There's energy around Small Mercies that is hard to put your finger on. One thing is certain; the band are on the cusp of something big.
Small Mercies are a classic rock band for the modern era. Their songs bristle with a mood of instant familiarity. Break the band into sonic parts and youll hear chiming choruses, shimmering guitars and an explosive bottom end; all of which are fronted by a young voice fit to fill arenas, stadiums and the airwaves.
Hailing from Brisbane, the four-piece are poised to release their debut album, Beautiful Hum. No less a tastemaker than Billboard magazine are touting the bands hometown as one of the globes happening musical hotspots. Its the city where Savage Garden, The Saints and Powderfinger made their mark before achieving national and international recognition. Small Mercies may well swell those ranks.
Small Mercies vocalist Steve Blaik, guitarist Danny Procopis and drummer Marty OBrien all met at high school. Steve and Danny form the bands song writing hub while Marty, along with bassist Jeff Reeves, complete the group and provide a rock solid rhythm section.
Produced by Matt Wallace (Faith No More/Maroon 5), Beautiful Hum has international smash written all over it.
Wallace discovered the band through MySpace. Impressed by what he heard, the producer set about making contact. We sent out some demos when we were looking for a producer, begins Steve. Believe it or not, Matt Wallace was at the top of our list. He got back to us via MySpace saying Hey guys, love this stuff ... are you still looking for a producer? That was the first thing we heard and it blew our minds. It was like a dream come true ... getting a MySpace message from Matt Wallace!
I grew up listening to Faith No More and he did most of their stuff, which is amazing. He also did Maroon 5 and Train. The band recorded with Wallace in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley for eight weeks at various studios, including The Pass and Sound City Studios. The results are nothing short of stunning. Tim Palmer (Pearl Jam/U2) applied the finishing touches to the album with top-notch mixes.
Tim mixed Pearl Jam's Ten, which for us, exults Danny, is one of our favourite records. Wed come in at the end of the day and hear what hed done and be blown away.
Small Mercies have quite a team behind them. Early demos from the band caught the attention of music industry veteran John Woodruff (Savage Garden/Evermore) who quickly signed the band to his JWM production company. Modern Music label and studio owner David Leonard came on board as co-label and management some time after. After recording a batch of new demos at Modern Music Studios they attracted the likes of Sony BMG and producer Matt Wallace.
The first single from Beautiful Hum is "Don't You Know Who I Am". It's hard to pick favourites, but titles worth a mention include "Innocent", "Sorry", "Stand On The Outside" and "Almost Perfect". 50/50 Films have shot a clip for "Innocent" that should soon see the band flooding the small screen.
At the end of the day, its all about the songs ... and Small Mercies have plenty of them. Wallace believes they had fifty tracks he could have chosen for their debut platter.
It was after I received my second batch of about 20 songs that I realized that this band was well prepared to make a record, explains Wallace. They had almost 50 songs to choose from and not a clunker in the bunch. They certainly had enough material for a double album (no joke), which put us in a great position to have many excellent songs to choose from. Suffice to say, this record is actually more like a "Best Of" album due to the strength of their material.
Ask Steve what his favourite albums are and hell rattle off, among others, Counting Crows August And Everything After, Lives Throwing Copper and U2s The Joshua Tree. The lyricist loves great storytellers.
I also love bands like Pearl Jam, he admits, the way they structure their songs into anthemic uplifting rock songs. So, I guess when people listen to Beautiful Hum, they'll find their own influences; but theyre key things for us when we write our songs.
Uplifting anthemic rock songs ... its quite a brief, but thats what Small Mercies are all about. With Beautiful Hum, the band has created one of the great Australian debuts.