by: Kate Myers
We recently caught up with Brian Swindle, vocalist/guitarist for Have Mercy, at the Nashville show to talk about Have Mercy's new album Make the Best of It (Hopeless Records). Then we got to catch the badass show with Nothing,Nowhere, Broadside, Tiny Moving Parts, and Real Friends. Check out our exclusive interview, along with photos from the show!
So, tell me your name and your role in the band without saying what you do musically.
My name is Brian and I am the singer in the band.. Have Mercy?
So instead of saying what instrument you play, what’s your role in the band? What would you say is your function in the band? Are you the glue socially, or the peacekeeper? etc.
Oh! No, I’m just the dude writing the music. That’s about all I do. Everybody else pretty much keeps everything together.
So you guys have been on a very long road of writing, and touring...
And I was just talking to some fans outside that came here to see you specifically…
I think what they, and a lot of readers, want to know is what happened in the three years between your last album, A Place Of Our Own, and your most recent release, Make The Best Of It? Was there anything that happened that maybe changed the music or inspired it?
I don’t know… I feel like it was just… All the new music feels more grown up and I feel like I did a lot of growing up in the past year, and a lot of changes happened within the band, so we kind of molded the sound for the new record.
So what is the touring dynamic like, being one of 5 bands on this tour?
Yeah, it’s a lot of people, all the time, and very long shows, but there’s always someone to hang out with, so that’s cool.
Definitely. So being signed to Hopeless - what is that experience like for you guys now being signed to a pretty big independent label?
I don’t know. I feel like we get a lot of opportunities because we’re on Hopeless. And they have money, which is great, so we can afford to spend a lot of time in studios and on the road and be kind of taken care of.
So growing up in Baltimore, what was the soundscape / music scene like when you were first forming the band or beginning to write music for the first time?
Baltimore had like a really hardcore music scene, but we had bands like The Dangerous Summer and All Time Low come out of Baltimore, so that kind of molded us to play this genre. I didn’t go to a lot of shows in Baltimore growing up, but I kind of listened to everything.
Would you say that everyone has kind of similar tastes when it comes to what they listen to on their own time?
Everybody’s kind of all over the place. I like a lot of R&B and hip hop, and there are a few guys who like country… it’s all over.
So for you personally, what are 3 songs you wish you could’ve written that aren’t in your genre?
Oooh… that is so tough… "Nice & Slow" by Usher, Great song. "This Is How We Do It" by Montell Jordan. What’s a third one?… (calls over to Tour Manager) What’s another song I really like, Josh? Oh yeah, that HAIM song… that new one... "Want You Back" by HAIM. That song is awesome.
Is that your favorite new song?
Yeah, that’s my favorite song right now, hands down.
So what are the band’s goals for 2017?
To keep touring, stay on the road. We have a lot of stuff planned. A lot of intimate things for fans. It’s gonna be a long year, but hopefully we can just keep pushing this record.
What’s the touring strategy for you guys? Do you have any secrets/tips/tricks?
Never get aggravated. And if you feel yourself getting mad, just take a few minutes to calm down. Cause it’s so stressful on the road, and a lot of people can’t handle it, so it’s good to just mellow out sometimes.
So are there any places you guys have to stop on tour, even if it’s a bit out of the way? Any special spots in the US?
Not really… We like going to random dive bars in small towns, but that’s about it. That and like Karaoke bars and stuff like that.
Any one that stands out in particular or was super memorable?
We went to this bar called Shenanigans a few nights ago, and we definitely looked like we didn’t belong there. It was like this country bar, but it was sick and we sang Karaoke all night. It was awesome.
So who’s the best karaoke singer?
I’m great. Our TM, Josh, is pretty good too.
So now that it’s released, how do you feel about the new album and how fans are receiving it?
It’s positive for me. I think it’s one of the best records I’ve written and the fans like it a lot. I keep seeing people singing the words to songs that I didn’t think they would know yet, so it’s going over well, very well.
So of the time you guys have been a band, have you noticed your demographic change at all?
No, not really. We have a lot of older fans, but then also a lot of really young fans. We’ve been a band for 6 years now, and we’ve seen those younger fans grow up which is nice.
So as far a gear goes, what do you geek out about?
I have this one that’s been on my board for probably 5 years and it’s called a “Red Thread” and it’s just the meanest distortion you’ll ever hear. It’s my favorite. I’ll never get rid of it.
So as for this tour, when you guys are done, what’s the next step?
Well, we have the entire year planned. We have a fall tour planned, I’ve got something cool going on this summer, and then, hopefully, we get back to Europe.
I’m guessing you like Europe then?
I LOVE Europe! It’s the coolest experience, every time. I’ve only been over once, but that’s the most fun I’ve ever had, so I’m trying to get back there.
What do you think made it so unique & cool for you?
I feel like a lot of people save up their entire lives to take a trip to the UK and Europe, and we kind of got to go for free and see everything and experience things that my parents, my grandparents haven’t even seen. It was really cool.
What do your parents think about music and touring?
I don’t think they liked it when I first started but now they see that we play in front of good crowds and I make money doing it now, so I think they’re fine with it. I think that fear is gone.
Do you have any advice for kids that want to start a band or be in the music industry that might be dealing with skeptical parents?
Hustle. The hustle is the only thing you need to worry about. And Networking, you never know who’s gonna be in any given room that might be able to progress your career in any certain way. I just try to talk to everyone at shows and if I’m in a room filled with industry people, I just try to talk to everyone. Be Nice. That’s all you’ve gotta worry about.
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