It’s hard to imagine that a band could exist when members live at opposite ends of the country, but Rob Jarvis & The Mercury Sons haven’t let the inconvenience of being split between Essex and Newcastle – a cool 300 miles or so – hold them back.
The quartet of frontman Rob Jarvis (lead singer and guitarist), Nick Jennison (lead guitar), Rob Jones (bass) and Adam Forster (drums) define their brand of rock as “refined melodic dirt” – which I love – and will launch their debut single on 17th February.
We had a chat with Jarvis to find out more, and first up asked him about what influences him to write. He said: “Often I’ll start writing for the sake of the music, instinct drives me towards groovy, pulsating riffs. Big harmony effects make up a lot of the overall sound too. Like many I’ll be spanking out a new idea on an acoustic guitar in my underpants, imagining what it’ll sound like with a full band behind it.
“More often than not the feel of the music will then inspire the theme of the song, or I’ll attach an idea or emotion to the music and write about that. Song topics for me can be absolutely anything and come from anywhere, whether biographical or not. It could be something on the news, could be something we were laughing about 6 months ago. I think it’s probably more important that the listener can attach they’re own meaning to a song, regardless of what it’s actually about.”
The band draws inspiration from a broad spectrum of rock influences, most notably the likes of Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots and Soundgarden and a massive appreciation for Led Zeppelin. There’s punchy, hooky choruses aplenty, a la the likes of Foo Fighters and Biffy Clyro, and the first result of this is catchy debut single Just To Make You Happy.
The single starts off with a burst of vocals and atmospheric noise then a smash of guitar chords, with the vocals continuing in the background. Jarvis’ vocals then take centre stage along with some big distorted guitar chords, which are a staple throughout the track. It’s grungey, with heavy basslines between bursts of guitar riffs and Jarvis’ trademark gruff vocals, topped off with a blitzing guitar solo to see in the final chorus.
Check out their debut release in the video below:
Jarvis told us: “As we release more music, it’ll become clear that we aren’t afraid to just write what we feel like at the time and go with it. There are of course some very obvious, major influences but I don’t feel we are constricted by them. We have heavy riff rock tracks, we have big melody driven ballad style stuff, as well more stripped back material. I suppose the point and the way we are defined is just by being who we are and really enjoying making music that way…
“Generally with songwriting, I’ll have an idea or a sketch of a song, with varying degrees of completion and fairly strong vision. Then Nick and I will sit down, start doing some arrangement and Nick will add some guitar sparkle. Adam will pick up the groove, as he does, and Jones our most recent asset, although not originally there when the first record was made, has just understood what it is we were trying to do with the music and that’s reflected in his playing on the live arrangements of newer tracks.
The band had a busy 2016 piecing together their first four records in various locations across the UK, inclusive of The Old Church Studio in Northumberland and Highfield Studio in Essex, with London-based producer Paul Frost. And that hard work has them well set to hit the accelerator in 2017.
Jarvis said: “As well as the dropping of our debut single and video, we have a whole load of new singles and content to get out over 2017 as well as our live debut (last weekend in Newcastle), which is the part we’re most looking forward to. Whilst all that’s going on, we’ll get back in the studio to put together a debut EP, which is practically written, and we’ll be making more videos and as many live appearances as possible.
“We’ve spent a good year behind the scenes working towards this point, so the main goal as a band is to dive head first into 2017, reach as many people as possible. Nick came out with a lovely quote, which I think he’d been told by someone previously also, about writing to your ‘true north’ and not for the sake of sounding like something in particular, so whenever I’m pencilling ideas for the songs I generally think about that. So yeah, write tunes, work hard, have fun.”