Mercury Rust

Mercury Rust is a budding newcomer from Sweden that plays hard rock music influenced by the legendary maestro Ritchie Blackmore. The band’s debut is superb and it’s a matter of time till they are “discovered” by the masses. Grande Rock, as we love discovering new up-n-coming bands & artists, had a chat with the guitarist & songwriter Tomas Nystrom about the band, their influences and their next steps among other things.
Mercury Rust band pic

Hi Tomas, it’s nice to have you on Grande Rock. Do give us a brief bio of Mercury Rust. When and how did you form the band in the first place?
 
T: Mercury Rust was formed in 2015. Pierre Stam (the bass player) and I had been playing together in other bands and music projects for several years and had met all the other guys before. It was quite easy to get the band started. We asked them if they wanted to join and they did.
 
 
Which was the driving force that made you wanna form a band? Was it hard to find the right persons that fancied the same kind of music or not?
 
T: The driving force was to record this album. They all liked the demo songs and wanted to play this kind of music.
 
 
And how did you come up with the band’s name?
 
T: Band names are always hard to come up with. I’ve had the word Mercury with me for quite a while and thought maybe I could use it for a band name. Mercury don’t rust so why not Mercury Rust. Mercury Rust sounds like a hard rock band name.
 
 
It’s obvious that you, as a guitarist, are much influenced by the legendary Ritchie Blackmore and that your band’s music is also influenced by the Blackmore’s Rainbow. Which are your other music influences and what is that crucial music secret that makes Ritchie one of the top rock songwriters of all time?
 
T: I listen to and get inspired by quite a lot of music in different styles. But for Mercury Rust I think Deep Purple (both with and without Blackmore), Cornerstone (the Danish band with Doogie White on vocals, great band!), Star One and Brazen Abbot are among the ones that have influenced me the most. I think Blackmore as a songwriter has several important qualities but the biggest one is the riffing. He has written a lot of immortal riffs.
 
 
I bet that you also own a Stratocaster, right?
 
T: That’s correct. I actually own three, haha. Two Fender Stratocaster HRR 60s reissue Made in Japan and one “Partscaster” made from parts from Japan. “Mercury Rust” was recorded with the Stratocasters as well as a Gibson SG.
 
 
What kind of sound did you have in mind when you started writing tracks for Mercury Rust?
 
T: The album sounds very true to the vision I had when I wrote the songs. Even though the above-mentioned bands influenced the songs we wanted the album to have a more up-to-date and modern sound.
 
 
When and where did the recordings take place? Who mixed, mastered & produced the album?
 
T: We recorded the drums in July 2015 and then guitar, bass, keys and vocals in the autumn of 2015. All recordings were made in different studios. Mixing and mastering was made in the beginning of 2016. Erik Berglund mixed, mastered and produced. He is a really great guy!
 
 
Do tell us a couple of things about each track…
 
T: “Silent Storm”: I really like how the part before the last chorus turned out.
“Fuel the Fire”: The fastest track of the album and probably the catchiest one.
“Behind the Gates”: The lyrics are about dictatorship and I think it fits the atmosphere of the track really well.
“Black Blood”: Really great organ playing from Joakhim on this one.
“Hiraeth”: Like “Behind the Gates” I think the lyrics fits the atmosphere in “Hiraeth” really well.
“Overload”: This was the first track written for the album. I came up with the main riff about 15 years ago.
“End of Time”: Daniel’s groove in this one is absolutely great.
 
 
Another strong point on your music, apart from the vocals and the keys, is your fantastic solos. I guess it’s hard to listen to such kind of solos in bands nowadays. Why’s that? Do you think that the solos are an essential part of your tracks?
 
T: Thanks for the kind words about the solos. I actually don’t have a good answer to your question about solos in bands nowadays. I do think though that a lot of guitar players tend to just play fast solos. Fast is good sometimes but not all the time. I enjoy listening to songs with good guitar and/or keyboard solos and I hope my solos contribute to the songs.
 
 
Did you search out for any music labels to release the album or you just decided to put it out on your own for the very first time? Do you plan to release the album on CD or vinyl at some point?
 
T: We decided to release the album digitally ourselves to present the band and album and hopefully draw some attention to us. The future plan is to get the album released on CD and vinyl by a record label.
 
 
Do you think it’s easier for a newcomer band to release an album on its own nowadays? Are you happy with that decision now and which are the pros & cons of releasing your album independently?
 
T: Well, this is the first release I’m involved in so I cannot compare to the good old days. We are happy with the decision so far. The pros are that you are in total control and the cons are that you have to do everything from artwork to marketing by yourself.
 
 
Have you planned any live shows as yet? I think it would be great if you could open for Rainbow at some point, what do you think?
 
T: We have no planned live shows yet. Opening for Rainbow would be strange but obviously an honor. In some way it would probably be a good audience for Mercury Rust but at the same time… I don’t know, some people would probably think we’re just a pastiche and a rip off.
 
 
How would you describe your band’s music style to someone that has never heard of your before?
 
T: Classic hard rock (with powerful vocals, riffing guitar, heavy Hammond and driving rhythm section).
 
 
Which are your expectations from your debut album and what do you wish to achieve with Mercury Rust over the next years?
 
T: The expectations, or rather hopes, are to get a good fan base and a record label that we can cooperate with on the next release.
 
 
It’s time for our “weird questions”!!! If you could “erase” one thing from modern music, what would it be?
 
T: I would erase weird interview questions! And the volatile nature of “hit music”. What’s wrong with songs longer than 3 minutes? (i.n.: Are “weird questions” part of modern music?!! Hehehe!)
 
 
Which are the best 3 hard rock albums according to you?
 
T: Deep Purple – “Machine Head”, Magnum – “Wings of Heaven” and AC/DC – “Back in Black”…
 
 
Top 3 sci-fi movies of any era?
 
T: Star Wars – “Episode 4 – A new Hope”, “Stargate” & “Arrival”…
 
 
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
 
T: “Operation Mindcrime”. It is a fantastic concept that fits the music brilliantly.
 
 
Fill in the phrase… “Hard Rock music wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
 
T: Deep Purple. They are all exceptional musicians and that is something I really appreciate in a good hard rock band. They pushed the hard rock scene forward as musicians. Black Sabbath on the other hand pushed the heaviness and the dark atmosphere forward, which probably was more important for the heavy metal scene.
 
 
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
 
T: “Into the Electric Castle” by Ayreon.
 
 
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
 
T: I would travel to next Friday and take the results for the Eurojackpot lottery back with me.
 
 
If you could be any historical person, which one would you be and why?
 
T: I would be Leo Fender. It would be really fantastic to see and hear great guitar players use my invention, the Stratocaster, to create and perform music.
 
 
Which is the most underrated musician of all time?
 
T: Phil Rudd.
 
 
Where would you like to live… in Middle Earth, in the Seven Kingdoms or in a post-apocalyptic world like the one on “The Walking Dead”?
 
T: A post-apocalyptic world.
 
 
Imagine that your girlfriend/wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react? J
 
T: Haha, would not happen since I have all my albums on my hard drive.
 
 
Thx for taking the time to do this interview Tomas. Wish you the best for Mercury Rust for the future. Thx for the music too… take care!
 
T: Thanks for your interest in Mercury Rust. Rock on!

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