Friday, May 15, 2015

Mercy Brown Interview

Josh:  I am drunk.

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?

Josh:  We've been around for about 5 years, primarily playing in Spokane, WA and other areas in the northwestern part of the US.  Chris (guitar) and I (bass) branched off from a prior band we had been playing in, to form Mercy Brown with Sera (vocals).  Lunden is our most recent member, replacing our former drummer about a year ago. 

Lunden:  Mercy Brown was well established before I entered the mix. I heard them as a raw but technical approach to the metal genre, and not really sticking to one subgenre or another. That's all I knew prior to joining. If you like variety, I'd give us a listen.

2.Recently you have released an album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

Josh:  Well our only prior release was a three song EP, so the the main difference is primarily body of work and overall dynamic.  The songs are a mix of 5 year old tracks and ones that were written during the recording process, so there is a wide range of song writing progress in there.  As far as the musical sound, it's pretty diverse in that in ranges from fairly fast, extreme metal to very mellow and ambient rock.  A large focus on the album was making everything flow together perfectly so nothing seemed out of place and the songs didn't seem thrown together.  It has a very storyline-like musical dynamic and all of the songs compliment each other very well, despite the wide-ranging musical diversity. The overall vibe of the album is pretty dark.

Sera:  I think our music has really grown with in the past two years of us being in the process of recording the album. It's our first full length consisting of a lot of songs that we've had written since we first started so I'm not sure exactly how different it could be since our EP was released. But I feel like when listening to the album all the way through, you can hear how our music has matured through the recording process. I would describe our sound on this album as starting out very heavy and in your face and then it really mellows out into something dark and ambient.  I'm really happy with how it all turned out.

Lunden:  The LP is much more thought out and technical than the older tracks I had to learn. There's an edge of efficiency and polished sound to the album as compared to the slower thrash or groove approach on the older tracks.

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?

Sera:  I write a lot of poetry, so there's some poems I've turned into lyrics. There's some about my personal life, relationships, my views on our world like our society here in America such as the song "Where the Fire is". That's more about how I feel that I'm overly aware of the subliminal messaging that we're being fed as a society to be desensitized to things such as violence and horror and the fact that people are too caught up in petty things and how the media is playing an extremely large part in that.

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Mercy Brown'?

Chris:  Sera watched something about the Mercy Brown vampire incident during the first few weeks of us jamming.

Sera:  We chose it because it sounds like a Funk band.

5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

Josh:  Well as far as turnout, our best shows have been at the Knitting Factory in Spokane, WA.  We did a couple with Machine Head and Mushroomhead that both had pretty decent turnouts.  Personally some of the gigs in smaller clubs tend to be a little more fun and interactive.  We don't go to crazy live but I try to be as energetic as possible, given the amount of stage space we have.  I'll run around and muster up a good coat of sweat either way.  It might be whiskey or meat sweats though, not activity sweats.

Sera:  I think the few times we have opened up for some national acts have been really fun and we've definitely gained more of a fan base when we do. 

Lunden:  Opening for Machine Head, and really every show after that has been the best shows. It felt like we went from trying to master the technicality of the album in a live setting to just going balls to the wall, full tilt. I've dropped and broken more sticks and cymbals since the Machine Head show.

Chris:  I think my favorite was our show at The Kraken in Seattle last month.  I would describe my personal stage performance as disappointing because I have really long hair and can't do a windmill while playing our songs.

6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?

Josh:  Hopefully getting some shows lined up throughout the northwest part of the US over the summer.  We just need to get a touring rig and some dates lined up.

Lunden:  We'll get on the road eventually. I have a lot of faith in this band. Mercy Brown is leagues above and beyond prior bands I've played in, and I've performed with some exceptionally talented individuals across a multitude of genres.

Chris:  We have a show coming up with Eight Bells from Portland, and hopefully we'll be playing out of town a lot this summer.

7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?

Josh:  We haven't received any interest from anything major, just some local labels.  But we're currently promoting and pushing our album out to whoever may be interested.

Lunden:  A label would be nice. Festivals usually require representation from a label to get on the lineup.

Chris:  We're pretty self-sufficient, but it would be nice to have some support to upgrade our live production/play bigger shows and release our catalog on vinyl.

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of extreme metal?

Josh:  Actually, it seems we've been getting very good feedback from outside of the US. Europe and Mexico especially. There seems to be a larger audience for our style of metal outside the US, as opposed to locally, so it's always nice to hear a very positive reception coming from around the world.

Sera:  Well so far the feedback we've gotten has been really good and I think it's because there is something a little deeper to our sound. I wouldn't label us as extreme metal but certainly progressive.

Lunden:  The response has been good. Extreme metal isn't our overarching genre so I've been pleasantly surprised.

9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

Josh:  I imagine we'll stay very similar to where we are now.  We've never really focused on trying to hit a particular style or genre.  We just write music that we would personally enjoy.  The diversity of our influences really keeps our songwriting wide open.  I wouldn't be surprised if we did a complete death metal/thrash album or a complete calm, ambient album next.

Sera:  Hopefully we start touring around and continue to explore different sounds and express new ideas.

Lunden:  Harder, more diverse, more dynamic. I want to widen my playing style as much as possible.

10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Josh:  As far as heavier stuff goes I've always been a huge fan of the entire Devin Townsend/Strapping Young Lad catalog.  Opeth, Behemoth, Meshuggah, and Fear Factory are also big ones, to name a few.  For more mellow stuff, I would say Nine Inch Nails, Massive Attack, and Porcupine Tree are my primary influences for that aspect of our music.

Sera:  I think there is heavy Deftones influence among many others of course. For me personally whatever I'm into vocally at the moment of writing a song I'll try to incorporate it somehow. I'm very into Portishead and Mike Patton. But lately I haven't really been listening to much music, I've been more enjoying silence lately.

Lunden:  I've been listening to a lot of Lamb Of God and Gojira lately. I love the monstrously heavy, yet precise approach both of those bands take.

Chris:  Dub Trio, Bloodbath, Cloudkicker, Aphex Twin, and Portal are played a lot in my car at the moment.  I'm an audio engineer so I don't get to sit down and enjoy recorded music as often as I'd like, but I'm exposed to new stuff all the time which I think helps to keep me open minded.

11.What are some of your non musical interests?

Josh:  I'm an avid sports junkie, but I also try to do a fair share of traveling and exploring the outdoors.  The northwest US is awesome for camping out in the mountains or along the Pacific coast. Oh, and there are a shitload of good breweries up here!

Sera:  I love to paint, lately it's been all I can think about.

Lunden:  I'm in school for automotive technology and absolutely love cars. Anything with 4 wheels and an engine, sometimes more, and I'm interested immediately. I like exercising and just kinda chilling out. Nothing too special.

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Lunden:  I once had Chris Motionless pop up in my suggested friends on Facebook. I almost deleted my account. (You don't have to put this one in)

Josh:  I'm not really drunk anymore.

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