Two weeks ago DutchMetalManiac’s Henric van Essen reviewed St. Matthieu, remastered & reborn by Mercury Rain here. Now he interviewed Mercury Rain’s bassist Jon Hoare.
Hello, how is life in the UK?
Hi, pretty good actually. As long as you stay away from politics and the weather, it’s OK…
Thanks for allowing us to interrogate you about yourselves and Mercury Rain. When reading your press release it becomes obvious Mercury Rain’s history is a turbulent one. Can you tell us a little about it?
I’m sure that all bands go through the same kinds of issues that we have. Bands are melting pots of egos, differing priorities, personality clashes, creative differences and financial disagreements – and they are the good times! I guess that I’ve always instigated things and done a lot of the organizing, but I do get obsessive and driven. I have mellowed a lot, but back in the day I recognize that I was maybe a bit intense! I just had the desire to get things done. One of the problems at the time was that we were drawing from a small pool of musicians who wanted to play this style of music, so breaking away from people you knew to find and meet new musicians who fitted in was pretty much impossible. You did end up playing with people you already know, and people left and rejoined on a regular basis. I guess for the main part it was always myself, Sonia, Dion and Andy, but the lineup did fluctuate.
Back in 2008 three of the former members met once more with interesting results, how did that come to be?
I guess that once you’ve been in a band, you never lose the enjoyment or interest. A band is never ‘finished’. There is always more you could do and more you want to do. Dion and I had lost contact, and I just got in touch with Rich and said how about we write some songs together? Sonia is great. She doesn’t often instigate things, but she throws her enthusiasm in to things 100% totally professional. We make a good team. Rich is just a music machine! Very easy going, but full of great ideas and music. We worked on and off for a few years, but I had a family, Sonia also now has children, and the years just flew by… We worked on a few things, but then I toured with Power Quest, and Rich started his own band – ‘Control The Storm’ and we drifted apart again.
You have been writing new material in 2008 called Sands Of Time which has never been released so far. Why did you choose to release a compilation of older work, which, I might add, is still very much up-to-date, instead of the new material?
This came about through John Tucker – a music journalist and very good friend. He introduced us to Mike from Bristol Archive Records, and he suggested a re-mastered compilation of our back catalogue. They’ve both been pushing the band to get on and re-release the existing material, whilst writing more.
Knowing there’s new material and, as far as we know, three band members there’s only one obvious question next: Is Mercury Rain a band again?
Yes, I think so! We’ve always been a project band – writing in the studio and then working on live shows. We will never be a band that gigs every Friday and Saturday in local pubs. Right now it feels great to be working with Sonia and Rich again. No egos, just having fun writing and recording. It’s very easy and productive, and I love it. Feels great to be working on new material.
Do you have plans to release Sands Of Time on a later date?
Yes. Sands Of Time – Part I will be released later this year. We are well under way with it, and I would have thought it will be finished in the next couple of months. We are really focused on it and determined to get it done.
Can you shed some light on what the new material sounds like? What, if any, is the influence of the years that have passed since the release of St Matthieu?
It sounds like a natural progression to me, but after 13 years it will be quite a change to some people. We have a re-working of Eldritch Mirror, a Lou Gramm cover, and a totally new song. We’ve still got the choirs and orchestrations, but more solos and a more modern production overall. We write music that we like. If other people like it then it’s great. We write music that we would genuinely sit down and listen to if it had been written by someone else.
From what I read about you, at least Jon likes to go where few have gone rather than going with the flow. Seeing the torrent of music flooding about every genre thinkable, that could prove to be a tough path to follow. What are your thoughts on that?
I like all sorts of genres of music, but we write what we like. The more experimental stuff came after St Matthieu and was never released, but we will be bringing some more variety and progression in to our new material.
What are your plans with Mercury Rain both band- and music-wise?
Keep on writing and recording. We have loads of ideas and half-finished songs in the archive. If it grows from there then we will see how far it takes us. Nothing set in stone at the moment.
Can you tell us a little something about how the creative processes take place within Mercury Rain?
Often, I will start a song idea, and then Rich and I will take it apart and work on it whilst Sonia works on lyrics and initial vocal melodies. We then all work on vocals and melodies together and it really works well.
Any chance on picking up touring again now that St Matthieu… has been re-released?
That seems a little far off right now. Our focus is writing and recording. If it moves on from there then we will go with it. At the moment, we are just really enjoying the creative process.
Thanks for your time, do you have any juicy gossip or anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Not really. We are all a lot more settled and considered now than we ever used to be, so the opportunity for gossip and scandal doesn’t often present itself… It is just great to be back and doing something that we love. Make the most of every day!