featured artist


Last updated 06/15/05

I love them.

I love Mercurine.

I would even go so far as to say "I heart Mercurine"

And I'm not afraid to admit it. Their music is as beautiful as their name, capturing a nu-wav aesthetic that looks at the 80s through 21st century glasses. They remind me of the past while moving forward to the future. And have I told you that I love them?

Mera and Byron of the band were kind enough to take a few minutes to answer some questions for ping things. Check out what they have to say, listen to a couple of tunes, and fall in love with the two of them just like I have...

1) Both of you have pretty rich histories with other bands, projects and solo work, what sort of things do you bring to each other in collaboration?

Mera: The first thing that struck me when Byron and I began working together was how very natural it is to create music spontaneously. We each bring a lot of experience to the table from our work in the past with other bands, but the musical chemistry is something pretty special. That’s the key, I think.

Have you found in the time that you've been working together that you retain distinct personalities writing, or have you slipped into a shared Mercurine consciousness?

Byron: The vocabulary of Mercurine is evolving. We are discovering what our roles are and we continually challenge each other to make better music.

M: I haven’t done much other writing since we really started to push Mercurine as a full time job, but I think my writing style is pretty much intact.

2) Was there ever a blueprint for the Mercurine sound while you were writing and recording, or did it just take shape as you went along? Were you conscious of trying to create something different from what you'd done before individually?

B: We had some ideas for what we wanted mercurine to sound like. I don't think there was a seperate album concept for Music Is Chemical. We did want it to have some twists and turns and different feels and atmospheres like some of our favorite records. We wanted it not to be one good song and a lot of filler or the same song 10 times.

M: Everything takes shape as we go. We still are working with the general concept that started Mercurine, and it is still vague. Usually our songs begin as a riff and we build it out from there. The lyrics always come last and they’re dictated by what I see after we make the skeleton of the song.

Now that your first CD (Music is Chemical) is done, would you say that you have a blueprint for future releases?

M: I think the first CD was a great learning experience and it will not necessarily be a blueprint for future releases. Mercurine is as Mercurine does, which means that it’s always evolving. The only thing I can pretty much guarantee is that there will be no Nu Metal involved at any time. Nor will I rap. (Unless you get me good ‘n wasted)

"We're learning where our strengths and weaknesses are and to trust our artistic vision."

3) What have you learned about Mercurine during the production of Music is Chemical?

B: We've started to realize Mercurine identity, even more so since we started performing the music live. We're learning where our strengths and weaknesses are and I think above all to trust our artistic vision.

M: Mercurine always has to pee. Mercurine is very persnickety. Mercurine LOVES Weebl and Bob. Mercurine does not like to be anywhere before 2 PM, ever. Mercurine is very sleep deprived. Mercurine is a bit depraved. Mercurine likes lots of chocolate. Mercurine will visit the e-vile House of Crack (aka Starbucks) despite knowing better, because when in need, that’s all that’s ever to be found.

4) While you were recording the disc, there was a lot of discussion on your mailing list about what to name the album, at one point going so far as to poll list members what they thought. Do you think that the title of an album influences the music inside either in the creative process or in the way that it's perceived after completion? Do you think that the disc would have had a different sound if you'd gone with a different name?

M: I definitely think that the album title influences what people perceive when they hear the music. The disc would sound exactly the same if we had chosen another name, mostly because of the way we create but also because it was nearly complete when we finally decided on the title.

5) Do you ever watch Buffy? Thoughts on the series finale? Ideally I'd like to see her lose her powers and have somebody else (ideally Kennedy) become the new Slayer, while Buffy and Dawn can go off and live the normal life she's always wanted. How do you think it'll end? How would you LIKE it to end?

M: I don’t really have a working TV, so I don’t watch Buffy too much. This is a question for Byron.

B: I'm just glad it's over. This season sucked. I think last season's musical episode was the last cool thing they did.

editor's note: Personally I thought the finale was great. A little short, but great nonetheless. And I want everybody to know I called the ending like six months ago...

Back to the interview...

6) How do you use computers in the recording process? Do you embrace hard-and soft ware or are you kind of wary of it? Do you think that the proliferation (oooo, nice word!) of music making programs have opened doors for anybody to capture their thoughts in song, or do you think that it distills the art-form by giving alot of people voices despite their having nothing to say?

B: We don't use any virtual instruments. They have yet to win me over. We do all our recording on the computer but I think records sound better made in a good studio with real rooms and good preamps and stuff. I think there are a few geniuses out there rocking their computers and a whole lot of people that push play on Fruity Loops or Acid and think that's making music.

M: We use the computer primarily as a big sequencer, arranger and mixer. We’ve produced demos using “meat and potatoes” music software such as Logic Platinum and Sound Forge. As far as soft synths go, I’m not a fan. I find they work only about ½ the time and they’re just not as fun to me as a real synth. I think we’re both a bit Old School in that we like to create using actual instruments rather than loops and samples, but we’re not too stodgy to go that route on occasion. I do think that the recent trend in music software for laypeople (Propellerheads’ Reason, for example) is a great thing. It does distill the art form, and make everything decidedly more homogenous (hey, how about that word?) but that just makes our music stand out more in contrast. How’s that for elitist!

7) I understand you're going to be playing out in the next little while with additional musicians. How have your songs changed in a live format, and what has been brought to the work with these new people? Have you seen any sort of change to the way you interpret the songs now?

M: Everything is more rockandroll for the live show and it’s still a little raw. Both of our supporting musicians are extremely talented. We’ve got Stevyn Grey (Christian Death, Mephisto Walz, Sex Gang Children) on drums and Oren Karpovsky (The Deep Eynde, Wreckage) on bass. Everyone brings a great energy to the songs and I think our live set is going to be fantastic!

B: It's good fun. The songs get an extra push of energy from Stevyn and Oren. It's a little less subtle and a little more in your face.

9) Anything you'd like to add? Anything you'd like me to ask you but I didn't? Feel free to add in your own question(s) here...

M: 8! 8! Did you forget what 8 was for???

rik: 8? 8? What is this 8 you speak of? Everybody knows it's 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9,10. Didn't you ever watch that show with the green garbage pail dude when you were a kid?

B: Can you explain the special conection Canadians find with Mercurine?

rik: I could just as soon explain the wind, or explain the sky. Personally, I often think of Corporal Buster Mercurine of the Royal Mounted Beaver Patrol while listening to your disc, but that might just be me...

Interested in finding out more about Mercurine? Visit http://www.mercurine.com

Care to visit our older featured interviews?

read an interview with Numina