Curiosity. Inspiration. Trust. Creativity. Empathy. Chemistry. All of this is needed to make collaborations happen. It’s brave to combine ideas and concepts, it’s artistic to let the results happen. These results often aren’t easy to describe or categorize, and that’s exactly what collaboration is about.
We talked to Mercy (23) and Chris (46), two outstanding talents who saw the potential in teaming up in order to share ideas and create new and exciting music – even though they’re living in different states.
kms / Whats your background regarding music? Where do the both of you come from and when did you team up?
Mercy / I am not a trained vocalist. My father plays almost any instrument imaginable and I absorbed some of his talent. Singing and finding melodies is the extent of my musical talent. I grew up on Long Island and was living in Brooklyn, NY around the time Chris and I started creating together.
Chris / My first instrument was violin – I played in the school orchestra, and I still have an affinity for orchestral music and the way different instrumental “voices” come together. As a junior in high school I took up the guitar and grew my hair down to my waist. I was into rock and jazz and did a lot of jamming with other budding musicians and even played a wedding! After college my ponytail got cut and I entered the workforce and started a family, but kept doing music – played with several rock and Americana bands in New York’s Albany and Hudson Valley regions, and I currently play electric guitar with The Warp/The Weft. I’ve always written songs, but my voice is rather plain so being able to collaborate with Mercy has been wonderful – she brings songs alive in a unique and expressive way – her voice is full of personality and color. And she’s selling herself short in the talent department – in addition to her vocal gifts, she is also a talented songwriter: she wrote “Lioness” and “Ice Cream” on our EP.
kms / How would you describe the type of music you do? What does creating music mean to you (both on a professional and on a personal level)?
Mercy / Experimental may be the word for it, our sound is hard to categorize. I do not stick to one genre, I get inspired and the end result is purely genuine. Creating music is something that comes naturally and can only be advanced through collaborating with others that influence you to create outside of your comfort zone.
Chris / I totally agree. When you’re feeling inspired you have to follow wherever it leads. You can’t worry about what people will think. Like Mercy said, allowing inspiration to guide you is how you arrive at something genuine.
kms / How do you develop new tracks? How do you get from nothing to draft to the finished track?
Mercy / I mentioned that whenever Chris or I hear something we are developing that may work well with each other’s styles, we send the track along and it goes from there. We pass the track back and forth while adding feedback and see what happens.
kms / Describe your hard- and software setup for producing and recording.
Mercy / I record using a Yeti Blue microphone and Audacity.
Chris / Mine is probably a typical home recording setup: A Rode NT1A condenser mic and several Sure condenser mics, an interface, and a Mac. And I’m surrounded by instruments – guitars, bass, accordion, clarinet, drums, various percussive noisemakers and shakers, etc. Most of the sounds on our recordings are real instruments played in front of microphones, so ours is an “organic” hand-made sound – though we do use some drum machine loops and an occasional sample on a few songs.
kms / In what ways do you distribute your music?
Mercy / We use Soundcloud and Bandcamp. Our EP can be purchased through there as well as CD Baby, iTunes, and it’s on streaming sites including Spotify.
kms / Are there any live gigs you played on or plan to play on?
Mercy / We have never played live together, this is something we should do, but do not live in the same state at this moment.
kms / After learning that you also collaborate with other artists as well, can we expect more of Chris and Mercy in the future or are you guys two musicians who happened to cross paths, now following their own projects again?
Mercy / We will for sure work together again. Whenever we hear something that we think will be enhanced by each other’s style we send it over and go from there.
Chris / I agree – we both work with a variety of other musicians and bands. Music is such an endless universe of possibilities and there are so many talented people to explore that universe with. Mercy and I will surely do more work together because it comes naturally with us and we’re liking the unique music we’re making.
kms / You’re doing video clips as well. Who developed that idea? How much time do you have to spend for videos like these shown on your youtube account?
Mercy / Chris is the main man for these amazing videos, I provide some concept and some video recordings and he magically pulls it all together.
Chris / Making music videos is very time-consuming, but it’s a blast. I’ve been working with moving images for many years – I used to shoot real 8mm Kodak celluloid film and edit it using razor blades and super glue! I still have an 8mm camera and projector, but you can’t buy the film anymore. Using software to manipulate digital images is so much easier and opens up so many more possibilities. But the concepts of visual story-telling are exactly the same as when I learned them cutting up celluloid back in the day. Mercy and I begin with a general idea for each video, but how it ends up really depends on what kind of footage we both bring to the table. A single arresting visual image can turn a project in a completely new direction. It helps a lot that Mercy is a natural in front of a camera. When you watch a video like “Lioness” you can really see what a riveting performer Mercy is on camera.