Premiere: The Mellons Reinvent ’60s Power Pop in “Make Me Feel,” a Psych-Soaked, Smile-Inducing Seduction

The Mellons © Vern Tooley
The Mellons © Vern Tooley
It’s the sounds of the ’60s on steroids: A kaleidoscopic ode to love-fueled anxiety, The Mellons’ smile-inducing new single “Make Me Feel” aches with inner turmoil and soars with wondrous harmonies as the Salt Lake City band deliver playful psych-soaked power pop with an edge.
Stream: “Make Me Feel” – The Mellons

They may owe their sound to the bands of the mid- to late-1960s – the “golden age of pop,” as it’s known to music scholars and historians – but The Mellons don’t dwell in the past. You might say they let their songs do that for them, but even that would be a stretch: So much of the Salt Lake City group’s still-burgeoning artistry is based around reinvention, rather than retro revival. Their songs are constantly poking and prodding at psych pop’s boundaries, pay homage to their favorite acts while exploring where they can take this beloved sixty-year-old style.

It’s about experimentation and tasteful zhuzhing, breaking the mold, challenging norms, and defying expectations – just as The Beach Boys and The Beatles did, back in their day – and nowhere is this more pronounced than on The Mellons’ latest single. A kaleidoscopic ode to love-fueled anxiety, “Make Me Feel” aches with inner turmoil, soars with wondrous harmonies, and stuns with radiant instruments as The Mellons deliver playful psych-soaked power pop with an edge.

It’s the sounds of the ’60s on steroids: Elevated, expanded, and rigorously refined to feel as undeniably nostalgia-inducing as it is irresistibly smile-inducing, fresh, and fun.

Make Me Feel - The Mellons
Make Me Feel – The Mellons
I hadn’t noticed I was watching you
Until you turned around
I hadn’t noticed you were watching me
Until you made a sound
But ooh, you make me feel
Like something’s runnin’ out of time
Ooh, you make me feel
Like nothin’s gonna end quite right
Ooh… You make me feel…
You make me feel…

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Make Me Feel,” The Mellons’ first and likely only single of 2023 (out November 28 via Earth Libraries). The band’s official “return” since the release of their acclaimed debut album Introducing… The Mellons! last October sees the four-piece of Rob Jepson, Andrew Beck, Denney Fuller, and Ian Francis continuing to establish themselves as a unique spark of creativity in the bloated modern musical landscape. Building upon the “sunshine and sadness” that defined their first LP, “Make Me Feel” is a buoyant, confessional reckoning around what The Mellons refer to as “the seasick melancholy of a first love” – all those uncertainties and insecurities that grow within us as we feel ourselves falling for someone new.

Ooh, you make me feel like something’s runnin’ out of time,” Jepsen sings in an emotional climax, his voice surrounded by a symphony of sweet, seductive pop and psychedelia as he and his bandmates build a captivating world of warmth and wonder. “Ooh, you make me feel like nothin’s gonna end quite right…

The Mellons Harness 'Pet Sounds' & 'Sgt. Pepper' on Stunning '60s-Soaked Debut Album


The Mellons describe “Make Me Feel” as a portrait of the ever-persistent anxiety that accompanies all new relationships.

“Growing up I was always looking for relationships that would fulfill and excite me,” Rob Jepson tells Atwood Magazine. “I wanted new friendships, new romantic connections, etc. But I also felt terrified that opening up to anyone, especially romantically, would send me careening toward pain. Like everyone, I wanted to connect. But, like everyone, I was also deathly afraid of it. The verses in this song talk about the intrigue of meeting someone new and becoming intertwined with them. “I hadn’t noticed I was part of you, and you were part of me. I didn’t know that it was so until you finally made me see.” They describe the thrill of new love and how fast things can seem to move when things are starting out. The verses are the hopeful part of the song.”

“The choruses, in contrast, talk about the dread of things ending badly. “But ooh, you make me feel like something’s runnin’ out of time. Ooh, you make me feel like nothing’s gonna end quite right.” It’s that horrible feeling that no matter how promising things are in the beginning, any good relationship is destined to end badly. Perhaps there’s something in there about fear itself; how fear can be the very thing that stops us from realizing good relationships, good dreams, etc. My favorite part of the song is probably the one-off line, “Who can say how far we’ll make it? But I don’t know if I can take it!” That line, to me, captures the crux of the issue: we want the joy, but we fear the pain! We’re told that when people first hear the song they think it’s a romantic, peppy love song. To be fair, the instrumentation largely sends that message. The chords are straightforward and peppy, and the instrumentation is mostly upbeat and enthusiastic (though the chorus chords do have a minor darkness to them). When people stop and absorb the lyrics, they realize it’s more conflicted than that.”

I hadn’t noticed I was part of you
And you were part of me
I didn’t know that it was so
Until you finally made me see
And who can say how far we’ll make it
But I don’t know if I can take it
The Mellons © Vern Tooley
The Mellons © Vern Tooley

The development of this song was atypical for The Mellons.

