InFlowences: The Merks

After featuring them as the Set 4 Score in our Summer Solstice episode, we figured we’d chat with Connecticut band The Merks to discuss some of the artists and songs that influenced them throughout their music career.  Nick Claps and Conor Philips dive into what drives their band’s sound while chatting about a few of the artists as well.  The range on this is incredible! From garage rock to pop, to vocal jazz, The Merks pull from all walks of music.

FMF #TrackArtistAlbumYear
1"Speed Living"The GrowlersCity Club2016

Conor Philips: The Growlers write incredibly catchy songs that reflect vibes of groovy disco in their album “City Club” and use really unique synths and guitar effects doing really catchy melodies. Their live shows are long and fun and heavily influenced how we like to perform live.

2"Lost In Your Light [Ft. Miguel]"Dua LipaDua Lipa2016

Conor Philips: “I love her strong voice and the natural rasp that pops into her voice sometimes has a really nice feel to it. It makes it sound effortless and like she is very genuine and not trying to pretend anything and just singing naturally. I try to take that same idea and apply it to my vocals.”

3"Over Now"Post Malonebeerbongs & Bentleys2018

Conor Philips: “I have been very obsessed with Post Malone lately. I started with his recent release, Beerbongs & Bentleys and then was so in love with it that I backtracked and bought his first album, “stony.” I think that Post is amazing because he takes modern pop and hip-hop and fuses it together with beautiful melodies but very in your face and modern lyrics. I hope that our band can find that same balance between different genres so that we can play something we love and something that others can love just as much. I think as a musician you are usually a little farther ahead on your musical journey than a person who is just a consumer of music rather than a producer. This kind of creates a communication break down between an artists intentions of growth and evolution and the consumer’s expectations. I think if The Merks ever want widespread recognition we need to take it on as our responsibility and bridge that gap so that people will be interested enough to listen and then we can more easily take them along on our journey through different aspects of music and hopefully just keep getting better.”

4"ALieNNatioN"The VoidzVirtue2018

Conor Philips: The Voidz’ recent album Virtue is a great influence. The Voidz songs are all so dynamic layered with unique melodies with guitars and synths each having such a great thought out tone.

5"TMSN"Tipling RockTMSN2018
6"Kathleen"Catfish & The BottlemenThe Balcony2014

Nick Clap: “Catfish and The Bottlemen are powerful and have a classic fun alternative rock that reminds me of childhood. I love how their music is so accessible, with fun happy/catchy melodies.”

7"Five To One"The DoorsWaiting For The Sun1968

Conor Philips: “Jim Morrison started my obsession with lyrics when I was about 13. I read a biography about his life and his love for literature and then got heavily into the doors. he helped me learn how to dream up a scenario in my head and then use it to write lyrics that would hopefully bring the listener on an emotional journey through a song. Also, I loved the power in his voice and I feel like he was awesome at harnessing the power of his voices imperfections to make the art seem more real like a random poet had started a band and was singing his songs to the best of his ability. His lifestyle of excess was also very interesting to me in how he pushed everything to its limit from drugs to just daily activities in general. I personally don’t find fun in drugs necessarily but I do take that excessiveness and focus it in other areas of my life whether it is working late into the night to finish a song or getting very deeply involved in learning about new topics or working out.”

8"80's Comedown Machine"The StrokesComedown Machine2013

Conor Philips: “The Strokes or basically their frontman and main songwriter, Julian Casablancas has been a massive inspiration. Where Jim helped to show the way in the form of lyrics, Julian is a great mentor to follow if you want to write a perfectly crafted song. The strokes songs have no extraneous parts and every single part is tastefully added to complete the product. I love the way they interweave guitars harmonically and melodically and it sounds like a tight whirlwind of sound rather than a jumbled mess. That is something huge that we work hard to try and incorporate into our music but I don’t think we have fully achieved that yet. I personally find the most vocal inspiration from Julian because he writes his vocals in a way that serves the song rather than showing off how well he can sing. I also got more into falsetto and head-voice singing after he began doing it on comedown machine and in his later work with The Voidz.”

9"Star Treatment"Arctic MonkeysTranquility Base Hotel + Casino2018
10"In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning"Frank SinatraIn The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning1955

Conor Philips: “For me, Frank Sinatra really had two amazing talents. He could sing beautifully written melodies with perfect pitch but he could also assume the character of the subject in the song that he was singing. If he sang a song about being a young person excited for the experiences to come he would assume that character and then the next song he could be this downtrodden and abandoned middle-aged human that was looking for true love after a life of heartbreak. That chameleon-like quality is so important for an artist because without it you cant fully integrate yourself into the work of art and if you aren’t fully involved then your audience won’t be fully focused or affected by the message you are trying to send.”


We at Feel Me Flow want to thank Nick, Conor and The Merks for taking the time to chat with us about their InFlowences.  The Merks released The Mercenary EP in April of 2018 and are playing at Arlene’s Grocery on July 28th!

Check out our Discogs_logo.svgList for all of the releases featured!
Visit The Merks’ facebook

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Author: Nick FMF

Music Blogger. FMF is a playlist curated specifically to chosen themes. Think Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour meets Little Steven's Underground Garage.