Get 2 Know Mercston

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In the days of Channel U, Freeze and Rinse FM, four stand alone artists all withholding a buzz had been independently releasing music; in the early 2000’s. After crossing paths and discovering musical kinship they conjoined to become the collective we know as The Movement. With all four members dispersing over the years and going back to their solo pursuits, musician Mercston continued with his rhythmic notion, self releasing with tracks such as Flexin and Style Pon Dem, which took place on the tracklist for UK flick, The Intent 2: The Come Up Soundtrack.

Rae: You introduced yourself to the scene in 2005 and was an active member of The Movement, one of the biggest collectives in the early 2000’s alongside the likes of Roll Deep. How do you feel the UK sound has evolved in comparison to when you first began your venture in music?

Mercston: I feel that now the state of music in the UK is great, we’re on the up… It’s evolved massively and for me it’s good because everyone that’s played a part from, before the people that are around now and are fresh, I feel like even though they may not want to say it, they’ve been able to draw inspiration from the artists that had their time before them. It’s a cycle and it always goes like that, everyone gets their shine and we’ve all been able to take a little something from other people.

Rae: When you came out, the only means of hearing new music was to lock into pirate radio stations and watch Channel U. With streaming services and social media readily available how much easier, or harder, have you found it to ensure that your music’s been heard amongst the pool of music that is out there?

Mercston: Most definitely it’s easier now with all the social media outlets available, because when we were around we had Myspace, pirate radio, I think them times 1Xtra had just started playing us a little bit… Logan was massive at the time, he was doing his thing and had a show on Rinse, he was the first person from our scene to have a show on Kiss FM as well which ended up in a lot of our music getting played on legal radio. We never had Youtube and when it came it wasn’t as powerful as it is now, all we had was Channel U and radio, we never had Insta or Twitter so it’s much easier to release music today 100%. It’s good though because it’s almost like you don’t have to wait for anyone to really do anything for you, you just promote yourself and if people are into you then you have your own platform to be able to do your own thing. I think that’s why a lot of people aren’t signed these days…

Rae: You’ve recently dropped your new single, No Banter, with Wretch 32 and mentioned that you’ve had to trim down and cut out a lot of the ideas you had for the track. Initially starting off with just your verse, what was the creative process behind your latest release?

Mercston: The first verse you hear on that song that I laid, it wasn’t even really concepty it was just vibey. I was hitting them with a vibe but then when I hit up Wretch he heard the song and was like “Yo, let me do a yard ting on this!” In 2017, I had a song called Tropicana and I sang on that with a yard vibe all the way through, we ended up bringing back that feel to it and just having banter with it all. He came to the studio and put the track on and kept freestyling, at first we didn’t know what part was gonna be the chorus or the intro. We started placing all our parts around, originally I called him for a hook then naturally it felt right that he did a verse, my second verse was a lot longer but we had to cut it down. I feel like we lost a lot of good parts but as Wretch would say we kept the gold, but we simplified the track for the audience to get it. There were parts that maybe musicians would have appreciated a lot but the consumer may have felt like it was a bit much and not been sure about it, especially with some of the patois… It would have been a bit much for some listeners to understand. Me and Wretch don’t really record that many tracks on our own, this is our third song in all these years, just me and him. If it’s The Movement it’s gonna be The Movement, and usually if there’s other artists it’s gonna be me and Ghetts, or me and Scorch. As we’re getting into my debut album I didn’t wanna shoot a regular video at all, it had to be a moment, because people weren’t gonna expect the style that we were doing but it needed to be a moment visually as well. I have to give my manager all the props because he got everything in order and found the place in the French Alps, and made sure everything that what we planned went to plan and that’s why it’s working.

Rae: With your new album expected to drop in the next few months, what flavours can we expect to hear from you, and will we be seeing any collaborations?

Mercston: I’ve always been someone that’s on trying different stuff even if it means not everything fits, I’ve never been genre specific I’ll just try whatever I think is sick. Every release that I’ve had, probably since I’d say 2016, if anyone’s taken the time to listen to the songs that I’ve dropped with the visuals, those styles are all included on the album. I feel like the level where I’m at now is levels above what I was releasing before. But just so they know what to expect, you’re gonna get a fusion of all of those sounds. There’s definitely unexpected collabs but I’m gonna have to just keep it like that.