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AAA Music | 23 April 2024

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AAA Music Approved: Rai Kah Mercury

| On 15, Jun 2019

Who are you and where are you from? 

We are Rai Kah Mercury, a four piece rock band from Staffordshire in England. Our members are between 18 – 20 years old. Tomi (Tomas Crean) is our frontman, playing guitar and singing, who also writes the music. Reece (Schaefer) is our bass player, Josh (Lowe) our drummer, and Nathan (De Giorgi) adds keys. Three of us starting playing together at Junior school, we had a band we called Toxic Crocodiles. We played a few gigs at school events and parties when we were 11 or 12 years old, we had caught the bug and Tomi and Reece carried it on into High School where we would jam hard in the music room. Tomi met Josh away from school, and he was brought in as drummer and Rai Kah Mercury was born as a three piece. Recently Nathan, who was part of that old kid band, started to add some keys for us in the studio and has now joined the performing band bringing us up to a four piece.

What inspired you to get into music?

That’s a tough one, Tomi is the driving force and undoubtedly had the strongest blues rock influences and was taken out to gigs with his Dad from around 9 years old, seeing bands like The Cult close up. Reece’s Dad plays bluesy guitar too. Josh had played drums in his church band, and when he started jamming with his his rock n roll animal came out. Nathan is an all rounder, and studies music at Oxford University, he has recorded some solo electronic music, and has performed in musical theatre. There are probably some bands that unite us more than most, such as Free, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, The Black Keys, Radiohead, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Rival Sons, but we all draw on diverse influences otherwise and our music has the benefit of cutting across rock genres and having wide appeal.

What have you done?

We started out with Open Mics in the summer of 2017, which resulted in our first booked support slot in the November. By December 2018 we sold out our first headline show at the 120 cap Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham. Along the way we’ve played on bills with some great upcoming bands, and most memorably supported Britpop legends Space at The Garage in London which was the moment when we felt worthy of being there.

Our music is available on all the usual online platforms and we are especially pleased that Terror Incognita has amassed nearly 35,000 streams to date. We know it’s not earth shattering in the scheme of the universe but it gives us encouragement that there are people out there listening and like the music even if they don’t know us or have not seen us live yet. Our second single I Fell In Love With A Feeling is starting to move and has garnered some radio play and some interesting feedback such as ‘hang me from the ceiling by my ankles and spank me with a paddle’ from one DJ which is the reaction we didn’t even realise we wanted (!). We are most proud of all of the great music we have in the pipeline yet to be recorded and released

What are you like live? 

We have not toured yet as such, and so far our gigging experience has been mostly support slots but we are moving up the pecking order on our local Midlands indie scene. It’s been clear on almost every performance that we bring something a little different to the line up, we usually get a great reaction and lots of compliments after a show, but we don’t want to stay as the great warm up act for too much longer and we definitely come into our own with a longer set. We’re not showy so rely on the power of the music, which can be hard and grungy, yet melodic and soulful. We have played with some good names, Space we mentioned earlier, also lots of solid emerging names such as Vök, Himalayas, Bloxx, Ivory Wave, Rascalton, Valeras, Sugar Thief, and Vundabar.

What makes you different? 

We don’t have a stylised look, we just present as ourselves. Tomi has often been told he is mesmerising, especially when he plays solos, and Josh is energetic on drums so he draws attention visually. We think fans like that we are hard to pin down, it’s a double edged sword not conforming to one specific sub genre and targeting a fan base, so we hope to have a wider appeal which will resonate with all rock n roll fans of any persuasion.

Physical vs Downloading vs Streaming…How do you listen to music?

For sure Spotify is how we consume most music on a day to day basis, it fits in with our lifestyle and these days it’s easy to listen anywhere, anytime, and we all listen extensively to anything and everything. We don’t have any hang ups about streaming, it’s here to stay and we use it for exposure; without it, given our status and fitting in gigging around university schedules, it means our music is still being heard, whereas without it things would be even harder.

It’s quite surprising when we play a gig and people start rocking out and singing along to Terror Incognita, and that can only be because of Spotify.
We feel it’s also important to be on as many platforms as possible as people have their own preferences and for musical fidelity Bandcamp and Noisetrade are great services and have been good for us, as has ReverbNation which has some great marketing functions.

Having said that, we are all vinyl fans and very much in favour of the idea of albums, artwork, etc, and we would love one day to get an album out on vinyl using the artwork of Charlotte Evans who has produced beautiful pieces for our two singles so far.

What have you been listening to?

We are all big fans of Rival Sons and their new album Feral Roots is incredible, Arctic Monkeys last album showed how to keep developing and stay fresh, we love Cage The Elephant, The Temperance Movement, and also the prolific hit and miss psychedelic output of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, they don’t over think things, they just put stuff out there as it comes, it’s a different approach yet works for them.

We like the hard nosed, punky aggression of Shame, and Idles, and not ashamed to say we’ve loved a bit of Jack Savoretti since he was a singer songwriter on the club circuit and who is now getting the media attention he deserves; he’s worked hard for it, great songs, great voice. Tomi is also a huge fan of Jason Molina’s body of work and the influence shows through in some of our lower fi output. Keep an ear out for Ivory Wave, and Valeras, two emerging bands we’ve played with who we feel can break through into the national consciousness soon.

What are your aspirations for the future?

From this autumn we hope to step up gigging again, and will be looking to break out from our Birmingham base as we are all now located in different cities so will seek to take advantage of that. We have another single recorded, and will release in the summer; we’re very excited for people to hear it. Then we will look to get in the studio to get some more music down and released later in the year. At the moment we will stick to individual single releases rather than EP or album, that will come in good time.

Hopefully by 2020 we can start looking at some festivals. We would say that we’re not in a rush, we are unsigned and independent, and know we have terrific music waiting in the wings, so we’ll hone our craft and hopefully surprise people with the quality and diversity of our music as we progress, and leave people wanting more at our live shows.

Questions answered by: Rai Kah Mercury…