Hey Mercedes’ Damon Atkinson Interview
Hey Mercedes is in the midst of a nice resurgence in popularity, as they prepare to cruise into Orlando for a very special night of Alternative rock on this Friday, August 12th. Learn about their favorite Orlando ritual, who the vinyl nerd in the band is, and when you can expect new music from the guys…
The trio of former Braid members are touring in tribute to their iconic album, Everynight Fire Works, released 15 years ago, and they hit Tampa on Thursday and then a big night in Orlando, which will be one of the most special on the tour. Drummer Damon Atkinson shared his thoughts on that night and a few other fun things.
Here’s my email exchange with the talented drummer:
Cretin: With the re-release of Everynight Fire Works, what is the genesis of the added material? If it is from the original sessions, has it been re-recorded, re-produced, etc…
Damon Atkinson: It’s all from the same recording session. There are 3 original songs that we wrote and two cover songs. The 3 original songs and one of our covers (The Promise) was originally released on our Weekend EP which came out about a year after Everynight Fire Works. The only unreleased song on this re-release is a Guided By Voices cover called “A Salty Salute.” That was recorded in the same session, but was never mixed or mastered, so we called upon our buddy Mark Haines who originally mixed ENFW and had him mix “A Salty Salute” for this. Everything was then re-mastered together.
Cretin: Why the decision to print to vinyl?
Damon Atkinson: Mainly because there was only 1,000 of the original release so it’s been in demand. Plus vinyl has become a popular medium over the last 10 years, so we’d be dumb to not press vinyl. And every record either Hey Mercedes or Braid has done in the last 20 years of all of us being in bands together has been pressed to vinyl.
Cretin: I’m a guy who still has thousands of albums, a jukebox and a ton of 45’s and always loved that cool vinyl vibe, do you prefer listening to vinyl over digital?
Damon Atkinson: I myself am not much of a vinyl guy. Yes I love the way it sounds, but I rarely listen to music at home. It’s more so in the car or on planes so personally, I am more a fan of digital due to the convenience. But Todd our bass player is a huge vinyl nerd. Yes, I just called him a nerd, but in the best way possible. We’re fortunate to have him so into vinyl as he’s the guy who always works with the record label when we’re sorting out which vinyl to press. Which colors, thickness, etc.
Cretin: Will you have the vinyl available on the 12th in Orlando?
Damon Atkinson: We will certainly should have vinyl in Orlando, unless Tampa buys it all from us, but I don’t think that will happen.
Cretin: How has the tour gone so far?
Damon Atkinson: The tour has been great. Fans have been super excited and I honestly feel like we’re playing better than we did 12 years ago. I would’ve expected the opposite, but we’re all having a blast up on stage and I hope and think it shows.
Cretin: How’s the general atmosphere on the road been with you guys all back together and working so closely after a long break?
Damon Atkinson: The atmosphere has been great! We’re all so happy to be out playing music together so it’s definitely a fun atmosphere. Our days stuck in the van driving to the next city are pretty boring and quiet, but the drives back to the hotel after the shows have been really fun. Blasting The Police and everyone singing and air drumming along has been a thing we’ve been doing. Probably super annoying for our tour manager driving, but we’re having fun.
Cretin: It seems there is a lot of buzz surrounding this tour. Are you at all surprised by the positive fan response, considering you haven’t really toured or recorded new music in a decade?
Damon Atkinson: Yeah, it’s been incredible. We generally hang out after we play so we’ve been talking to a lot of people at the end of each show and the response has been overwhelming. People seem to be very happy that we decided to tour again and excited about the re-release. The common question is when are we releasing new music or touring again. I suppose that’s a good thing.
Cretin: Should we expect new music in the next year or so?
Damon Atkinson: Haha! Perfect segue into this questions. No, you should not expect new music from us within the next year or so. We’ve been asked that question a lot and it’s not to say that we would never do it, we just haven’t talked about it. Our plan for this was to just play some shows in celebration of the re-release of our first record which came out 15 years ago. Something we could see us doing for the 15th anniversary of our second full length Loses Control, but we’ve not discussed writing or releasing new music. Time will tell.
Cretin: Anything else you’d like to share with your fans?
Damon Atkinson: Yes, our show at the Social in Orlando on Friday August 12th is the official release date for this re-mastered re-release of Everynight Fire Works, so this will technically be our record release show and everyone should come celebrate with us. Plus it’s been over a decade since we’ve played in Orlando and who knows when we’ll actually be back. Oh and that we’re all really hoping that the vegan hot dog cart will be out after our show. That’s a tradition for us whenever we’ve played the Social.
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