Mersis : bio
MAIN / BIO / LYRICS
Mark Harlor and Tony Truong aren't two people you would expect to make music together, but the two university students probably had that in mind when they decided to give it a try. Harlor has spent years honing his talents as a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and studio engineer; Truong started out as a musician making minimalistic electronic music, often with inspiration from his favourite film composers. The two met and became friends while studying a music course at university together in Sydney. After a couple of years, a mutual interest in each other's musical styles naturally lead to the idea of combining them, and, before long, the project had a name: Mersis. "The name simply came to me out of nowhere during a night up in the mountains - it just so happened that no-one was using it," recalls Truong. "The word has no meaning in any language, so we can define it with our music."
The pair decided to put their strength into just a handful of songs. Harlor explains, "Working together put us in this whole new creative space, but we knew we had to start small and not bite off more than we could chew." A mix of their individual influences, Mersis' debut five-track EP , "Projections", presents a variety of electronic textures tastefully wielded with the pair's singer-songwriter sensibilities to keep things grounded. It's a combination that was harder to perfect than the smooth quality of the songs might suggest, Harlor says. "It was difficult picking sounds and textures that fitted the songs we'd written at first."
The results, however, are tracks which confidently walk the line between natural and synthetic aesthetics. Instant favourite "Rest Of My Days" features thick, heavy bass stabs and an irresistibly catchy chorus with lush vocal harmonies, while closing track "Embers" shows off the duo's heavier side with a doses of aggressive guitar, heavy drums and airy synths while Truong delivers the song's tense lyrics which twist and turn, growing relentlessly darker over the course of four minutes.
Mersis' live show will deliver fresh takes on the songs they've made; the band isn’t content with simply playing the EP note-for-note. "We basically rip apart the songs and reconstruct them in a live environment so they can be played by the two of us," says Truong. "The EP is a snapshot of the songs - outside of that, the music lives and breathes and our live show reflects that." And, in the same way, Mersis is constantly changing and evolving as a studio collaboration as well. "The best thing about collaborating is trying new things together and learning from that. Whether it's in the studio or on-stage, that's what we find exciting."
Photo by Callum Smith.