People fit together like puzzle pieces. When they converge, the full picture comes into focus. Merging dis<nct personali<es and inspira<ons, Merci implement seamless sonic synthesis. The Washington, D.C. quintet—Seth Coggeshall [vocals, guitar], Nick Jones [guitar], Colby Witko [vocals, keys], Jus<n Mason [bass], and Jack Dunigan [drums]—funnel dreamy nocturnal pop through the lens of dyed-in-the-wool rock underpinned by live instrumenta<on (Think Lana Del Rey reimagining Foo Fighters’ The Colour and the Shape, and you’re halfway there!). ALer grinding it out around The DMV in various groups since high school, they make their introduc<on on a series of singles and a forthcoming 2021 full-length debut for Rise Records.
“We take disparate influences that shouldn’t go together and smash them together,” Seth states. “There’s a slightly dark beauty to it. It’s a bit on the gloomy side, but it’s also powerful and emo<ve. It’s technical without self-indulgence. It’s a liWle futuris<c, yet it’s not how you’d expect a ‘band’ to sound. It’s ambient and digital, but there are s<ll five guys in there playing music.”
“None of us want to stop playing our instruments,” smiles Nick. “We’re filling this musical tapestry as a unit.”
The core friendship between Seth and Colby dates back to Middle School when Seth moved from SeaWle to Virginia and the two bonded over My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy in gym class. Mee<ng Jack, Nick, and Jus<n along the way, they played in various groups separately and together before finally joining forces as Merci in 2018. During a showcase in Los Angeles, they cap<vated Rise Records with this dis<nct dynamic and landed a deal with the label. Their first single “Foolish Me” illuminates the nuances of this sound. Fusing guitar bliss, soL keys, and lush pop mys<que, the track unfolds with a hypno<c elegance.
“Musically, it’s representa<ve of the emo<onal space it came from,” Seth goes on. “It was inspired by a long-distance rela<onship and specifically about the cyclical repe<<ve loss inherent in that kind of rela<onship. When you reunite, you’re required to relearn each other, and it’s not always a graceful process. That life experience was framing my worldview, and there was a latent emo<onal energy. It spilled out in a bizarre emo<onal catharsis. Musically, I thought of it like Smashing Pumpkins meets Sia. For the chorus, I heard the phrase ‘Foolish Me’ in a commercial or something and grabbed it. All of these weird serendipitous things made the song work.”
Ul<mately, Merci deliver a vision of their own that’s only just begun to unspool.
“We’re presen<ng something that’s personal to us, first and foremost” Seth leaves off. “People are welcome to interpret in whatever way it speaks to them. Whatever it is, we just hope you feel something.”