Recently, via Fluence, we came across Love Dust, a blue-eyed soul record off of Mercy, a 5-song EP, created throughout the fall and winter months of 2015 by singer-songwriters Christopher Pellnat and Mercy Weiss. Immediately, it took us on a journey to a haunted place, plagued with great sadness, and reminded us of a jazz ballad found on Nora Jones’ Come Away with Me album. It was delicate, and spoke to the hearts of those who believe: It’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. And Mercy’s mesmerizing vocals, in conjunction with Christopher’s stellar guitar-work, produced, what we feel is an evergreen, plus cryptic sound, intended to guide travellers safely down lover’s lane.
We caught up with Mercy and Christopher, to discuss their Mercy EP, and this is what they had to say.
Examiner: How did the collaboration between Mercy and Chris come about?
Mercy: We heard about each other through SoundCloud and really enjoyed each other’s sounds. So, we started sending each other music. We both understood the vibes we were going for in our songs.
Christopher: Yes, and when I first heard Mercy’s music I was blown away by her voice. It’s so expressive and intimate. Once we began to collaborate, I came to see that as an artist she is more than a great voice. She is also a talented songwriter and an adventurous spirit who seeks out the unique and unexpected in music. And we didn’t start out with the idea of releasing an EP. We worked on a few songs together and liked what we heard, so we kept collaborating.
Examiner: How would you describe your sound?
M: It’s not easy to pinpoint because there are lots of genres being pooled together such as Soul, Jazz, Folk, and perhaps Alternative.
C: I agree. We’re not pinned down by genres, and I like to think we created something unique that doesn’t dishonor deep musical-traditions, while being true to our vision.
Examiner: Years from now, when people talk about your Mercy EP, what will they say?
M: Hopefully as many people will get to hear these songs and enjoy them as much as we do. We hope that there’s a magical or timeless element to our sound that makes people want to hear more.
C: I agree. I think people will talk about Mercy years from now, as a unique, timeless artist whose work really speaks to people.
Examiner: Which artists did you grow up listening to?
C: I’m an omnivorous listener now. I love it all. But growing up, I was into mostly rock: Talking Heads, Ramones, Beatles, and Bob Dylan.
M: A varied mix. I loved Nina Simone to the Pixies.
Examiner: Describe Love Dust.
C: It’s often hard to distinguish love from lust. Love Dust is a song that says it doesn’t matter because it’s the same exhilarating intoxication either way, and we always pursue it even though we suspect it will end badly. Don’t laugh, but I envision “love dust” being sprinkled over unsuspecting people by some kind of entity that is a cross between Cupid and Tinkerbell.
M: Chris wrote this song, and as soon as I heard it, I felt it. I think everyone’s been in that state of thought. Writing love songs can be not so exciting always, and I liked the sarcastic-dark undertone.
Examiner: What’s your most-memorable studio moment, while recording Mercy?
M: Probably when I sent over my acapella vocals to Ice Cream. I had this song written and recorded for some time and I hadn’t been able to find anyone who read it the way I did. This was the first song Chris and I finished together and he nailed it super quickly.
C: Yes, and recording Ice Cream brought a serious “aha!” moment. After hours of working on the mix and hearing the lyrics, it became clear that the power of the song turned on the word “over” because even though Mercy was expressing hope that maybe they could work it out “over” ice cream, she kept on saying, “Over,” in a deeply sad, resigned way, like the relationship was over. When you hear the song now you notice “over” is echoed in the background and the groove comes to an abrupt pause when she says, “Over,” in the lyrics, and that made all the difference.
Examiner: What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
C: Be yourself.
M: Whatever you love to do just keep doing it and it will morph itself.
Examiner: Is there anything else you would like to say?
C: Mercy and I have never laid eyes upon each other. She lives in Brooklyn and I live Upstate, a few-hundred miles away. We collaborate online exclusively. That could change in the future, but our creative process works for us now and we like to think the results speak for themselves. There is a very real intimacy in creating art together that transcends time and place.