It’s only been a few short weeks since the release of their second EP, Infra, and bright prog upstarts Mercury Sky are still touring away along the Australian shores. With some inventive songwriting and highly engaging melodies, the album should already be spinning on your player of choice. To delve more into their music, you can check out our review of it here. We had the chance to discuss with the Sydney based quintet about their history as a band and the process of creating their sophomore effort. Let’s dig in!
A Little History
It was back in those mid-to-late teenage days when the seeds of what we new know as Mercury Sky began to take root, a time in life when you and your friends would typically get together to jam and make plans to take over the world. Keiren talks of living next to their drummer of the same name, stating “We started jamming together due to our mutual love of Incubus/The Mars Volta/A Perfect Circle, etc.” Short of a low end to keep rhythm, “We ‘strongly recommended’ our piano-playing friend who also lived on the street to start playing bass.”
Their first studio experience came through recording “Keeper’s Secrets”, but not after a few line-up changes swept through the group. This led to the drive that crafted their first self-titled EP, picking up Kay and Cameron along the way. On moving forward, Kerien explains “Since then, I really feel we have been consistently growing and honing our craft. We’ve all grown as people, and considering we’ve been through a number of lineup changes with Cameron having to leave the band and coming back later and with Tom Bergman as our bass player, I’m really proud of what we’re doing now.”
Mercury Sky‘s most recent EP dropped on September 22nd of this year, but the journey to that point had started nearly three years earlier. “Many of the songs were simply little ideas when we started and came to fruition one or occasionally two at a time. We made sure that we were as meticulous as could be this time around and I think that’s paid off.” The extra effort comes through on the density of quality in the tracks, but was a tall task during the writing and recording process. Keiren further tells of how it was thankfully, “a great deal of fun for us, despite it being quite arduous for a lot of the journey.”
This time around, the production was handled by the band themselves. As noted, “We recorded all the guitars and synths in house at my home studio and recorded drums and vocals at Electric Sun with Dave Petrovic, who we’ve been working with for years. This gave us a great deal of freedom and the flexibility to get everything just right.”
The lead track, “Sosonal”, may have been the exception – being composed collaboratively – but the rest of the process was multi step and lengthy. “Often, I’d come to the guys with the bare bones of an idea which would sometimes be virtually a whole song or just a riff and everyone would put their flavour on it and shape it the way they saw fit. Then, everything went to Kay who would put vocals down. It would lastly go back to us to change certain musical elements to suit the vocals and add the final touches with all the samples.”
Interestingly, one of the more difficult aspects of the creation process was in how the names of the songs took shape. Keiren elaborates, “Our working titles are always absurd and very hard to forget. Most of the time we keep using them well after the song is released.” On the topic of the aforementioned lead single’s name, he explains “Something I’d secretly always hoped was that somebody was curious about the etymology of “Sosonal” and tried to find out what it meant only to figure out it’s a completely nonsense word that we made up because somebody screamed it during the song once. We also find it really funny when people try to pronounce it. No matter how anybody says it, we always tell somebody they’re pronouncing it incorrectly.”
A Look Ahead
I’ll leave insight into the future of the band in the hands of Keiren: “We are wrapping up the ‘Infra’ tour over the next couple weeks in Brisbane and Melbourne. This tour has been our biggest to date and has been a hell of a lot of fun. That being said, we are already working on new music and have a couple of songs in the works that should hopefully shake things up a bit. I’m actually really looking forward to how people react to them.
We have plans for a video clip next year and a tour to support that. We also have one massive show in the works that we’re holding on to for now. 2018 is already looking huge. As much as I personally would love to make an album, I reckon that’s something we have to do when the time is right. An album to me is a story rather than simply a collection of songs and that’s something we’d really want to get right. Who knows when that will be, but I certainly hope it’s soon.”
Mercury Sky is…
Kay Thatch (Vocals)
Keiren Lovett (Guitar/Programming)
Cameron Davies (Guitar)
Tom Bergman (Bass Guitar)
Keiran Berry (Drums)
You can catch Mercury Sky on tour now if you live down under, but for the rest of us, you can listen to Infra and their earlier music through their Bandcamp page. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram.