In the second of the Live At The Backlot: Up Close And Personal series we’ll meet the creative force behind Perth’s funk/soul favourites, Odette Mercy & Her Soul Atomics.
Odette Mercy and Johnny Nandez met in the mid-2000s when both were part of the Funk Club collective. In the time since they have turned Odette Mercy & Her Soul Atomics into a powerhouse dancefloor-filling outfit. But while the grooves are irresistible, there’s more than meets the eye in terms of the creative dynamic and the deeper sentiments within.
“I’ve put a lot of work out there and it’s easy for people to give me props for doing what we do,” says vocalist, Odette Mercy. “It’s really significant for me to say that this is a thing that we create together in the hope that people recognise and continue to recognise that Jon’s work is very much a part of this.”
“My hope, in this intimate setting, is that people will go away with more of an idea of us as songwriters, rather than just party people,” says Johnny Nandez. “I guess that’s why we said yes to this, or say yes to duo shows, because it’s a chance to showcase the songwriting. And not to showcase it like, ‘we think this is amazing’ but also to get it critiqued. It’s not that we think our songwriting is amazing, we are aiming to be better songwriters.”
Accompanied at full-band shows by a collection of Perth’s finest musicians, Odette Mercy & Her Soul Atomics is a testament to the power of funk, but it’s the heart and soul invested that sees Odette transform from a powerhouse singer to a vulnerable vocalist as the band turns on a dime to mirror those emotions.
“That’s what we’re trying to do,” Nandez explains, “not necessarily pack a dancefloor every time. It’s nice that we can do that, and we’ll obviously keep that going, but my hope would be that people see the depth underneath. So once the groove’s left you and the hook’s gone you think, ‘what was that song actually about? Can I key into it on a personal level?’”
“I think also going back and remembering where we started and how long it’s been, is going to be integral to us making more things happen,” Odette reveals. “This opportunity to talk like this about the songs is one we don’t get all that often, unless it’s the two of us (laughs).
“To be able to do that will definitely create a milestone for us to remember why we’re doing it and have done it for so long, but also to push us to go further.”
Presented by Around The Sound, Odette Mercy and Johnny Nandez’s Live At The Backlot appearance is on Thursday, November 11. J.A. Rogers will perform an opening set.
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