Music is at a crossroads. Genres clash, new sounds abound, and a sonic fuse is the wave of today’s future. What you thought you knew isn’t what is, and what once was is just no longer applicable. At the forefront of this re-genesis is Riot !n Paris; an urban elixir of rock-infused angst.
Compromised of life-long Brooklynites Mercy & Pete, the transcending, genre-bending gang of rock/rap kids has taken underground New York City by storm. Beginning via a mutual admiration, and a musical appreciation, Mercy’s humble Brownsville roots created a quiet storm; while Pete’s education through Westinghouse (the Brooklyn high school once parried by Jay-Z and Biggie), created one of the few rock-heads from Bed-Stuy.
“Pete and I listen to a lot of different genres, but we both appreciate each other,” says Mercy, the soft-spoken, iron-tongued hip-hop half of the duo. “Our music is a clash of underground/commercial, black/white, up/down…like two extremes, meeting in the middle somewhere.”
It would be NYC’s underground scene, filled with grimy nightspots, smoky rooms, and shiesty promoters, that initially brought the dueling personalities together. “I auditioned for a show at the Grove, in Greenwich Village, and the promoter suggested I rock with a live band,” recalls Pete. “I’d already been sorta rock-themed, so it was a no-brainer.” This mutual affiliation (Mercy was in a short-lived group with the promoter’s brother) led to a simple sharing of the stage, which would, eventually, lead to the birth of Riot !n Paris.
Citing far-ranging yet complementing influences as the Cold War Kids, My Chemical Romance, Jay-Z, Nas, Wu Tang, Incubus, OutKast, and Avenge Sevenfold, the group’s sound is a somewhat familiar, though nothing-you’ve-ever-heard before clash of magnetic auditory expulsions. Loud, brash, and heartwarming, this almost-sinful combination makes for one helluva stage show – and they haven’t looked back since.
With a proverbial jetpack now in their back, the duo began a relentless pursuit of underground fame, becoming late-night legends at NYC clubs such as Crash Mansion, Arlene’s grocery, Sputnik, the Bowery Ballroom, and Don Hill’s. The rocker’s right of passage of touring and the rapper’s hometown pride combined to form a live show of unparalleled energy, a frenetic pace, and, well – near-riotous proportions. Their conflciting styles – Pete’s over-the-top antics recall a young Mick Jagger and rock’n’roll of old, while Mercy’s manic verses bring back G Rap in his prime – act as a perfect complement to their camaraderie. “We have a lot of pride in our live show – we want to be remembered by our performance,” boasts Mercy.
2010 saw the long-anticipated release of their Weekend at Kenny’s EP, a nod to their ruthless work ethic and unlikely pairing. Momentum doesn’t wait for preparation, and their creativity led to the “Attack of the 5-Foot Hipster” music video, currently sitting at over 100,000 views on Vevo. The world’s first ‘choose-your-own-adventure’, user-interactive music video, it was selected by MtvU as one of the top 5 video by new artists for the year. It was also posted on the personal blogs of Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, respectively.
The mayhem continues, as their recent tour of Canada and collaboration with a clothing company Pancakes And Skateboards marked the beginning of a new path, they’ve begun work on their next Album, Sample Sale. On the brink of success, they undoubtedly understand their ability, and are ready and willing to ascend to the stardom already destined for them. “The toughest part is knowing that you have something you wanna share with the world. It’s like having a secret, and you just wanna tell somebody…we’re sitting on dynamite.”
And with that…
Viva la R!ot!!