A Q&A with Morganway
Cal and SJ from Americana sextet…
What’s the title of Morganway’s latest release, and what does it mean to you?
Cal: I love when titles leave room for interpretation, and I think Back To Zero does that. Taken at face value I suppose it could be seen as a negative, because it’s like you go from something to having nothing. But that in itself reminds me of that famous Dylan line, “when you ain’t got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose”. By reading the negative, there’s also a positive. Opportunity and freedom. Back To Zero means resetting, and by resetting, you’re going somewhere new. This body of work feels like that to us.
What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
SJ: We recorded the album in different bursts throughout the pandemic when we couldn’t gig. It was a really strange time for everyone but felt great to get into the studio and be creative when we could. It took a long time to come together as it was recorded in-between lockdowns, but we got there – eventually!
What do enjoy most about producing your own material?
SJ: I think when we create a song all together as a band we have a particular sound that we then want to find in the studio, which is us live together. We’ve realised over the years that recording our music live all together in the room is best for us. We like to have that creative control when recording.
Cal: We’re still evolving as a band, we’re still learning, but the more we trust in each other and collectively let go, the more we get out of our music and the more we get to the heart of what Morganway is or even could be. That’s essential when producing our music, and by removing any barriers and rules, the more we all enjoy it.
What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
Cal: Really, I believe it’s all about the song. It doesn’t matter what song on the record it might be, but if something in that song speaks to the listener, I hope it helps them in ways that other songs have helped me. Beyond that, and this may sound a bit obvious, but I hope they get a sense of who we are as a band, too.
How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
SJ: One or two of us usually come to the band with either a full song or something half written. Then all together we work on structure and vibe and see what comes out. We all trust each other to be ourselves and we aren’t afraid to try out new ideas, which I love about being in a band.
What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
SJ: We all have quite different and varied influences in the band. For me I was brought up on the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Queen and Bon Jovi, so it’s all about harmonies and big singing! Our keyboardist Brockle is a DJ so he is basically a musical encyclopaedia! I feel like we aren’t really any genre because we all have different tastes so we never create music to be a specific sound we just go with what we like and press record!
Cal: Songs have always interested me far more than genre ever has. I remember falling in love with ‘Solsbury Hill’ before I fell in love with the sound of Peter Gabriel’s music, and ‘Forgot About Dre’ before my brother and I listened to Dr Dre and Eminem in depth. As SJ’s said, the influences are different and varied, and we continue to go in whatever musical direction the song leads us.
What countries would Morganway like to tour? Are there any standout venues you’d like to play in?
SJ: America! That is the dream. And Europe, we’ve done a few shows in Europe but not a proper tour yet. My stand out venue would be the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
Cal: Our friend and promoter Ray often says he’ll see us at Madison Square Garden. That would be pretty epic for sure, although any excuse to play somewhere in New York – what a city!
If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
SJ: It depends what kind of vibe they like – rock, folk, upbeat, mellow? We like to dip our music in all the pies so I guess they need to click shuffle and see what they like!
Cal: I agree with SJ but if I had to pick one song from the new record? Probably ‘The Man‘.
What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
SJ: Tour, tour, tour, write, write, write, record, record, record. And repeat! As long as we all enjoy it and love doing what we do, I wouldn’t want to do anything else. It’s a special thing being in a band and performing music to people. I’m so grateful to get to do it for a job!
Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
Cal: Ed (drums) and I often quote the line from the movie Airplane! “I just want to tell you… good luck. We’re all counting on you.”
For more info visit: morganway.co.uk