Acclaimed contemporary jazz act, Mercury, gear up for the release of their new album Sea Speak along with an exciting tour across the North of England.
Watch album teaser for Sea Speak here on Youtube:
Formed out of a bunch of music students from RNCN, Mercury performed their first gig at the Manchester Jazz Festival back in 2012. Here they were discovered by a group of organisers at the legendary Kings Place in London, who were so impressed by the group’s sound that they invited them to play at King’s Place itself, propelling the band into a new level of recognition.
How did you get your initial start in music?
We all studied at University. But I think I can speak for everyone if I say that learning to be a musician is a life long thing. I started at about 6 – its the best time to start. But we all started playing together whilst at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. The genesis of this band was actually as a warm up for Robert Glasper when he performed at the college.
What would your ultimate aim in the industry be?
All any jazz musician really wants to be respected by their peers as a player of good music. With Mercury its always been about having that clear reference to the music we love outside of Jazz. So hopefully, we can bring people who listen to other genres, who might hear a little of their favourite sounds in what we do, into the fold a little bit as far as Jazz music goes.
How long have you been writing your own music?
Who are your top 3 influences and why?
Speaking personally, when I’m writing tunes for this band I always try and think about texture and how we can use the instruments in an interesting way to create that. The true genius of that for me is Ravel. Then there’s the energy and freedom of Jimi Hendrix (and Chris Potter). The other big influence has been a trumpeter, Mathias Eick. Hearing him play actually kicked off the sound of this band for me.
Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?
It’s our second album, but its the first one with a 5 piece line up, so we’ve added Fender Rhodes.
Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?
We’re all based in Manchester. Manchester’s always had an amazingly diverse independent music scene, obviously. There’s some really different and world class Jazz going on in the city at the moment. It’s a great scene to be part of, because everyone is pushing forwards and keeping each other on their toes.
Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?
Well, there’s so much to check out from Manchester. All the guys in Mercury have some fascinating projects going on outside of our band. So Thomas Dibb is really closely involved as a player and songwriter with Lauren Housley; she’s writing some great country/blues influenced pop and has a fantastic live band. Richard Jones, our keyboard player is a member of Beats and Pieces big band who keep going from strength to strength. Johnny Hunter has two incarnations of his quartet, one very hard bop and one very free which are both excellent. And check out Gavin Barras’s album “Day of Reckoning”.
Give our readers a roundup of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.
We’re on Twitter @MercuryMancs and Facebook.com/mercurymanchester. We also have our website www.mercurymanchester.co.uk You can get our first album Mercury:[LP] on iTunes and Spotify but also CD’s on BandCamp. And the new album Sea Speak is available now on our Tour, on BandCamp and soon on iTunes.