“Normally we bring a song concept to the table and then tinker with it in the studio until we’re happy with the song structure, part writing, and arrangement. Anyone can write for any instrument, and the process is very unstructured,” the band explains. “In this case, Rob brought the bones of the song to practice and each Mellon wrote their own parts in live setting, band-rehearsal style. Rob on keys, Andrew on guitar, Denney on bass, and Ian on drums. It was really energizing to write the parts live that way, letting everyone play off of each other and match one another’s energy.”

“This song is also unique in that we’d been performing it live for more than a year before we finally stopped and recorded it. With our first album, Introducing… The Mellons!, most of the songs were created in the studio and we learned to play them live after the fact. In this case, we crafted and “road-tested” the song in a purely-live setting before finally laying it down.”

‘Cause ooh, you make me feel
Like something’s runnin’ out of time
Ooh, you make me feel
Like nothin’s gonna end quite right

Atwood Magazine caught up with The Mellons to dive into the depths of their newest song, pick apart their singular sound, and get to know this new fab four. Stream “Make Me Feel” exclusively on Atwood Magazine, and catch up with Rob Jepson, Andrew Beck, Denney Fuller, and Ian Francis of The Mellons in our interview below!

Ooh, you make me feel
Like something’s runnin’ out of time
Ooh, you make me feel
Like nothin’s gonna end quite right
Ooh, you make me feel…
Ooh, you make me feel…

.– —

:: stream/purchase Make Me Feel here ::
:: connect with The Mellons here ::
Stream: “Make Me Feel” – The Mellons


Make Me Feel - The Mellons

Atwood Magazine: Hey The Mellons, thanks so much for your time! What immediately excites you about having your new single “Make Me Feel” out in the world?

Rob Jepson: The music video! We had so much filming this. We can’t wait for it to be out in the world.

Ian Francis: It’s just exciting to release new music again. Our LP came out over a year ago now and we’ve definitely let it simmer for a while before releasing anything else. Even though we’ve been playing lots of shows it feels good to show people we’re still working hard behind the scenes to bring out some new tunes!

Denney Fuller: It’s great to get new music out after spending so much time and energy on our debut record. Just to know we can do it again! (and again and again if we want to…)

Can you share a bit about the story behind “Make Me Feel” – how was this song made, how did it come to be?

Rob: It started as a living-room demo with just piano and vocals. Then all the Mellons jumped in and layered it with parts. Unlike most of our songs, we didn’t piece it together in the studio. Instead we jammed it out live until we were happy with it. Then we played it live for a year before finally tracking the studio version.

Ian: Yeah we definitely took a different approach with this track. Our songs have been mostly recorded and conceptualized from start to finish before we’ve played them live, but this one was more open ended. Like Rob said, parts of this song were already written when he brought it to us, but we took our time adding other parts and finalizing everything. It was cool to just let the song sit while we refined and tweaked it over the years of playing it live. What you hear on this recording is the final result and it’s fun to see how it’s evolved into what it is today. It’s crazy to think this was originally more of a heavy metal disco folk tune! (not really).

Andrew Beck: One thing that makes the creation of this song unique is that we recorded most of it live, together in a room. Usually we record one instrument at a time, in the studio, but we thought we’d try an approach that would capture the push and pull of the four of us playing together live.

Denney: This song was fun to see evolve over a year or so playing it live! And it continued to evolve once we started tracking it. The ideas kept coming, and we let ‘em in!

The Mellons © Vern Tooley
The Mellons © Vern Tooley

This single marks your return following your introductory debut album last year (which remains SUCH a fun listen)! Tell me about this song as a follow-up; how does it differentiate itself from your debut, in your eyes, and in what ways do you see it as a continuation of the band you introduced us to just last year?

Rob: We are really excited to bring more music into the world. We’re working on a *cough* top-secret *cough* record (of an undefined length), that will showcase quite a few surprises. BUT, this song should feel familiar. It has a lot of elements that will be familiar to Mellons fans and it should fit right in with Introducing. As for the rest of what we’re cooking up? You’ll have to wait and see.

Ian: I would say “Make Me Feel” is pretty similar to a song you’d hear on Introducing…, but it’s also sort of nodding into the new direction we’re headed. Almost as if it’s a transitional piece!

Andrew: What Ian said.

Who is everyone’s favorite Mellon? And don’t just say the obvious, “Denney.”

Rob: Denney!

Andrew: Skeletor!

Ian: Little Debbie!

Denney: Denney!

Skeletor: Denney!

Debbie: Banana!

Your art feels so definitively connected to the pop music of the 1960s. What is the experience like making this kind of music (which was, in many ways, restricted by the technological capabilities at the time) with the technology available to you today?

Rob: What a great question. We’re lucky to have Denney in the band, who’s a fantastic songwriter, instrumentalist, and engineer. He can speak to this the best. My very simple take on it is that we all love to blend the old with the new. Our songwriting blends classic ‘60s elements with modern songcraft. Our instruments and amps are a mix of top-of-the-line, modern gear and genuine vintage pieces. In the studio, it’s the same way.

