Josh - I don’t think we had one specific plan or mindset when starting up. Our goal was pretty much just to write music we think is cool, and the diversity and dynamic will come naturally given our influences and playing styles. Our mindset was pretty much to utilize that diversity to be able to play in a ton of different venues to a ton of different audiences.
Josh - Well, pretty much just writing music to create something we really think is badass and would want to listen to. They’re all genres I think we all collectively are influenced by and enjoy, so those sounds naturally creep into our songwriting. Plus, when writing the album, we wanted to create something that really had a dynamic musical storyline and being able to implement a lot of those different genre elements helped create the flow we were really looking for.
It also seems that most of the bandmembers have had some experience in other bands before, is that right?
Josh - Yeah, Chris and I had played in a handful of bands beforehand over the years. We actually found Sera to sing for our old band before moving in a different direction and forming Mercy Brown.
Mercy Brown loves to deceit. The band name even has a seventies funk right to it. Is that on purpose? Or else, where does the name come from?
Josh - Haha, I like being known as ‘loving to deceit’! The name comes from the Mercy Brown vampire incident story. (read all about that on Wikipedia) Sera had heard of the story and thought it would be a cool name. I don’t think there was intention to give it a seventies vibe but it obviously has that sound to it. That’s why, when we enlisted Travis Smith to do our logo, we asked him to come up with something of the Curtis Mayfield ‘Superfly’ or the ‘Pimp my Ride’ vibe.
Sera - From time to time it can be strenuous, which is why it’s very important for me to keep myself healthy. I need to make sure I warm up well. During practice and live shows, making sure that my in ear monitors are working correctly. Those help tremendously so that I can hear myself and not blow my voice out. I have had classical training in the past and some jazz.
How about the other members? Are they trained in a certain style or instrument?
Josh - I was never trained or taught in bass specifically. I have taken guitar and vocal lessons in the past and have an education and degree in audio engineering/music theory etc. Playing bass has pretty much been self-taught. Chris needed a bass player in one of our older bands and asked me. That’s pretty much how I started playing.
Lunden - I’ve been around drums my entire life, but didn’t start learning the instrument until I was about 9. The music I listened to got heavier and more complex so my playing did as well. That said, a lot of fills and rhythms I do are heavily influenced by musicians like John Bonham, Ginger Baker, and Neil Peart.
Chris - I started with piano when I was pretty young, played trombone/euphonium in school band for a while, then moved onto guitar and eventually bass and drums once I got into doing audio stuff. I’ve taken a lot of lessons over the years and would love to eventually get back into that again.
The music on your debut is a blast, but somehow I can't image you guys listening to this all day long. What are your musical backgrounds and preferences?
Josh - I actually love listening to it all day long. It was one of our goals to make music that we personally really enjoy and I’ve really enjoyed the album. Despite all the stress and long term work that went into it, I still am not sick of it. My musical background pretty much fits the dynamic of the album. I started getting into rock/metal with 90’s alternative and nu-metal (STP, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Korn). At the same time I loved more progressive and dynamic bands like Tool, Porcupine Tree and Nine Inch Nails. I slowly started to really become infatuated with the energy and intensity of more extreme metal bands like Meshuggah and Behemoth while also countering it with more relaxing/soothing music like Massive Attack. That’s pretty much where I am at now.
Lunden - I listen to a huge variety of rock and atmospheric music. I started out closed in to mostly classic hard rock until I discovered this band called Pantera, and it was all over from there. I’ve been listening to a lot of Opeth and Strapping Young Lad lately, but I’ll jump from Genesis to Lamb of God to Richard Marx to Uriah Heep and then to Meshuggah, and throw some Cinematic Orchestra or Beethoven in there because it’s dark and heavy.
How does the audience react to your live performances?
Josh - It varies on the set we’re doing. We try to adapt our set to the full slate of bands that are playing each show so we’re not completely ruining the flow of the entire evening. For the most part it’s a pretty mellow but positive reaction throughout our set. I think we do a good job of keeping everyone interested in what we may or may not do throughout our performances.
Lunden - Recently I’ve become a much angrier player so I’m curious to see if anyone picks up on that at our next show and responds with more energy.
Josh - Well we don’t have a nice tour van yet, so we put together transportation as needed each time we travel. So we kind of play whatever is available in the vehicle we have. Usually just pretty traditional metal stuff.
Let's talk about lyrics. I didn't have a lyrics sheet so I have no idea what you sing about. Can you tell me?
Sera - My lyrics don’t really have theme, on the album there are a few songs I wrote that were sort of inspired by songs about rioting against the media, nothing political. But “News Complaint” is aimed towards Monsanto and GMOs. “Hidden in Plain Sight” and “Where the Fire is” is aimed more towards how controlled society is by TV and consumerism in the way that in order to be happy and have success we need to have material objects and money. So my lyrics in those songs are sort of mocking that. Most of the songs are just pieces of poetry I’ve had written and pieced together to fit my melody lines I wrote.
Chris - We have them on our bandcamp site if anyone wants to see what she’s singing about! Normally I’m not big into song lyrics but Sera’s a great writer and I’m always pleasantly surprised with what she comes up with.
Are you planning on coming over to Europe? If so, and if you will be supporting another band, what band will you like to share the bill with?
Josh - It’s our goal to be able to play everywhere, including Europe. It would likely take us getting signed to a label who could set that up and fund it, but that’s definitely a goal of ours. I have millions of bands I would personally want to play with. Really just as long as it’s a good metal band that we could put together a good show with and have a ton of energy throughout the tour, I would be happy.
What are the near-future plans for Mercy Brown? Will you keep on going with the same intensity?
Josh - Just to keep playing and improving our live show. We wanna try and share and promote our music and our album as much as possible. The intensity will always be there. If anything it’ll be improved and more energetic. I think the longer we keep going we will only get better and our music will offer a tighter and more explosive type of intensity. I’m really excited to start writing music with Lunden, and I believe what we can write going forward will be more extreme and more dynamic. We’re really just getting going and we will only get better going forward. I’m pumped!! Fuck yeah!!!!
Lunden - It’ll only get more badass.