James Mercer of The Shins and Broken Bells fame stopped to talk to Equality365.com about the upcoming show and musical experiences. Mercer is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and consummate musician. He founded the indie rock group The Shins as well as juggling vocalist, lead singer-songwriter, and only remaining original member. His artistic projects have ranged far and wide while his creativity spawns new ideas to polish his talents.
Catch him with The Shins, Foxygen and Day Wave at Marymoor Park tomorrow, September 23, 2017. You may still be able to get tickets online here or at the ticket booth located in Marymoor Park. Check out more tour dates for The Shins right here.
Earle Dutton (ED): Tell me a bit about the show you are bringing to Marymoor Park?
James Mercer (JM): We have Yuuki Matthews from Kirkland with us. He will be our bass player. Mark Watrous is on guitar. They have both been with us for a while. We have added Casey Foubert. We’ve got Jon Sortland on drums. He was in Jon Sortland on drums. He was in Broken Bells and punk rock bands like Cigar. We also have Patti King from Portland who is a beautiful singer, keyboardist and a terrific violinist. It will be a great show. We actually have three violinists in the band since Mark and Casey both play violin as well. They all join together and we get a little chamber action going as well.
ED: Are you excited about headlining the just announced Australia tour?
JM: Yes, very much so. Australia is always good for us. There are great crowds and it is just a beautiful country. We always have a great time in Australia. We are going to New Zealand as well. It has been ten years or so since we have been there.
ED: What is it like to work with video artists like Matt McCormick?
JM: He is just really good. He is very much a cinematographer. He really frames shot beautifully. He is very artistic in the way he shoots things. He is also very sophisticated in the way he colors shots.
ED: You have had a lot of different musical iterations and experiences. What really drive you musically?
JM: There is a natural desire for humans to communicate. I think that is a major desire that defines humanity. The ability to communicate sophisticated ideas and the desire to do that are part of us all. I think that if you don’t have that desire, you probably aren’t a successful human. I think the arts are really just an elaborate version of communication.
ED: You have collaborated with some interesting people. Are there some others that you look forward to working with in the future?
JM: I would really like to write with some people. I really enjoy that studio environment of kind of spit-balling ideas. I find that very rewarding and fun. I would love to do more of that. I would love to work with Brian Burton again and do some more Broken Bells stuff. I would love to work with Ariel Pink. I am a huge fan of his crazy stuff. I would really love to work with Parquet Quarts but I wouldn’t want to fuck with that shit because it is so good (laughter). There is just nothing I could bring to that (laughter). I would really just like to work in that capacity of just really writing, putting songs together and seeing other people perform them.
ED: How would you describe your music to a new person?
JM: We just have a lot of different styles of songs so it makes it a little difficult to really peg it down. I think that sounds like a pretty typical response from a band. If you look at a band like Fun, it is pretty much a genre of its own. There are actually a lot of bands like that. We have an eclectic mix of different song styles and energies that we try to create. It makes it really difficult to put anything in a genre.
ED: Who were your biggest musical influences growing up?
JM: Growing up before I started playing music. The Beatles were everywhere. They had such great stuff. Then there were The Carpenters, ABBA and things that were on the radio that were really produced. The Bee Gees were always a favorite. I really loved Stevie Wonders stuff. My dad was a country singer and I loved a lot of the songs he performed. Then in my high school years we moved to England. I spent three years in England and graduated from high school over there. I was exposed to The Smiths, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Cure and U2. People forget how freakin’ rad U2 were. Pre-Joshua Tree and stuff they were just this freakin’ rad punkish sort of new wave band that had really great songs.
Catch The Shins, Foxygen and Day Wave in concert at Marymoor Park tomorrow, September 23, 2017. You may still be able to get tickets online here or at the ticket booth located in Marymoor Park. Check out more tour dates for The Shins right here.