshwater met at a music festival in lead vocalist Marisa Shirar's home town of Los Angeles. Now they're travelling around the world crushing festival stages for adoring fans.
Filled with gratitude for the opportunities that come from creating and playing music which people connect with, Shirar is fully aware of the band's own journey.
"It really is full circle and really cool to be able to play festivals after meeting the guys in Fleshwater at one. To have it bring us across the world is amazing. So we're very thankful for that."
Sharir goes on to share more of their story. "I went to this music festival with a bunch of friends. I also went because it was on the same street as this haunted hotel that I wanted to go to.
"So I asked my friends if they would take me to that haunted hotel if I went to the festival. They took me and they also brought their friends in Vein.fm, which is when I met them."
After that initial introduction, over time bloomed a band that would take them around the world playing music festivals, creating memories and opportunities for similar stories to happen for those that connect with their music.
The bulk of the personnel that make up Fleshwater comes from the band Vein.fm. "So they were in Vein.fm for a very long time – a metal band," Marisa says.
"I met Anthony [DiDio], I met all of them at the music festival in Los Angeles, that's where I'm from, and me and Anthony, the vocalist of Vein.fm, we started dating.
"I'd say about four years into our relationship, well actually right away, he showed me these demos that he and our drummer, our old drummer Matt [Wood], had created demos for these rock songs, and they could never find a singer.
"Then one day, during the pandemic, I was very bored. Actually I think it was right before the pandemic. I asked if I could sing on the demos, and they were like, 'sure, give it a shot'. So I did it, and they were down with it." From there Fleshwater was born.
Although very much planted in the post-hardcore noise world, Fleshwater takes in a range of influences. "We all come from different musical backgrounds," Sharir remarks.
"Maybe the guys come from a little bit similar of a background than me. I mean, we were all raised in the hardcore world, going to a bunch of shows growing up, but I also dabble in different genres as well.
"I'm a sucker for pop music, I'm a sucker for jazz. I know that they're all into things like that too. But I don't know, I think all of our different influences combined create something really special, which is why we're able to create what Fleshwater is."
The range of influences is perhaps most prominent in their choice of a cover song for 'We're Not Here To Be Loved', their 2022 debut album. In what was a warmly received and standout moment of the record they covered Bjork's 'Enjoy'. By putting their own sheen on it, it's evident the band is not afraid of the constraints of the post-hardcore world but rather embrace adventure.
Sharir opens up about discussing the influence of growing up going to hardcore shows has had on the way they make music and play shows. Although from disparate parts of the United States, there is a commonality in terms of the shows they went to and how the communities in those scenes come together.
"[Anthony, Jeremy and Matt are] from Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire which are very close together. So they were all raised in a similar scene together. I was raised in Los Angeles but I would say they're pretty similar, though.
"We all grew up going to hardcore shows where everyone's just there to hang out together and love music. I'm glad that we all came up on that same thing. I'm glad that we're still able to be involved in that world as well."
There's a certain shared sense of catharsis that comes from the music that Fleshwater create, both for those in the band and those in the crowd. Sharir reflects on how being onstage "takes me away from reality.
"I'm able to disconnect from my body and just feel this energy and excitement of performing, which is something I've always liked to do my whole life. It's cool to be able to do that, so often. We're very lucky in that sense that we're able to do this for a job.
"We practice a lot. We practice so much that we try to make it almost muscle memory, so we don't have to worry too much about what we're actually playing, and more so like the feeling that we'll get out of it live.
"We love playing shows, it's one of our favourite things to do, so it's always great being able to play live for people and interact with our fans."
Sharir is clearly stoked about everything that comes with playing in a band who is able to tour the world. "I'm excited to play New Bloom. Most of the bands on the line-up we haven't played with but are fans of each of them.
"As Fleshwater we've never played with Touché Amoré or Movements or Citizen. I've gone to Softcult shows, and we've toured with No Pressure, but the whole line-up in general is going to be a really fun one."
Sharir appreciates the way the festival has been curated. "I think that fans of each of those bands will like the other [bands]. It's a good line-up, because I think that every fan will like a little bit of each band. They're not too extremely different, which is awesome. I'm excited."
A festival like New Bloom beckons opportunity, the start of something new. Perhaps like Fleshwater, the beginnings of a new band.
New Bloom Fest 2024 Tour DatesFri 15 Mar - The Fortitude Music Hall (Brisbane)
Sat 16 Mar - Roundhouse (Sydney)
Sun 17 Mar - Melbourne Pavilion
New Bloom Fest 2024 Line-up
Eat Your Heart Out
Sydney OnlyNo Brainer
Melbourne OnlyBorn Free
Fleshwater 2024 Tour DatesFri 8 Mar - Uni Bar (Adelaide)
Sun 10 Mar - Bendigo Hotel (Melbourne)
Tue 12 Mar - LaLaLa's (Wollongong)
Wed 13 Mar - Burdekin Hotel (Sydney)
Thu 14 Mar - Black Bear Lodge (Brisbane)