Today’s Feature – February 15-16: Mere

February 16, 2008 at 1:14 pm (Today's Feature)

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Mere, the band out of Hoboken, New Jersey is one of those units that are strong on all fronts – they can write, they can play, they can sing, they can put on one hell of a performance… and they stick together through the occasional band inflicted concussion blow. It isn’t unusual to see Mere dive deep and get lost in the lights and sounds of their shows (and those shows tend to be the best ones). So deep that the group’s two guitarists will sporadically catch each other in the face with their swinging instruments. In fact, Brian once caught Brett so flush, that the cut required 15 stitches… after the show. Like I said, Mere is on stage for one thing – to grab their audience by the skull and push those songs through; medical attention comes later.

Braz on the mic, Jonathan on the drum kit and Kyle on bass forms the rest of the 5-piece band, and together they have opened for HUGE acts such as INXS, Seven Mary Three, OK Go, Oasis and The Black Crowes. Their “powerful, hook-oriented music and live show” has been grabbing that kind of attention, as you can tell from their latest release, “Switches & Dials.” The band describes the writing behind it as unique, with “chords and rhythms that go beyond the basic 8-bar, 1-4-5 arrangements… it’s accessible, but not trite. It comes from a really honest place… more melodically focused than a lot of indie music.”

As mentioned a few times before, a live Mere show is explosive and intense. They describe it as “sort of like Ultimate Fighting but with only half as many injuries.” The band is packing up for a European tour right now, but you can catch their music on shows like The Hills, Grey’s Anatomy and Extreme Makeover. That and the album should hold you over until their return to the states. Jump into the XXQ’s.

XXQs: Mere

PensEyeView.com (PEV): Tell us about how Mere first came together as a band.

Brian: Braz & I are both from Colorado, but didn’t know each other. We both independently knew the same producer out here in New York. He knew I was looking to form a project and was looking for the world’s best rock singer, so he introduced me to Braz.

PEV: Being a five piece band, and having five different personalities, what kind of music inspired each of you? Or do you all share the same interests?

Braz: We’re all over the board. I grew up singing gospel music while Brian listened to the Beatles and Kyle was listening to Abba.

PEV: Hailing from New York, New York, what is the New York music scene like?

Kyle: It’s a music lover’s dream–any band you like will pass through town at least a couple times a year. And the music vibe varies depending on where you are…frat-party bands in Hoboken, too-cool indie hipsters in Brooklyn, and Manhattan’s a total mash of pop, rock, and everything else.

PEV: Most people have a misconstrued view of New York City, that it is rougher than it really is. But tell us, what is your favorite part about living in New York?

Jonathan: Chinese takeout at 2 AM.

Brett: From not growing up here, I am always a tourist. I am constantly amused by things that I see on a daily basis that I would never see any place else on the planet.

PEV: On your site, you said that you have an “explosive live show”. What can fans expect from a Mere show?

Brian: It’s sort of like Ultimate Fighting but with only half as many injuries.

Kyle: Expect a lot out of BrazÑhe’s simply one of the best live singers I’ve ever heard.

PEV: What is the best part about playing live on stage?

Kyle: I tend to judge a show by whether or not the screaming from the fans is enough to drown out the stage monitors. When I can’t hear my own bass or Brian’s guitar because the crowd’s so into it, that’s the best feeling in the world.

PEV: Any live “war stories” where you couldn’t believe something was happening?

Brian: Many, both on-stage and off! On-stage there are always times where technical stuff goes horribly wrong. The worst was when my amp blew, Kyle’s mic kept cutting out, and I broke strings on three different guitars in one night.

Brett: I’d cite the time Brian caught me in the face with his guitar. I bled the whole show and then had to go get 15 stitches.

PEV: Having opened for national acts like INXS, OK Go, Oasis, and The Black Crowes, who is the one group or artist that you would love to share the stage with?

Kyle: ABBA. Maybe lcd soundsystem.

Brian: Kula Shaker, mostly because it would mean they were back together. I’d love to play with Counting Crows also.

PEV: Tell us about your latest release, “Switches & Dials”.

Kyle: It’s just ridiculously catchy. All of it. And Brian’s a different kind of songwriter than most pop-rock writers. The chords and rhythms he uses go beyond the basic 8-bar, 1-4-5 arrangements. That’s evident especially on songs like Lifeline, Through Me, and Run.

PEV: How is “Switches & Dials” different than other music out there today?

Braz: I think there are a lot of great bands doing great things, but I think this album finds its own space. It’s accessible, but not trite. It comes from a really honest place, which I think sets it apart from a lot of mainstream music, whereas it is more melodically focused than a lot of indie music.

Brian: Sonically and dynamically it’s also a big album, but without getting monochromatic like a lot of dynamic albums.

PEV: You’ve had songs appear on MTV (The Hills), Grey’s Anatomy, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (to name a few). Did you like how the songs were used?

Brian: Actually, our experiences with song licenses have all been really positive. The agencies and producers we’ve dealt with have all been great.

PEV: What is one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the guys in Mere?

Brett: We talk about politics and religion as much as we talk about music.

PEV: When the band isn’t performing or traveling what can we find you doing in your spare time?

Brian: Writing songs. We write about 10-15 songs for every one that makes it onto an album.

PEV: What have been your favorite places to play so far?

Brian: We’ve been fortunate enough to play a lot of cool places. I love outdoor shows, so for me probably Fiddler’s Green (opening for Oasis) back home in Colorado was the highlight. Others on my list would be Warsaw out in Brooklyn, Maxwell’s in Hoboken, and the Viper Room in LA.

PEV: What is road life like for the band?

Braz: A lot of fun and fast food.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your success?

Braz: You know, they’ve been really supportive, even though music is a career choice that can be harder on loved ones than most jobs. And they’re proud of our accomplishments – I get calls from back home saying “I heard your song on TV!”

PEV: Where do you see Mere ten years from now?

Kyle: On a reunion tour. Braz will be fresh out of rehab, so it will be the perfect time to get back on the road.

PEV: In one word, describe Mere.

Jonathan: Delicious.

PEV: What has been the best part about your career so far?

Braz: Just getting to play our music and do what we love, and to see people really respond. We get random emails saying they love the album and how much a certain song means to them – that is really cool.

PEV: So, what is next for Mere?

Brian: We’re setting up a European tour right now. A few weeks after we released Switches & Dials, I noticed we were getting a bunch of orders from France and Germany. Apparently a couple DJs at French radio stations heard it online and started spinning it, and it caught on. So, it’s gives us a good excuse to go to Europe!

For more information on Mere, check out www.Mere.net/

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