Loading the player...

Embed:

Song List

Show Review

"All Killer, No Filler."

That's how Have Mercy describes the tracks on their new record, Make The Best Of It, and based on their recent stripped-down performance at the Baeble Office, it's an accurate description. If this acoustic session is your introduction to the rising alternative rockers, let it stand as proof that Have Mercy's music, behind the distortion and high-intensity, are emotionally resonant confessionals that are understandably easy to connect with. Take the first track they played for us, titled "Ghost." It's a powerful song that's not only about being haunted by the memories of a former lover, but an unwillingness to let yourself become detached from them ("Can you haunt these walls/ and be my ghost/ I feel you in these walls, attached to me/ I'll be your host"). Like all of the songs they played for us, it's openly written and beautifully performed.

In between the performances, the band got candid with us about their songwriting process and perfectionism. In fact, they even revealed that they wrote most of the songs on the record acoustically before translating them over to the full band setup. It's no wonder, then, why these tracks sound as gorgeous as they do when they're minimized to just two guitars and one voice. Brian Swindle even admitted that it was a sudden change of pace for them to quiet the songs down to their original states (on the record, "Ghost" was originally going to be just guitar and vocals), saying, "We've been on the road for four weeks, and I've been yelling everything. When we went in today, I was like 'oh no, I don't know how to sing it!'" Well, they clearly were able to make the transition effortlessly, because these songs simply sound fantastic when played acoustically.

There's a lot to like about Have Mercy. They're a talented band that writes great melodies and open, emotional stories to go along with them. All of that shines through in this acoustic session, and it's especially interesting to dive into their songwriting process (plus, there are high fives!)

Transcript

and you say yours.
No, we can't! - Do we say it together at the end? - We can try.
This is Brian and this is Nate, and thanks for tuning in to Baeble Music.
Is that good? - Can you do it in that voice that you just did? - And thanks for tuning in to Baeble Music.
But to tell you the truth I'm not the person you knew
- We are playing at Irving Theater Place.
- Plaza? - Plaza.
- There we go.
- We're playing somewhere named "Irving" tonight.
Yeah, we have really good shows.
Really good shows in New York.
- Super rowdy.
- I want our fans to lose it, like, just scream at the top of their lungs, and like, get in the pit and, you know, feel the vibe of everyone else around them.
- Have a really good time.
That high energy.
- Yeah, we're a real high-energy band.
I wish I could hold you for old times' sake
The dream I always have when I'm awake The memory's grown opaque
Leanin' over the emergency brake
Only hear your voice when I am alone
I pray for clarity But I will take the jump
Can you haunt these halls? Can you be my ghost?
Feel you in these walls Attach to me
I'll be your host
You can leave me The same little notes and
No one'll ever take you away
It's like I'm still beggin' you To stay
I'm still doing all the things You said you hate
When you were here You would've set me straight
Wish we could recreate Every memory we tried to make
But only I hear your voice When I am alone
I pray for clarity
But I would take the jump
Can you haunt these halls? Can you be my ghost?
Feel you in these walls Attach to me I'll be your host
You can leave me The same little notes and
No one'll ever take you away
It's like I'm still beggin' you to stay
To stay
To stay Oh
Oh, oh To stay
To stay To stay
Oh Oh, oh
Can you haunt these halls? Can you be my ghost?
Feel you in these walls Attach to me I'll be your host
You can leave me The same little notes and
No one'll ever take you away
It's like I'm still beggin' you To stay
- First one we played was "Ghost.
" When we first wrote that song, it was just going to stay without any other instruments, it was just going to be guitar and vocals, so that one translates well to acoustic.
And it's one of my favorite songs on the record, if not my favorite.
- Oh, yeah, for sure.
- We've been playing on the road for four weeks and I've been yelling everything, and when we went in today, I was like, "Oh no, I don't know how to sing it.
" So, like, I don't know, it kind of, like, sombers... I don't know, quiets all the songs down.
It's weird.
- We wrote a lot of it acoustically.
Like, that song "Disagree" specifically, I remember writing in.
So, like, I feel like the fact that we, a lot of the times, write them acoustic and then bring them to, like, full band, I feel like they translate pretty easily to acoustic, just because they were written that way.
- Yeah.
That was good.
We're smokin' cigarettes In the back of your house
I watch the liquor spill And drip from your mouth
You said you're holdin' on To old memories
Keep you from movin' on To all of your dreams
But it wasn't the best And it wasn't the worst
When I feel you again I wanna know if it hurts
'Cause to tell you the truth
I'm not the person you knew
It wasn't the best And it wasn't the worst
When I feel you again I wanna know if it hurts
'Cause to tell you the truth I'm not the person you knew
Cut 'em off Cut 'em off
Take pieces of me
Cast away Ricochet To where you want them to be
And when you feel complete
Give 'em back to me
It wasn't the best And it wasn't the worst When I feel you again I wanna know if it hurts
'Cause to tell you the truth I'm not the person you knew
It wasn't the best And it wasn't the worst
When I feel you again I wanna know if it hurts
'Cause to tell you the truth I'm not the person you knew
Anymore
And I am sure And then I took you by the wrist
Told you we can't coexist
Friendly banter
Tonight's a blur
Are you good? How you been?
Do it time and time again
It wasn't the best And it wasn't the worst
When I feel you again I wanna know if it hurts
'Cause to tell you the truth I'm not the person you knew
I'm not the person you knew
It wasn't the best And it wasn't the worst
When I feel you again I wanna know if it hurts
'Cause to tell you the truth I'm not the person you knew
It wasn't the worst
- April 21st, we put out "Make the Best of It" on Hopeless Records.
We took the title "Make the Best of It" from a lyric of a song that actually didn't make the record, but it kind of, like, summed up the entire recording process, everything that was going on in my life personally.
To be loved And feel hated still
Don't give up
- The writing process, like, we had so much time that, like, we scrapped probably nine songs and like... what is on the record was, like, tweaked and tweaked and tweaked until we thought it was, like, absolutely perfect.
So, like, we didn't settle.
There's no tracks that I thought we, like, settled on, like… - Yeah, no.
- Yeah, we… - No filler.
- All killer? - Yeah, all killer, no filler.
I always catch you lookin' at me
Like there's somewhere else That you'd rather be
So take your records and your memories All your favorite things
And leave
You're givin' me the shakes That you used to
When we were drunk I got your name in a bad tattoo
Hopin' one day I find some money
Get this god-awful thing Removed
But you always thought
You always thought That you were better than me
And you always thought
You always thought that you were better than me
And if I'm wrong And this is where you belong
I will gladly stand and disagree
And you always thought
You always thought That you were better than me
Remember you felt the passion
I always had an attraction to this
Now you find happiness in ignorance And bottles and fists
But I wish
You still had gave me The shakes that you used to
And I got some pictures
We were messed up We had nothing to do
But take your records and your memories I'm through with you
And you always thought
You always thought That you were better than me
And you always thought
You always thought That you were better than me
And if I'm wrong And this is where you belong
I will gladly stand and disagree
And you always thought
You always thought That you were better than me
And I wanna dance till I clear the room
And fuel the emptiness without you
I wanna sing along To your favorite songs
And be happy that you're gone
And you always thought
You always thought That you were better than me
You always thought
You always thought That you were better than me
You always thought
You always thought That you were better than me
And if I am wrong And this is where you belong
I will gladly stand and disagree
But you always thought
You always thought That you were better than me
'Cause it wasn't the best And it wasn't the worst
When I feel you again I wanna...
- Hey, this is Brian.
- This is Nate.
- And thanks for tuning in to Baeble Music.
What? Dude, one time.
- That was great! Up top.
- Up top.
And it wasn't the worst…

