An interview with Mercedes

"We all have a creative input but I think it’s fair to say that Sharon has the final say on the trousers."


"We all have a creative input but I think it’s fair to say that Sharon has the final say on the trousers."


It’s a simple story really. They sent us their album. We listened to it. We liked it. We wanted to know more about them so we rang them up. They talked. We wrote the conversation down. Now you can read it. Enjoy.




IN: When I first heard the name Mercedes I thought you were either in love with the preferred transport of Dutch taxi drivers (as they will drive nowt else) or fans of German precision and mechanics, but it turns out the name is from another source, isn’t that right?


M: It is, it’s from James Joyce’s "Portrait of the Artist", but if I had the choice of a car or a free novel, i’d go for the novel everytime. Incidentally we have all at one time or another been in love with Dutch Taxi drivers, nothing to do with their car either.


IN: How did the band start? How did Mercedes arrive at its current line up?


M: Originally Mark’s cousin told me to learn the guitar and Mark to learn the bass so we could form a band. We we’re bloody awful. Me and Mark were hooked! After a few line up changes and geographical moves we now have enlisted friends and are all sorted.


IN: Why move from London (where all the so called action is meant to be) andmove back up North to Hartlepool of all places? Is there any kind of music scene in Hartlepool?


M: We got a lot from London – made some great contacts, almost did a kind ofapprenticeship. We just needed to re-think and missed the space and pace of life "up North", plus Graeme and Paul were there as well.


IN: Your last single, Here Am I, is the first thing that got our attention here at Incendiary, tell us the story of that song – if there is one?


M: It’s about overcoming the things that hold you back, not being afraid todo things on your own. Find your faults, try to put them right and take risks.


IN: The album contains the same kind of atmosphere that makes Here Am I so delightful. There’s a melancholic value to it, but ultimately we found it tobe rather soulful and uplifting. How would you best describe your sound topeople who’ve never heard of you?


M: I think you have just done a far better job actually! Erm…strongmelodies, emotional songs with lots of ups and downs.


IN: Who are your biggest influences? What is it about those artists that youadmire so much? Do you all like the same kinds of stuff?


M: A big range of stuff really, we all have common influences such as The Beatles, Floyd, Radiohead, Nick Drake, My Bloody Valentine and Doves etc, but we have individual likes too, Mark’s really into Stoned Alt Country, Paul is into Simple Minds (?). We’ll give anything a go.


IN: How does Sharon handle being around a bunch of lads like yourselves? Is she one of the guys or are you all a bunch of Jessies? In other words, who wears the trousers in the band? Sharon is the focal point, in that she’s thesinger, but who’s the band leader? Do you have one?


M: Mark does the organising and is the main motivator and energy behind everything. We all have a creative input but I think it’s fair to say that Sharon has the final say on the trousers.


IN: Best and worst Mercedes gigs so far? – tell all!


M: Best: Reading festival or Coldplay support at the Scala in London, can’t really decide between them. Worst: The Bedroom, Whitley Bay….enough said about that one the better I think.


IN: What’s on your rider?


M: Ah the usual….Booze (wine and larger), water, honey, fruit, towels, a balcony, an audience etc


IN:Any special band superstitions we should know about? (ie: do you do any daftrituals before a gig?)


M: Group hug, write love letters to Dutch Taxi drivers.


IN: If you could support one band on tour this year, who would it be?


M: Radiohead, one can only dream.


IN: Any plans to bring the Mercedes band wagon over to the Flat Land?(Incendiary’s hoping)


M: Hopefully this summer


IN: It seems like 2004 was very kind to you as a band, would that be correct?


M: Yes it has been a good, good year. Hopefully 2005 will be even better.


IN: What are your plans for 2005? What’s coming up on the Mercedes calendar?


M: Single "Daydream" out 21st March followed by the album "Resolved" out 2ndof May.


IN: Seems as you’ve got a picture of one on the front of your album, just how important is a cup of tea?


M: You’ll never appreciate it properly, unless you are Pauline Fowler from Eastenders, she has lost the life savings but "never mind, have a cup of tea"


IN:Following on with this important line of questioning, what’s the band’sfavourite biscuit? (Mine’s a standard Ginger Nut – good for dunking)


M: Tough one, it depends on whether your dunking in Tea, Coffee, Milk, Chocolate or larger, but I would say Generally…Mark – Digestive (plain not Chocolate) Sharon – Ginger Nut Paul – Sports Biscuts Graeme – Hobnobs



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