Oh Mercy help start the Bleach* arts party ...
OH Mercy frontman Alexander Gow is a man of mystery. Gow doesn’t fancy being defined, understood or taken too seriously.
Lucky for Gow, he’s found a way to blur the lines between fiction and truth by writing from a narrative perspective.
The singer-songwriter says he found freedom on Oh Mercy’s third album,
Deep Heat, by burying his personality behind his music.
‘‘ Deep Heat came about when I realised I wanted to write an album from third person. The track My Man is from the perspective of a woman,’’ Gow says.
‘‘It opened up a whole new vocabulary, which was liberating.’’
Turned off by singing about himself, Gow says he didn’t need to wear a dress to delve his female character’s psyche.
He says it felt pretentious to keep singing about his own life and the opportunity to explore others was too tempting.
‘‘There are only certain topics you can sing about and I had covered them. It was time for a change,’’ he says.
‘‘It makes it easier to hide behind fiction. You can dissociate from the words.’’
The mysterious man’s outlook towards music and storytelling isn’t always poker-faced – Gow came up with the clever titles for Oh Mercy’s debut EP,
In the Nude For Love, and second album, Great Barrier Grief.
‘‘Writing in third person means you can be more playful and have more fun. I do enjoy a good pun and I am professionally cheeky,’’ he says.
‘‘I love to be a smart-arse. It’s something that comes up in my lyrics – my sense of humour is in my words.’’
Oh Mercy started making acousticpop tunes when Gow was still in high school. He says he was eager to make a more ‘‘colourful and bombastic’’ record with album number three to dissociate himself from the person others have made him out to be.
‘‘I don’t want to be a serious songwriter, so I had to throw in a curve ball to open the door wider,’’ he says.
‘‘I don’t want to be pigeon-holed. I don’t think the records define me. ‘‘I don’t want to be defined.’’ Looking ahead five years, Gow says he hopes the lines between truth, third person and fiction will be ambiguous.
‘‘It’s an ideal situation for any songwriter,’’ he says.