THIRSTY Merc burst onto the scene a decade ago, captivating Aussie listeners with songs including Someday, Someday and the anthemic In The Summertime.
Two albums followed: 2007’s Slideshows and 2010’s Mousetrap Heart which both cracked the top 20 on the ARIA charts. If frontman Rai Thistlethwayte’s work ethic has anything to do with it, fans won’t be waiting long for the band’s next release.
LIVE caught up with Thistlethwayte ahead of the band’s show at The Depot on Beaumont tonight.
For the past two years the singer has been largely US-based, with his most recent stint taking in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Austin’s famous SXSW music festival working as a solo artist, songwriter and even as a guest artist with other acts.
But Thistlethwayte takes the juggle between the different projects – and countries – in his stride.
‘‘There’s great things about Australia and great things about a city like Los Angeles, so I’m trying to take all the best bits and use them as a way to keep the creativity and inspiration flowing,’’ Thistlethwayte said.
That’s what it’s all about for the Thirsty Merc frontman, who consciously makes songwriting a daily fixture, though the rigours of touring and recording can often pose a challenge.
‘‘I’m always writing music, I tend to just write whatever music comes to me and I just try and write a lot of it,’’ he explained. ‘‘I try and stay on it a little bit all the time, but there are times when it becomes very challenging: with intense travel, if you’re in a different place every day, or if you’re obviously recording the fruits of the labour of the songwriting.
‘‘It’s very draining, but very rewarding as well, although it makes it harder after 10 or 11 hours in the studio to draw on a different type of creativity.’’
It’s clear the singer understands both the need for space from the creative process and the nurturing it requires.
‘‘I do think you need to do some healthy maintenance along the way. Like anyone with their bodies or their diet or their lifestyle, there are times when you really need to focus on being good to yourself,’’ he said.
‘‘You don’t want to overdo things in terms of just doing one dynamic because it is a creative outlet.
‘‘You do need to learn to miss things as well, take a bit of a break, I think.’’
Good thing, then, that after more than a decade in the music business, Thistlethwayte’s hunger to get out and play to fans is as strong as ever.
‘‘Songwriting has its own charm, it’s more solitary a lot of the time’’ he said.
‘‘Playing live is the most immediate, fun element of your career. You often do so much writing and recording that you can’t wait to get out there and play it live.
‘‘It’s pretty awesome, it’s really one of the reasons we do it. Not in an ego-stroking sense, but to know that something you’ve been a part of is communicating and people are sharing in that energy, it’s great to see.’’
Tonight’s gig will have the band show off a ‘‘fresh vibe’’, different versions of well-known and loved songs in a city which Thistlethwayte describes as having the ‘‘best audience response’’.
‘‘It’ll be a good chance to focus on the actual nuts and bolts of the songs, hearing the melody and having a few songs in their raw form,’’ he explained.
As for new songs on the horizon? Thistlethwayte says the four-piece has an ‘‘album length of material’’ already recorded, with release set for sometime before the end of the year. But whether they’ll release it as a traditional album is yet to be seen.
‘‘It’s been really exciting rolling with the punches in the industry. There’s never been any hard and fast rules anyway, but the unit of an album is definitely seen in a different way,’’ he said.
‘‘The way we take in information in our lives is different now: it lives in a different place and we draw from it in a different way. It’s kind of the best thing and the most challenging thing about the way the industry is at the moment.’’
Thirsty Merc play at The Depot on Beaumont tonight with support from Matt Purcell. Tickets have now sold out.