Things are hotting up for Rob Jarvis and The Mercury Sons, a band RUSHONROCK tipped for stardom two years ago. With a debut album approaching, Adam Keys caught up with Rob for an exclusive interview.
RUSHONROCK: Hi Rob, thanks for joining us at RUSHONROCK. Things are getting pretty exciting for you right now. Tell us a bit about what’s going on with the band.
Rob Jarvis: Thanks for having me once again! Yeah the last year or so has been a real whirlwind experience. A lot of new places, new faces, new friends and a very different outlook on this thing we do.
It all started with a very fortuitous happening, I met a guy by the name of D. Vincent Williams. A real cool guy and a good friend these days, but also a well-respected songwriter based out out of Nashville, TN. We were hangin’ out for a few days surrounding a car-racing event, with some mutual friends. He actually asked to hear my stuff, after my lil’ brother had mentioned that I’d just written a new record and demos. Being proud as punch with those songs, of course I obliged. Naturally, expecting more of a courtesy reaction, as I was sure guys like D. are sent stuff by artists all the time.
A week or two later I received an email saying he has sent the tracks to producer Greg Archilla, (Matchbox 20, Neil Young, Buckcherry, Collective Soul, Jonathon Jackson et al).
They then offered me an opportunity to come out and meet in Nashville to get a feel for the place, meet some cool people and generally see what’s up. Again, I totally tried to play it cool…. not.
Right now, just in-between finishing the writing portion of this new record. Really proud of these songs; some really high energy stuff, more rounded I reckon, as far as my influences go.
Of course I didn’t want to leave the first chapter unfinished, hence releasing Four Walls and the live acoustic version too. That was actually the song that started the Mercury Sons thing, so probably the best way and message on which to enter the next phase, if you will.
RUSHONROCK: In early 2017 you released two tracks; ‘Just To Make You Happy’ and ‘End OF Our Days’, then you headed to Nashville. Tell us a bit about the last 18 months, and the incredible journey you’ve had?
RJ: Its funny, I’ve not spent a lot of time looking at the last 18months as a whole, but it’s been a really amazing time. It’s a path I feel really lucky to have stumbled upon. At this point, I have had the absolute pleasure of meeting and pencilling songs with current and former members of bands I’ve certainly looked up too and definitely cited as influences, which is insane.
One of the major parts of the recent history is been immersed in some seriously rich rock n roll, country and blues culture. I think having been exposed to way more music, has allowed me to further tap into what I really love about the music and writing. Nashville will do that to you, 24/7 music town.
So, I’ve dived head first into writing this new record. Like I said before, I feel like it’s a more rounded showing of all my influences. Grunge rock has always been huge for me, but I also love blues, earlier Rock and Roll and punk.
It is now my intention to go back to the US and cut said record with Greg Archilla. Riding the inspiration wave; surged by being in the US and sat on an expanding bank of material, I can’t wait to get on with it in the near future, once I’ve crossed the rest of t’s and dotted what remains of the I’s.
RUSHONROCK: You recently released Four Walls, Tell us a bit about the track itself.
RJ: So this is actually a song from a little while ago, recorded with Rob Jarvis and The Mercury Sons – it’s reflective of the time, as was most of the material at that point – Four Walls was actually the first song I started working on after previous band ‘Great Man Theory”. A time, for which I am very grateful, we did some killer stuff.
I was uncertain of what to do quite honestly, having been in somewhat of a routine, in a great band with my closest mates, well oiled and making our way. Fortunately, my songwriting was very obviously spurred in a direction. I’ve maintained there’s no real point trying to write anything outside of how you feel in the present, so I followed on down that ‘rabbit hole.’ In stepping away from the previous band a little, I gained a new perspective on certain things, and I feel that when I listen back.
So I ended up with, Four Walls. The song is about how easily you can be wrapped in your own little world, and with the benefit of hindsight how unimportant, many things really are. It’s cool knowing that if ya stick one foot in front of the other and head in basically any direction, you’re definitely gonna end up somewhere new, it’s of course inevitable.
I would describe it as a kind of happy reflection on a time where I wasn’t entirely certain what to do musically speaking, but just started moving/doing things with no real aim, letting things happen and let a target appear. Turns out sometimes, that’s ok, or at least better than doing nothing. ha.
