Thirsty Merc

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Thirsty Merc

Thirsty Merc’s Rai Thistlethwayte is the man responsible for penning songs that are part of the soundtrack to so many of our lives. ‘In the Summertime’ has become the quintessential Aussie beach anthem, while ‘Someday Someday’ opens with lines that are heartbreaking, yet impossible to forget. His ability to convey emotion and capture a moment through lyrics is a rare talent, envied by many aspiring song writers – and the 11 tracks on their fourth studio album Shifting Gears (out now) is no exception. “It’s very humbling when I hear that these songs are still connecting with people,” Thistlethwayte says with a smile.
The first single ‘The Good Life’ is already a staple on Australian radio and an example of Thistlethwayte’s natural talent. “I attribute a lot of my love for song writing to my father. He and my mum met at university when they were both studying languages – they fell in love over Latin!” he laughs.
“My dad went on to become a language teacher and taught French, German, Indonesian and Japanese – his interest sparked something in me. I’ve always been aware of how powerful language can be, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t find song writing to be challenging at times. It’s a juggling act to get the right mix of rhyme and phrasing – but if you can get it right, combined with the right music, you’ve got the DNA of what a song is.”
Shifting Gears
was truly a labour of love and made possible by the overwhelming success of a crowdfunding campaign with PledgeMusic. “We were blown away by the support – it’s been so encouraging and really added another layer of excitement to everything.”
Despite song writing sessions in Los Angeles and Sydney, and studio time in New York City, Melbourne is the place where Shifting Gears came to life. “It was a conscious decision to go back to Melbourne and record this album with our good friend and world-class producer Lindsay Gravina in Prahran. We’ve worked with him in the past and Shifting Gears is a return to our roots, a return to the old Thirsty Merc – that’s the biggest reason for going back to Lindsay’s studio.
“That and the fact that Melbourne is definitely one of the best music cities in my opinion – actually it’s one of the best music cities in the world,” Thistlethwayte adds. “It’s one of the great creative hubs of Australia and we had a ball being back – it was so much fun.”
Thirsty Merc kicked off The Good Life national tour earlier this week and will traverse across Victoria before heading around the country playing an impressive 40 + dates. “It’s so much fun to hang out with your best friends after you’ve put all that hard work in. We can’t wait to travel and take Shifting Gears to audiences everywhere, because playing live is the real payoff.
“Being at a gig is like becoming part of a community. There’s always a party-like atmosphere and excitement in the air. Then when the lights go down and the music starts, everything else melts away. You forget about your worries in everyday life – it’s just you the artist and the music. For me, it opens an access point to communicate on a deep and emotional level. There’s nothing better.”
Written by Natalie Rogers
When & Where: Memo Music Hall, Saint Kilda – September 16, Karova Lounge, Ballarat – September 20, The Loft, Warrnambool – September 22, The Barwon Club, Geelong – September 23