Courage My Love have been on our radar for quite some time since they signed with InVogue Records over a year ago. At that point we were knocked off our feet by their awesome video for Kerosene, and we weren’t the only ones. It’s good to know we aren’t the only people with impeccable music taste 🙂
We speak to Mercedes Arn-Horn at the start of their European Tour.
Awesome to see you on tour again, how did the first night go and did everything go according to plan?
M: Thank you! We’re SO excited to be here in Europe finally. It’s been a long time coming. The first night was really fun, sloppy, sweaty, and exciting! The fans delivered with their amazing energy and support. I always love playing shows where the audience knows all the lyrics. It’s an amazing rush. Can’t wait to do this every night!
Are there any songs that you are adamant should always be on the setlist, and are there any songs that are personal favourites when playing live?
M: Since this is our first ever EU tour, and a headliner at that, we really wanted to put a little of everything in the set. We’ve got some oldies, some new songs that haven’t even been released yet, and everything in between. It feels really good to get to play bits of our body of work. The nostalgia is real for all of us! We also switched up a lot of arrangements to make the show exciting and unpredictable. If I had to pick my favourites to play live currently, I’d have to go with Kerosene and Barricade.
Kerosene was a fantastic smash hit of a song, how did you react to its success, and how do you build on that?
M: Thank you!! Kerosene was kind of a first for us, because we had never really had a song on rotation at radio stations before that. The music video is my favourite of all of the ones we’ve done so far! And the lyrics are ones that I think we all relate to on a really personal level. Kerosene sort of gives our fans a glimpse of what they can expect on the new album, but also has a mix of old school CML too. It’s always cool to have a song that can work on a rock level and a pop level. It works full band and acoustically. I just think it’s a really solid song with solid melodies all around.
How would you say you’ve changed /developed musically since you first formed Courage My Love?
M: I definitely think our songwriting has refined a lot since we first started. We used to just write whatever we felt like at the time and not pay as much attention to lyrics and melody as we do now. I’ve learned to really appreciate the little things in music, and all the pieces that fit together. We’ve all learned that sometimes less is more. And I think we’ve learned how to harness our dynamics and emotions in a way that comes across. The new music is definitely going in a more alternative direction. Really excited for everyone to hear it!
You’ve all had to work tremendously hard to get to where you at now, but do you feel that TV shows like X Factor etc perhaps give a false impression of the hard work required?
M: Everyone is on their own journey. Even the people on X Factor had to grind and perfect their skills to get where they are! To the outside world success can sometimes look like it just happens overnight, but I can tell you that almost NEVER happens. If you’re lucky enough to have a song that suddenly blows up, odds are you’ve written hundreds of songs before that that haven’t hit the mark. But the only way to ensure that you will never be successful is to not try… You never know the day that you will write the song that changes your career and life forever. So just keep doing it!
Are there any musicians who’s work ethic you particularly admire?
M: I’m personally a huge fan of Radiohead. They’ve had an amazing career that spans years and years, as well as albums that have stood the test of time. They’re all getting older, but still writing and putting out music that pushes boundaries. I’m also gonna hop on the bandwagon and appreciate Beyoncé for that exact same reason. She is constantly reimagining her sound and brand, never releasing an album the same as the last one. And I think it takes a lot of bravery and confidence for a mainstream pop artist to be as outside the box as she is.
We spoke recently with a band called Heel who’ve written a song criticising some labels and management who over-rule bands when it comes to image and sound etc, have you seen that happening to bands too? Or is it becoming less of an issue?
M: I think that unfortunately that is sometimes the nature of the beast. Labels are making less and less money these days, so they are going to be really specific about which artists they invest in, and make sure those artists have the potential to make back the money they’ve invested. But I think labels that are smart and ahead of the curve will put their faith in artists that are doing things that no one else is doing! It’s always better to be a trendsetter than a band that’s constantly trying to follow a trend that’s just going to fade anyway. For your art to truly be art, you need to put yourself into it and not worry about the business aspect of things. Be unique.
Gear question! Being something of an Ibanez fan, spotted you have them, could you tell us about the gear you use, and why as opposed to say playing Jackson or something?
M: I’m an Ibanez fan too! For years I’ve played an S series prestige and loved it. I’m also starting to really appreciate Telecasters and Strats these days too. Something about the neck pickup tone gives me goosebumps.
And finally, what have you got planned for the band after this tour? (asides from a bit of a rest!).
M: We’ve been putting the final touches on our album for over a year now, so we’re all definitely looking forward to releasing new music when we get back. You can expect new tunes in the fall, and hopefully more international shows!
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