IN THE CUTTHROAT world of music, most artists fade away as quickly as their stars had risen.
That story, repeated by countless one-hit-wonders who topped the charts only to disappear from the public consciousness, summarises the story of former boyband No Mercy. The Latin trio that included Marty Cintron and twin brothers Ariel and Gabriel Hernández helped define the 90s with their dance-centric songs made especially distinctive with the use of a Spanish guitar.
Their biggest hit, Where Do You Go, still enjoys radio airplay and conjures up sweet nostalgia of an era long gone, but former lead singer Marty Cintron is staging a comeback as he delves back into the studio to recreate some of the magic that he enjoyed nearly two decades ago.
With the Hernández brothers busy running a successful real estate business in the States, Marty will be going solo this time around and he’s bringing his old-school tunes to Dubai for the inaugural MiX TAPE Rewind concert set for November 16. City Times caught up with the musician for a walk down memory lane.
Your recently released single Shed My Skin feels like a return to form. How much work has gone into your new material?
I have really just started recording new No Mercy music that is basically the same style and formula as the old music, just more modern. I had experimented with other various styles of music in the past but realised that I needed to come back to the same formula that made us successful in the past.
Your past hits have proved timeless. Are you surprised by the continued success of some of your old music?
I have definitely been surprised that the music stills plays on radio. I firmly believe that the combination of guitar mixed with the dance music has added to its timelessness and popularity. This is why I have chosen to continue to write and produce more songs along those guidelines that made us successful in the first place.
How were you discovered?
German record producer Frank Farian discovered me while playing my guitar at a Miami cafe in 1995. He was staying at a hotel directly next door to where I was playing and he had approached me to see if I was interested in doing a project together. Of course I agreed and about one month later I flew to Frankfurt, Germany to record our first single entitled Missing.
So how did the rest of the group come together?
I knew the Hernandez brothers before the No Mercy project had started. When Frank initially approached me, he had asked me if I knew anyone who would be interested in forming a group and that was around the time I introduced Frank Farian to the twins. We are all still very close although the twins are running their own real estate company and have no interest in dancing since the company is doing well.
What has the group been doing in the last decade?
I have a recording studio based in Miami Beach and I’ve been working over the years with various new artists, writing and producing. I’ve also been doing some music for commercials and just recently started travelling around the world again doing shows with the classic hits of No Mercy as well as new material.
Did the ‘boyband’ label ever bother you?
It never really bothered me because I felt that I was still a real musician. I guess the dancing factor helped to classify us in that category but I felt that we were different from the rest of the other boybands at the time.
You’ve expressed your initial dislike for one of your biggest hits, Where Do You Go, when it was first recorded. How do you feel about it today?
I had always thought that Where Do You Go was a little too high in my vocal register to sing! I had many arguments with Frank Farian, our producer, over which musical key the song should be sung in and it turns out that he was totally right. So I learned to live with it at the time and of course I love the song to this day.
After a string of hits, No Mercy gradually fell off the radar. Was this a difficult time for the group or was it welcomed?
We were working so much at the time that we definitely needed a break. We also felt that the music business was changing for the worse with the Internet destroying album sales as well as our record label going out of business. So we all thought that it was time to take a much-needed break.
What made you interested in pursuing a career in music again? What did you miss the most about it?
I never really stopped being involved with music, although I did put the No Mercy project on hold for a while. However, I have been writing and producing more No Mercy music for the fans and I am very excited about it. What I miss most is the interaction with various people from different countries telling me the stories of when they were young and what impact our music had on them.
What do you foresee for the future of No Mercy?
I definitely will be back in the studio working with various DJs to continue to produce new and fresh sounding No Mercy style type music, which means still incorporating the Spanish guitar flavour along with great melodies and lyrics people can relate to.
What can longtime Middle East fans expect from your upcoming performance?
They can expect to hear all the hits and some really nice unplugged performances as well.
What: MiX TAPE Rewind concert featuring 90s favourites Marty from No Mercy, Haddway, Culture Beat, Snap, La Bouche, Go West and Jenny Berggren from Ace of Base
When: Friday, November 16. Concert starts at 8pm; doors will open at 5pm
Where: Emirates Golf Club, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai
Entry: Dhs275 available at www.timeoutdubai.com, PlatinumList, Virgin Megastores as well as select Enoc and Eppco stations