US three piece The Mercy Beat chat to us about the release of their debut EP, their international roots and how the UK differs from the US
If you haven’t heard of US-based threesome The Mercy Beat, then get ready to. Their debut EP has recently dropped in the UK, and it’s the perfect blend of West Coast falsetto vocals and lo-fi electronica – we’re definitely on board. Singer Sam Endicott was previously better known as the frontman of the Bravery, which you may remember as the mid-2000s band responsible for An Honest Mistake. If not, that’s ok, as this new project bears very few similarities, this time inspired by 60s R&B and 80s new wave. We wanted to know more, so we caught up with Sam to get the lowdown on the band, the EP and moving on from the Bravery.
Firstly, you all hail from various corners of the globe – how did you first meet?
Matt’s old band toured with the Bravery in the UK and I thought he was a great guitarist, so when I had an idea for a new band he was my first call. Matt and Ian are best friends from back when they both lived in Hawaii.
When did the idea for the group come about?
The Bravery had just slogged through a particularly grueling winter tour and we had nothing to do for a week until the next show, so we were placed in a hotel in London somewhere I forget, and I sat there day after day in the room trying to write and coming up with absolutely nothing and it became more and more difficult to deny the feeling that I was just over it. I found myself listening to old 60’s R&B to make myself happy, because I love that music and that era. Then after about 6 days in this hotel room banging my head against the wall it suddenly clicked that I should do something new, and do my take on that old music that I love.
How did you develop the sound? Was it a deliberate point of difference from what we heard with The Bravery?
I had been really conflicted about the Bravery for a long time. Since I was the principal songwriter, the band was pretty much defined as whatever I wanted to write, so how then could I do a different band where I was the principal songwriter? Wouldn’t it just be the same thing with a different name? But then when it clicked in my head, I realized that I would love to do music in this new specific style and it absolutely would not make any sense as the Bravery, so it would necessarily have to be it’s own thing. We don’t specifically try to or try not to sound like the Bravery, the songs just follow their own paths, which is by their inherent nature a very different thing.
Did you approach this new project more cautiously after The Bravery’s split?
Very much so.
What inspired you musically for the EP?
As I said, we draw a lot of influence from 60’s R&B, like we’re taking elements of the original dance music from back then and juxtaposing it with the influences we grew up loving, namely 80’s New Wave. So I would describe the sound as a combination of those two eras.
Do you think the electro-pop scene differs in the UK from the US?
Is electro-pop what we do? That’s funny. I’m not sure what that means any more, because all the genres of music have kind of blurred together. Every radio station I listen to I hear a 4-on-the-floor beat, regardless of what kind of music that station is supposedly playing. So in a way I’d say the US is become more like the UK; things used to be very clearly divided here into separate categories, but now I think people don’t care as long as they like the song, and I think that’s more of a UK thing. Radio One will play a garage rock song into a house beat; until very recently that kind of thing was unheard of in the States, but now that’s changing.
What other bands or artists do you admire now?
There’s a lot, I wouldn’t know where to begin.
Will we get to see you live over here anytime soon?
That would be great.
What’s next for The Mercy Beat?
Working on a bunch of songs.