mercury’s Maddie Kerr: “I needed a space to be vulnerable and truthful with myself and what I was experiencing.”

It’s a big day for mercury, the Tennessee-based indie rock project of Maddie Kerr.  This morning they released short film “Together We Are One, You And I” – a...

It’s a big day for mercury, the Tennessee-based indie rock project of Maddie Kerr.  This morning they released short film “Together We Are One, You And I” – a collaboration with producer Alex Farrar (Indigo De Souza, Snail Mail, Waxahatchee, Squirrel Flower, Wednesday, Plains…) and filmmaker Harrison Shook – and tonight they kick off about a week and a half of dates supporting Dreamer Boy.  While the tour was supposed to play The Foundry tomorrow, it just got cancelled.  But read what Maddie Kerr had to tell me earlier this week about mercury’s latest project.

Izzy Cihak: I just watched “Together We Are One, You And I,” which I totally love.  How did this project come about?

Maddie Kerr: I wrote these songs [“Born in Early May,” “Special,” and “Crick”] during a very difficult period of my life, trying to understand my own habits and those of people around me.  Harrison and I got together and brainstormed to the moon about all of the possibilities for a storytelling visual.  We wanted to get across a feeling more than a linear narrative.  I hope that people can listen, watch, and give their own meaning to this project.  I want it to be a space for people to be able to put their own stories into the art.

Izzy: And how was it working with each of them, respectively?  I’m definitely familiar with Farrar and his work (Squirrel Flower, Indigo De Souza, and Snail Mail are some of my favorite people in music), but I had to look up Shook.  I was super impressed by their work, as well.

Maddie: Working with them both was a dream.  Harrison is one of my best friends in the whole world and I look up to him so much.  He has one of the most creative brains I’ve ever witnessed and it’s always an honor to work with him.  He amazes me every time!!  Working with Alex was truly so special.  He is such a huge inspiration to my music and has made so many incredible records.  Creatively, I felt so seen and understood in ways I hadn’t before.  It was such a beautiful experience to share music that was so close to my heart, and for him to be able to elevate it so perfectly.

Izzy: How do you think these three songs compare to “Woolgathering” and “Trying,” which you released last year, whether related to sound, themes, or just the process of writing and recording them?

Maddie: The themes of the new music are definitely diving deeper into the world that “Trying” and “Woolgathering” began to scratch the surface of.  They are all about specific and intense emotions I really needed to understand.  Each song was a quick and cathartic process, sitting down and the words and music all spilling out at the same time and I instantly had a vision for how I wanted them to sound.  As I experience and learn more in life, I always have more thoughts I need to get out into my music.  That’s exactly what happened here.  I needed a space to be vulnerable and truthful with myself and what I was experiencing.

Izzy: Since this project is quite new, I’m curious what have been some of the personal highlights of mercury so far?

Maddie: I have gotten to experience so many amazing things.  Getting to record with incredibly talented artists and musicians, traveling, meeting so many amazing people, playing live, hearing how people connect with the songs; it’s all so special and I don’t take any of it for granted.  I am constantly learning and gaining new experiences and I love it all so much!!!

Izzy: Is there anything you think is especially important for fans and potential fans to know about mercury?

Maddie: My main goal is just to be able to create a shared experience for people to come together in.  I love creating and I love getting the opportunity to share my heart in this way.  It is a unifying feeling when multiple people can connect over a shared feeling/lyric/theme.  Sharing my music has made me feel less alone in how I feel, and I have found a lot of comfort in that.

Izzy: You’re about to hit the road supporting Dreamer Boy.  What can be expected of mercury’s live show?

Maddie: Lots of big noisy music and singing and screaming together!!!  Catharsis : )

Izzy: Are you excited to be on the road with Dreamer Boy?  Were you previously fans or friends of his?

Maddie: I am so excited.  We have followed each other on social media for a while but have never met before!  His music is so incredible.  I can’t wait to see the show every night and take a weight off and dance and sing together.

Izzy: Finally, what’s next for you?  How are you hoping and planning to spend the second half of 2024?

Maddie: Writing and recording a bunch of new music 🙂  Hopefully playing a lot of live music too!!

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.