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Profile Small Mercies
Title: Small Mercies talk about their debut...
Interviewee: Steven Blaik
Date Published: 13.09.2004
Pic:courtesy of Australian Music Biz

Who are your 3-5 favourite Australian artists?
INXS – Michael was such a charismatic person with such a unique and alluring voice. When he sang he seemed to be able to create so much power and emotion. Although I never was privileged to see INXS live on stage, I’ve seen live footage of live performances and heard tales of his grace and ability to captivate the audience. He was the pinnacle of what a front man should be. In addition to this, add in the song writing genius of Andrew Farris and the personality and ability of the rest of the band…how can you not love them??

Powderfinger – I love the story of this band. A small time Brisbane band who was almost another casualty of the Australian music industry, has been able to rise to become the biggest Australian band at present. My admiration for their drive and dedication to their dream of being a successful rock band is only matched by my admiration for their brilliance in song writing and production. The songs are unique in a sense that they are not only melodic and hooky without a hint of cheese but are also interesting and not confined to the formulaic pop norm!

Crowded House – Although not totally “Australian” being of New Zealand origin, I think we all like to think of them that way. Neil Finn has at times been proclaimed as being one of the finest song writers in the world. I am of the same opinion. The simple but melodic songs of Crowed House have such maturity and universal appeal. The band and their songs will span the generations.

The Cruel Sea – We did a show with the Cruel Sea and they blew me away. Their groove is so infectious. I found myself unable to stop grooving to the tunes. Also Tex has such a presence and such a personality…very cool.

What are your 3-5 most played Australian releases? Why?
Odyssey no. 5 This album epitomizes everything that I love about Powderfinger. This album accentuates the brilliance of the way the band takes great songs and explores interesting, unique and very classy ways of song development…similar to bands such as Radiohead or as the Beatles have done. The end result is an album that has a hold of me from beginning to end…It just sounds so cool!

Diorama : To me Silverchair and Daniel Johns was a bit of an acquired taste. Until this record and to a lesser extent, the previous record, I was never a huge fan of Silverchair. Diorama however, has not left my CD player in a very long time. A “talented eccentric” is how I would describe Daniel Johns. This shows in his songs. This record could have easily fallen in with other records that are over indulgent and over produced and I guess it is. But this case, I love it! The album is a journey from beginning to end.

End Of Fashion: These guys are only relatively new and have had some success on the Js. They are now getting some crossover to the mainstream. I really liked this EP, especially the track ‘Rough Diamonds’. I thought it was really melodic and that they were a really good band. They represent to us a place that we would want to be in the near future.

What do you think is the most influential Australian music release and why?
ACDC – Back in Black: I don’t think I know a single musician who doesn’t have this record and this band in their record collection. Their sound, ideas, and songs reflect in so many bands, both Australian and international.

ACDC is rock and roll personified! Loud, hooky, great songs, rocking live show…world conquerors!! How can you not be inspired by this band?

Which Australian performer (past or present) would you most like to work with?
Michael Hutchence. I’d love to tap into his brain. His melodies are quite genius…so simple but so effective. Also, being a vocalist myself and I guess the front man, I’d love to learn from Michael. His voice touches people and he has such a presence. Very few front men have the X factor that he possessed. Michael had it all.

Describe your most memorable Australian music moment?
When Michael Hutchence died. I guess the old saying, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”, it quite relevant in this case. I think I was in the midst of grunge and hard rock and roll at this time. When I heard on the news that Michael had died it was so surreal.

I put the record on and sat and listened to it from start to finish. It was like I had neglected an old friend. It felt like the end of an era in not only Australian music but in my life as well. I bought Michael’s solo record but it just wasn’t the same!

What are your three favourite music websites?
I have recently checked out the Mandy Kane website. The site is really appealing and striking. They have used some really cool affects for the icons…using animated symbols to represent the certain parts of the site. It’s also pretty easy to use.

Powderfinger’s site is also pretty cool. I might be little biased as these guys are one of my favourite bands but I’m always pretty interested in what the guys from the finger are up to.

Platform Six – These guys are a local Brisbane rock band. Their site is pretty cool and most of the time has some new and interesting stuff on the site!

What, where and when was the first local gig you attended?
Not sure when the first gig I went to but the one I remember the most is Powderfinger at the Capital in Brisbane. This gig was shortly before they released Double Allergic. It was a preview of the new record.

It was rocking pretty hard. The room was only small about 150-200 people but they were all pretty pumped and the gig went off! This was the first time I was really introduced to the band. Since then I‘ve been a fan! Big Heavy Stuff also played!

Can you tell a story behind your latest release?
Off the Record is our new release. It has been a long time coming. The band has been together for five or so years now and I guess this EP is a product of the work that we have put into our career.

We wanted the EP to sound like five guys in a room playing rock music. It is definitely one of the most rock sounding productions that we have done over the last few years. It our first official release and we are hoping that the music strikes a chord with those who listen to it.

It is our intention to tour and support the EP throughout the country over the coming months.

What is the most important issue facing Australian music?
I think it is education. A lot of bands seem to float around through the music industry without any real guidance in respect to finding a direction and striving for a successful career in the music industry. Either that or they are caught up in the glamour and hype of record companies and instant success.

Bands and management need to be educated so they can make positive moves towards achieving success and that instant success is a fallacy. Hard work and dedication is essential in reaching their goal. There are no short cuts.

We have to make sure that some of the fantastic talent that this country produces don’t get lost between the cracks or never get a chance to let their music shine! So many great songs, and bands remain unheard and unappreciated!

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