Andrew: I love having limitations when making art – in many ways it shapes what you create. We use a lot of vintage gear and approaches when we record. One reason why having today’s technology is amazing is because we can do so much of our creation at home!

Denney: The experience is a little different than the days of old. All analog can make for some really awesome performances, color the sound, and really glue together the mix in a certain way, With modern recording, you can do tons of takes, try different instruments for different parts, and stack lots of layers, which can give us a rad sound! We also use a lot of vintage microphones, and try to get lots of use out of one of our favorite instruments, the Mellotron!

The Mellons © Vern Tooley
The Mellons © Vern Tooley

Meanwhile, how did you start down this road? Did you listen to someone like The Beach Boys one day and just say, “I need to make art like this”… or is there more to the Mellons’ backstory than meets the eye?

Rob: I feel like it was more natural than deliberate. When we came together as a band, we were all independently pumping out ‘60s-flavored demos, writing Beach Boys-esque lyrics, and sporting vintage wear. But none of it was calculated. When we finally formalized ourselves as a band, I think we had a choice to make: do we lean into our love of the ‘60s, or do we purposely pivot away and go more mainstream? We chose to lean in.

Ian: We all need to start somewhere and that can be found in our influences. For me it’s walking a fine line between being my authentic self as a drummer while staying true to the musical stylings of the genre. There have been several times where I’ve had to think “Ok this drum part is cool, but does it work with what we’re trying to accomplish as a whole?” Sometimes it’s yes, other times no. What matters most is serving the song.

Andrew: I remember, in proto-versions of this band, Rob and I being very open to trying very different styles and directions. We were musical scientists in the lab, pouring this bottle into that bottle and watching the reaction. I think each of us brings slightly different stylistic inspiration (which much overlap) to the band and our tastes combine to make the final soup. Rob often loves chill melodic stuff, like Simon and Garfunkel or the Beach Boys. Denney might be on a British invasion, rootsy rock kick with bands like the Kinks and the Zombies. Ian loves Hal Blaine, Burt Bacharach and swinging rock and roll. And I like to bring classical baroque influences, as well as the weird and experimental… Of course we all love the Liverpudlians.

Denney: When I was growing up, my mom used to listen to the oldies station (which at that time was playing ‘60s pop) in the car and at home. So, I got a good foundation of all these ‘60s songs and styles in my ear. Even though I didn’t appreciate it at the time, it ended up being the type of pop music that I am most influenced by now. I do remember hearing songs like “Fun Fun Fun” and “Wooly Bully” as a little kid, and having a feeling that just electrified my soul!

What is your relationship like with Salt Lake City? Has the city had an impact on your music, and are you influenced by your hometown in any way?

Rob: We love our city. Salt Lake has such a huge and diverse music scene. Most weekends you can take your pick of what flavor you want to get a taste of. Happily, for us, that means there’s room for groups like us that are a little different. I feel like our fans aren’t necessarily ‘60s aficionados (though some are). For the most part, they’re just great people who want to have a good time at a show. Salt Lake’s music culture really facilitates that!

Vern Tooley (mimicking Sir Paul McCartney): Well, uh, it was Yoko who brought me the demo. And she said, uh, it would be great if the rest of the Beatles could finish it. And it turned out, it was about a plate of spaghetti, that lost its poor meatball.

Ian: Salt Lake City has the best music community in the US of A (and I’ve lived in all 50 states so I can say that objectively! kidding). But Salt Lake really is something special. It’s a small city with big aspirations so I feel like it is welcoming and supportive of all artists. We’re pretty spoiled in the fact that there can be two or three awesome separate shows happening in one night. So many good bands and so many good people who are excited to be a part of it all in any way they can. I think The Mellons’ style is a little more niche compared to other acts around here, but we still have an amazing community of friends and fans who make every show a blast to play.

Andrew: Utah is kind of a cursed place, but I really like Salt Lake City.

Denney: SLC is such a great place to be for musicians. Great sullorrr unity, accepting scene, and wildly talented folks!

The Mellons © Vern Tooley
The Mellons © Vern Tooley

Last question (for now)! What do you hope listeners take away from “Make Me Feel,” and what have you taken away from it?

Rob: This song is really about the conflict between hope and fear. So, I hope it makes people take a look at their own inner-optimist and their own inner-worrier and let the two battle it out! For me, this song always makes me wonder if I’m going to accept the risk of having a loving relationship, or if I’m going to run for the hills. It would be awesome if it made anyone else reflect on their own relationship choices. On the other hand, if people don’t feel like getting all neurotic and introspective, I hope they’ll at least have some fun!

— —

:: stream/purchase Make Me Feel here ::
:: connect with The Mellons here ::
Stream: “Make Me Feel” – The Mellons

— — — —

Make Me Feel - The Mellons

Connect to The Mellons on
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
? © Vern Tooley

:: Stream The Mellons ::

More from Mitch Mosk
Premiere: Bask in All The Luck In The World’s Majestic “Golden October”
All the Luck in the World's new single "Golden October" blooms with...
Read More