[YMX] Hey On Mercury, thanks for sitting down with us. What would you say to all our readers new to your project?
Hey! Thanks for having me. The band On Mercury is the solo project of Spencer DeBry, that's me! In 2019, I released the band's first album "Strightjackets Will Not Be Enough" and in 2021 the second album "Welcome to the Show". The music is all a vehicle to tell stories. Each of the songs tells one. A fan recently commented how cool they thought it was that each track is actually about something. I found that interesting but when you listen to much of the popular music today, they aren’t really thick with narrative though they are full of groove and hooks.
[YMX] When did you know that music was something you wanted to pursue at an artistic level?
My family wasn't thick with music, other than my mom who was a flute wizard, so other than the 2 years of piano, years of singing in choirs, and 1 year of trombone lessons, I didn't honestly pick up music until I was in my late teens with the guitar. And that trombone stint was really because of a Snickers commercial where a guy finishes his trombone lessons then takes a Snickers out of his case. I love Snickers so we rented a trombone and began lessons. But, the Snickers ran out and the lessons ended shortly thereafter. In college, I was in a few bands and ended up writing about half of our songs. My favorite venues were large house parties where the audience is right on the other side of your mic stand singing along with the song you wrote. Those are the experiences that got me hooked. After college, I went to medical school and then did a residency in psychiatry, which I affectionately refer to as the "dark haze". Through much of this crazy time I didn't play music at all. I didn't begin again until by first daughter was born. Sometimes only playing the guitar and singing would calm her down. By this time my previous bandmates were gone so I started a solo project with the band On Mercury.
[YMX] Do you feel more confident writing music alone, or within a team? Who would be a dream collaborator?
I love making music with people. Love playing music with people. It was always a dream to collaborate with my daughter, who is an artist in her own right, and I got to do that in the first album on the track "Shifting Sands" where she sings the chorus. I then worked on her album in 2020. So a dream fulfilled right? But a dream collaboration has always been to work with Jason Mraz. The guy has this visible passion for the music. It’s beautiful. And, his music is vibrant.
[YMX] You recently released the single "Curie". Can you tell us how that project came about?
Sure. The new single "Curie" is the 3rd track off the new album "Welcome to the Show". It is a song about Marie Curie, the scientist, written from the perspective of her husband Pierre. He was also a scientist. A few years ago I was in Paris visiting the Pantheon where Marie Curie is buried. You know, her coffin is encased in lead because her body will be radioactive for millennia. I couldn't get that image out of my mind. Here is this marvel of a woman, with 2 Nobel prizes at a time when men dominated scientific fields, who, through her pioneering of nuclear science, becomes nuclear herself. In life an inferno and in death a shining star. That imagery bounced around in my head until I woke up one morning with the line "She's right here, burning like coal, even in death a radiant soul, stealing our breath, a star out of control, shining so bright". The rest is the fun part of working a story out of the inspiration. Several songs have been like that for me. For instance, the sixth track "Rotterdam" is about my great grandparents. They were both from Rotterdam and immigrated to America on the same boat. This is a story I have been told by whole life. She was hiding from her father in the ships hold, determined to get to America even if is was against her parent's wishes. He was on the ship's deck waving to his bandmates in the queen's band who were playing on the shore to bid him farewell. They meet on the voyage, fall in love, and get married. I always felt there was a song in that tale. And there was! Track 6!
[YMX] Finally, what are your plans for the future?
I am currently working on an acoustic album that includes a few of the songs from the first 2 albums with some new material. I am hoping to have some collaborators with a few of the tracks too. It is fun to rework some of the songs for an acoustic version. I think the fans will enjoy them.
[YMX] Thanks for sitting down with us. Best of luck with the future.
Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.