RUSHONROCK: Your debut record is due to land very soon, tell us a bit about the album and who you’ve been working with?
RJ: I might have to split that into two answers. I’ve been afforded some amazing opportunities as far as collaboration goes over the last year. It’s also the first time I’ve really started writing with other artists, on other projects too.
Collaboration in all honestly was new territory for me, outside of band settings that is, and took a moment to get used too. You have a matter of hours, to figure out what makes the other person tic, as they are with you. Subject matter that inspires both of you; whats more you have to be pliable with your ideas, and leave room for the other person to work too. It is a learning curve but can gleam some amazing results.
At this point, I have had the absolute pleasure of writing songs and hanging with current and former members of bands that I just never would expected to. Brian Craddock of Daughtry, Buck Johnson of Buck Johnson Band, Aerosmith, Hollywood Vampires, DA Karkos of John Corabi band, Brett Hestla from Creed and Virgos Merlo, Blue Miller (Bob Seger, Isaac Hayes) D. Vincent Himself (credits for rascal flats, Jason Aldean, James Otto et al.) Jonathan Jackson of Enation and whole host of other people it has been my absolute pleasure to meet.
The other incredible thing about working with artists and writers of this caliber is the lessons you learn. You pick up different things from each of them that inform your own habits, would be daft not to.
It probably won’t be a full length album,; but I sat down with Greg over a few days and cut a whole heap of songs down to about 13 to choose from. Some of which are solo writes and some collaborations. I am currently fine-tuning.
RUSHONROCK: Who would you say the biggest influences were behind the album?
RJ I think it’s more about the experiences I have had than individual artists at this point, though I’ll always have my favorites; I’ve been so lucky over the last little bit, absorbed so much music, so I’m naturally regurgitating stuff with a little nature and a little of the newer nurture I’ve received.
RUSHONROCK: For our readers who are new to Rob Jarvis and The Mercury Sons, how would you describe your sound?
RJ: Rock n Roll babbyyyy! hahah. I just love big, dirty unison riffs, fuzzed up guitars, obnoxious drums, harmonies and cool melodies. Dirty.
RUSHONROCK: Two years ago, you played sold out shows in Newcastle and London, but since then, live shows have been few and far between. Will we see you on the road any time soon?
RJ: There have been a few cool ones in-between, but they’ve been more about getting the material right for this next phase, trying stuff out. I wanna make sure the music is really saying what I want, then I’ll start shouting about it more. However, absolutely, back on the road just as soon as the record is done. I can’t wait.
Easily the best part about this whole deal. Interacting with people is as important as the music itself. Ultimately that’s what this is all about. Sharing something with people, whether its friends, band mates, or a listener. Cannot wait to show what I’ve been doing. I so pumped to see the whites of some eyes at shows soon.
RUSHONROCK: Since these shows, and ‘Just To Make You Happy’ and ‘End OF Our Days’, how do you feel you’ve grown as a musician, and what has your experience in Tennessee helped you become more polished?
RJ: I have no idea what the word for what being out there has done to me. I feel it’s difficult not to elevate your abilities when amongst such storied company. It’s very easy to squander opportunities, if you don’t really know what’s in front of you. I do my best to take nothing for granted in this respect and apply myself to my craft and absorb whatever secrets the aforementioned grace me with. So in a sense yeah, whether polished is the word, I don’t know, but there’s certainly been a lot of personal growth running parallel with such awesome opportunities.
RUSHONROCK: Finally modesty is overrated – what do you hope to achieve this year as a band? How big can things become for you?
RJ: I think about it like this, doesn’t matter how far it is, but as long as each day you feel like you’ve moved forward in some way, then you’re headed in the right direction. I try to maintain that idea at a steady pace and work as I can towards small goals, one foot then the other, so to speak.
That aside, there has certainly been an element of luck and right place right time too.
With your nose to the grindstone and good mates around you there is no real limit, but that is exactly where I’m gonna keep looking for now. I hope that in the near future we look back at this and discuss this answer again.
Just a final word; huge thanks to everyone who has been so supportive of the music and journey. Some folks have put real love and energy into this thing, whether collaborators, team, family, friends, listeners. It’s all so important and can’t thank anyone enough.