photo credit: Minea Bisset
- Daniel Gill at Force Field PR
Listening to Nate Mercereau’s music feels like staring down a kaleidoscope. The songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist surveys the fractured borders between sounds, and celebrates the beautiful moments where they collide. And when he’s not making his own music, he’s looking at the world of pop through his prismatic perspective—he’s produced or played on records by Jay-Z, Shawn Mendes, Lizzo, and The Weeknd, just to name a few. Moreover, Mercereau has learned that no matter what sounds he’s working with he needs to lean in close, to focus on the details. “When you keep zooming in on something, it keeps getting more detailed,” says the Los Angeles-based artist. “It’s like there’s worlds within that world.” His new album, SUNDAYS, embodies that as he dives headlong into a mystical, rich vein of sonic worlds, each song more intricate and intimate than the last.
SUNDAYS developed out of what Mercereau calls “spontaneous composition”—weekly delves into his psyche via live-streamed performance. The sets were built in fluid collaboration with a series of percussive improvisations dreamt up by Carlos Niño, a forward-thinking producer, instrumentalist, and staple of L.A.’s experimental scene. Due to its open beginnings, SUNDAYS is both free of form and packed with complexity —at any given moment it can feel airy, dusty, serene, or fiercely passionate. The ten tracks don’t seem like traditionally structured songs. They’re human, emotional, and alive. “Everything I’m doing is about getting breath out of my body,” Mercereau says. “It really feels elemental.”
SUNDAYS began less as an album and more as a space to process the world. Over the course of 2020, Mercereau began a weekly Sunday livestream series. “That day of the week is particularly charged for me for many reasons,” he says. “It’s the end of a week, and the beginning of something else, and there’s just always something that happens that day emotionally if I can tune into it.” Niño would send a long-form improvisation before the set, then Mercereau would play and create along with it in real-time, creating a palpable sense of live interaction. As Mercereau explains, “There were so many moments where it felt like borderline psychic communication happening between us, even though we made many of our parts at different times.” The weekly sessions lasted from April to December. By the end, Mercereau knew he had an album on his hands, and began whittling it into a cohesive shape.
To expand the sound, he brought Jamire Williams (drums, Jeff Parker band) and Josh Johnson (alto sax, Chicago Underground Quartet, Leon Bridges) over to Lucy’s Meat Market in L.A. to improvise with his edits. “They were able to get immediately inside and spoke the exact language we were creating,” Mercereau says. What came together was a snapshot of the artist in the moment, a place in time and self. “I’m constantly getting closer to what is meaningful to me, and that’s also constantly changing,” he says. “It’s this broad thing that’s getting more specific, but in that specificity, there’s so much endless detail.”
While Mercereau continues to grow the expanse of what he can do, the real excitement comes from where he might go next. “Instead of trying on what’s already out there, I feel like I’m trying on things that don’t exist,” he says. In that way, SUNDAYS is a springboard to other worlds.
How So Records is a partnership with Ricky Reed’s Nice Life Recording Company, a venture Mercereau describes as “a record label for seekers. We are presenting music that is looking for something new, out of its audience and out of its creators. We are bound not by genre, only radical creativity. High level music for high level listening.”
(Nice Life / How So)
Release Date: Sept. 24, 2021
(click here to pre-order)
1. Shared Reality
2. Start With You
3. Every Moment Is The First And Last
4. Absolute Sensitivity
5. Immersed In The Going
6. I’ve Got What I Need
7. Truly Loving It
8. It’s Happening Again
9. …I’ve Always Been Here
10. Access Point