Local band on the stand: Mercure

Young Montreal band steps onto the music scene with genre-fusing jams

The Montreal music scene is known to never disappoint and the band Mercure is the perfect example of that.

I have rarely witnessed a group of boys so passionate about the music they create.  Emmanuel Harvey-Langlois, Clément Fournier-Drouin, Vithou Thurber-Promtep, Jérome Bazin, Ismaël Koné and Olivier Couture make up Mercure, a francophone, jazz/rock band that recently released their first EP, Sous Nos Pas.

The band started when the guys were in high school and all good friends.  Harvey-Langlois had the guitar, Thurber-Promtep had the piano, Koné the saxophone, Couture the bass, Bazin the drums and Fournier-Drouin the voice.  Together, they jammed and realized they had something. They started writing in 2012 and playing in small venues that same year.

Music is a big part of their lives; not only is it their passion, but also part of their education.  Most of the members of the group actually study their instruments at CEGEP de Saint-Laurent, and most plan on continuing their musical studies at the university level.

“I’ve played piano since the age of five and quickly took interest in jazz piano. It just gives you a certain freedom when you play and write that a classical training wouldn’t have given me,” said Thurber-Promtep.

The band’s music is hard to put into a specific genre. Their sound is indie-rock, intertwined with a strong jazz presence. The group also plays with computerized and street sounds to give their songs more dimension. It all just works. Due to the musical background of the band, half the pleasure comes from listening to the original musical fusions they create. The saxophone beautifully complements the sound they are trying to achieve and they even squeeze in some trumpet when they can. The musicality is on point and the lyrics are well written.

I got to know the boys through mutual friends in 2013 and have gotten to know their musical preferences. Their inspirations really come through in their songs: Radiohead, Flying Lotus, Harmonium and Snarky Puppy are only a few of the group’s favourites.

The band has experienced a recent boom in popularity with the release of their EP and creation of their Facebook page, where they keep everyone up to date with upcoming shows and performances.

On Sunday, Jan. 25, the band performed at the trendy Verre Bouteille bar on Mont-Royal.  Attracting over 130 people, the vibe in the bar, which was filled to capacity, was great. The place was dark, everyone chatting excitedly. The show opened with the Jeanne Côté band. She sang beautiful nostalgic tunes with her strong and enchanting voice, while her bassist and drummer supported her with insane coolness. Côté and her group’s sound perfectly complemented the main act.

Mercure played all their original songs during the show, which panned out very nicely.  They started off with a slower pace, and really built momentum and confidence by the third song.  “The more I play, the calmer I feel,” said Couture. “I kind of just get over the initial nerves and just groove.”

The best thing about the band, is how much fun they have on stage.  They all have such different personalities that really come through when they perform.  “What I love about performing is the interaction between the audience and us. It’s an incredible feeling to share what we do with friends, friends of friends, and complete strangers. It’s kind of like a dialogue. Their response to what we do is what gives us that rush,” said Harvey-Langlois.

All in all, Mercure is a band to look out for. They work hard, think big, and experiment with sound and musical genre.

Mercure has an upcoming show on March 14 at O Patro Vys. They are currently planning future shows and writing new songs.  Be sure to like their Facebook page, and check out their EP at mercuremusique.bandcamp.com.

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