Artist Bio

Too often bands are concerned with creating the perfect album rather than the right one. HAVE MERCY have tried the former in the past, but on MAKE THE BEST OF IT, due out TK on Hopeless Records, they succeeded in the latter.

We were trying out a bunch of different styles of music, and looking back, it just didnt sound right, explains frontman Brian Swindle of the Baltimore-based emo/ indie-rock bands last album, A Place Of Our Own. The 2014 album was their first for Hopeless, bringing with it plenty of expectations and pressure to deliver what the singer calls the best record ever after Have Mercy built name in the underground with their debut, 2013s The Earth Pushed Back.

During the writing and recording of Make The Best Of Ita seven-month affair with producers Paul Leavitt (All Time Low) and Brian McTernan (Thrice)Swindle made sure to internalize the essence of Have Mercy and let that guide the songwriting. In fact, this self-reflection led to something unprecedented for the singer: scrapping an entire albums worth of songs and rewriting the whole thing from scratch in the studio.

There were so many different genre styles I had included, and I realized it wasnt going to be a cohesive record, he says of the albums first pass. When we were writing a song and realized we were forcing the writing process, we knew we had to start over.

In the end this patience was rewarded. Make The Best Of It is all at once raw and composed, lyrically heavy but brimming with indelible melodies. It balances soaring ballads like Baby Grand and Ghost and riff-heavy, full-throated Smoke and Lace and Begging For Bones with ease, placing Have Mercy somewhere between the emo scene they came up in and wider rock landscape thats teeming with opportunities.

During the recording process, each song came under intense scrutiny, with individual partsor entire songsrewritten if they didnt live up to the standards the band and producers had set. To them, good enough was anything but. It was a different sort of perfection than Have Mercy strived for in the past; this time, organic growth was favored over laborious creation.

To add to that false start, the period surrounding the album was also one filled with profound change, both personal and professional. For starters, the entire band around Swindle changed, with the frontman now the only original member of Have Mercy. There was also upheaval at home, leaving the frontman scrambling to find and renovate an apartment after being kicked out of the house he was living in. It was in this place that the albums title became a mantra, needed perspective amidst otherwise uncertainty.

One thing thats not uncertain is that Make The Best Of It, with all its confidence and cohesion, has set Have Mercy up for big things in the futurenot that it really matters to the band, though. Everyone who worked on the album poured every ounce of themselves into this, Swindle says. Even if nobody likes this record, we dont give a shit.

SHARE ON FACEBOOK

Editorial

About this Video

  • Duration:
  • 13:04
  • Views:
  • 27,405
Have Mercy

© 2017 Baeble Media. All rights reserved.