Oh Mercy

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Oh Mercy

There are few people who willingly look in the mirror, not to take pleasure in vanity, but to analyse their misdoings for further possible growth. Alex Gow of Oh Mercy is one such person who does, and knows the precise moment of when to do it.
The time to do so came when Alex took close to a year off to travel America, work on writing his next album and generally expose himself things he hadn’t seen before.
“I lived in Nashville in this beautiful log cabin which was originally built as a tavern in the late 1800s in Arkansas and was bought to Nashville and rebuilt,” he says.
“It was so beautiful, and I had all my demoing stuff with me so I leased a room to do that and lived with another musician directly across the hall. She’d moved from LA and was coincidentally also making demos for her new album. I also lived with another clever and kooky woman who was running a business out of her home – and you know 50 dogs and 50 cats. It was really cool and I wrote majority of my songs when I was over there.”
The resultant release was Alex’s most personal album to date, When We Talk About Love. A release that followed on from the rather fictional album of Deep Heat and that marked the return to his honest writing style.
“In my day-to-day life I’ve probably been accused of being an over sharer a couple of times, so whatever it is that makes one self conscious about over sharing I don’t have whatever that it – to an extent,” Alex says.
Despite sharing his stories a bit too much – or as some would claim – Alex is actually much more interested in hearing the stories of others – whether they’re told to him directly or gained through other means.
“I would stand there for a good hour looking for photos, and I suppose I was just looking for a picture that told a story,” Alex says of looking through family pictures at a flea market in Portland.
“You’d go through for 20 minutes before you found something that had a romance to it and that’d make you smile. Those are the ones that I bought and it’s just a great thing to do. I could do it all over the world.”
While the main drive is intrigue into another life, a large part stems from Alex’s disinterest in his own story.
“These [pictures] are all real people with stories far more interesting than mine and I’m lucky enough to own a little record of their lives – it’s really beautiful but also really creepy and perverse,” he says.
It’s a self deprecation for Alex that is by no means out of character. It shows it’s head occasionally in his music, as we talk over a freshly brewed tea and in writings to fans but instead of breaking him down, it’s an ever present trait pushing him on.
“In my song writing, and across the board, I kind of fall back on self-deprecation – I find that a really comfortable place to exist. Every now and then you’ll hear in these songs that my tongue is firmly in my cheek – there’s no hero in this music at all,” Alex says.
It’s a strange mixture of elements that allows Alex to create his music, and as he once described Portland as having a weird beauty, the same description can be applied to everything he does. Though with all the questions into his methods, there’s no denying that he gives it his all.
“All I know is that I gave When We Talk About Love everything and I can’t wait for people to hear it,” he says.
Release: When We Talk About Love is out June 19 at all good retailers
When & Where: Howler, Melbourne – August 22
Written by Amanda Sherring