INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Essex-based alt-rock outfit Rob Jarvis & The Mercury Sons may only have released their debut single in January, but already, they have made quite an impact.
The four-piece have performed sell-out shows, been championed by Kerrang! Radio, and praised for a style of music that they themselves define as “refined, melodic dirt“.
I chatted to frontman Rob recently, and he told me about the band’s beginnings, influences and some new material in the pipeline, including their forthcoming single ‘End Of Our Days’.
How did the band get together?
At the end of my old band, midway through 2014, I was still of course writing as per usual and needed a new musical outlet. After I’d got a few songs and song ideas together, I hooked up with guitar monster Nick Jennison, a guy well-known to the Newcastle music scene and an old friend, to go through them and start doing some arrangements. Everything just went from there, a couple of evenings were spent in my dank student kitchen over some beers.
How did you come up with the name The Mercury Sons?
The name Rob Jarvis & The Mercury Sons came about when I was watching a television programme at home, the characters of said programme often described one of their associates as a ‘mercurial’ man.. The nature of a mercurial man, being unpredictable and surprising… I thought it was an apt idea to support the kind of music I’d like to be putting out, and in some respects, I hope it does surprise people.
What are the band’s main musical influences?
The sound is influenced by a vast and eclectic mixture of music really, main influences are drawn from the sounds and attitudes of bands like Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots, with obvious nods to more modern acts like Foo Fighters and Biffy Clyro. The thing is, from there, influence moves way further afield to artists like Jeff Buckley and an abundance of stuff in between.
Importantly, as much as the handful of artists I’ve mentioned have a huge influence on the sound, I don’t feel constrained to them. If I like how something feels and it’s a bit outside the box, we’ll just go with it, it’s important to feel creative freedom, at the end of the day it’ll end up sounding like us anyway, so just run with it.
Lyrically, I draw influence from anywhere and anything, biographical or not. If I feel strongly enough about something and can’t get it out of my head, it’ll end up in a song.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
Non – methodical up to a certain point; but there is a pattern, more often than not… I’ll be walking around my house with an acoustic guitar in my underpants or a suitably strange set of pyjamas for a couple of hours, messing around with ideas for riffs and songs.
The mad thing is, when I get some bits together that sounds like a track, something usually clicks and I’ll start singing melody ideas over it and then visualising what the final product might sound like when fully fleshed out. That’s my favourite part, when you first get that little feeling: “Yeah, this is gonna be a song.”
At that point, I’ll hook up with Nick and start working on a semi-final arrangement and demo the song. Nick’s a really great guy to work with, as well as his main talent (among many) a thing we call, adding some guitar sparkle, he really understands what it is I might say to him describing how the track sounds in my head.
You’re currently putting together a new album. How has the process been up to now?
Whether it’s to be an album or a couple of EP’s is currently undecided, but all’s going well, some of the material was actually pencilled a little while ago and currently being tested live, to an overwhelming response which we’ve been really grateful for.
Other than that, I’m having a really good time locking myself away for a little bit and getting creative, and I’m also really looking forward to getting some more demoing done ahead of recording the next lot of music.
When are you hoping to get your new material out?
As far as an extended release goes, I couldn’t possibly put a date on it, but be rest assured, just as we’ve rolled out these first two singles in 2017, there’s still going to be lots of content coming out thick and fast and as often as we can.
Putting out a set of tracks in one go, like an album or EP as opposed to singles, I see as a really big deal. Getting those 4 – 12 perfect tracks all down in one go is representative of a fairly long time, months of writing, changing parts, plucking out new ideas and more importantly, being very critical of the stuff you’ve created and of course chucking some ideas away. So I am taking some time to make sure the best material possible ends up on the record, at least in my opinion.
How is it playing live and touring?
The live campaign so far has been amazing, we’re taking our time to make sure that in between any shows, we work really hard towards the next one, make it as great an experience for the audience as we can. We’ve had really successful sell-out shows in London and Newcastle, and we’re just working hard to get more dates confirmed.
What is your long-term aim?
I need to carry on working hard, keep building on top of these working foundations, bringing out more music and exciting content; I’ve already spent masses of time and energy on Rob Jarvis and The Mercury Sons because I’m aiming high, there’s absolutely no shame in being ambitious and persistent, only in not trying, so the long-term aim is to always keep growing, working hard and reach as many people as we can. The rest will unfold from there.
‘JUST TO MAKE YOU HAPPY’, THE BAND’S DEBUT SINGLE, IS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD ON iTunes.
FURTHER INFO ON ROB JARVIS & THE MERCURY SONS CAN BE FOUND AT THESE SITES:
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.robjarvisandthemercurysons.com