'Feeding The Darkness Within'
Classically trained at a young age, Morgan has been influenced by many genres of music over her lifespan. One could describe Morgan’s music as an orchestra and a maudlin virus keyboard making love to an ingénue in the back of an 80s-style opera house. Her songs are a fusion of her classical background (piano, cello and opera) and the dark wave/industrial music she luxuriates in.
Learning piano at age 4 through the Suzuki method (all ear training and very little theory study) Morgan grew up playing the gamut of recitals including performing with an orchestra in Peru for a music festival at age 12. Being moved by its sound as an adult, Morgan decided two years ago to commence learning the cello (She studied with Ana Lenchantin, currently touring with the Eels). As she grew musically, she toyed with the possibility of mixing the classical genre with rock, leading to an endless potential for forward thinking music.
Formerly known as Morgan Grace, Morgan recorded an EP with the production team known as the Wizardz of Oz (Liz Phair) and has now brought forth her debut CD, '... And The Moon Was Hungry ...'
Chatting recently with Morgan, and mentioning that it had been stated in her press that with this album she have created an 'Orchestra on Acid,' I first wondered if that was truly what she had set out to do?! "I know that “orchestra on acid” sounds a bit strange and extreme, but simply enough, I set out to stay true to my classical roots while pushing the boundaries of what dramatic orchestral arrangements (WITHOUT the use of guitars and bass) can do for pop music. I’ve never really played the guitar as I identified much more with violin and particularly cello, having taken it up about two years ago. I find that classical music tends to be inaccessible to people in today’s modern age. Even though I am definitely not by definition a classical artist, I still feel that I can at least expose a larger audience to classical instrumentation."
And just where does one find such a working musical entity to garner the thought from in the first place?! "I love drama. I love cinema, torch singers, the idea of spies, assassins, stage actors, troubadours, the green fairy, circus people, you name it! I only use the expression as it references the two distinct parts of my music: a traditional classical feel and a desire to evoke strong reaction from listeners, good or bad."
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying the new CD, how would you yourself describe your sound? "In a one-line pitch, I suppose it would go something like this… If Trent Reznor, Kate bush and Allison Goldfrapp had a lovechild, I would probably be it! To explain a little, vocally I am influenced by Kate Bush and Cecilia Bartoli, while musically I have a secret love affair with Shostakovich, Trent Reznor and Amanda Palmer. The vocals are definitely operatic, but I am heavily influenced by indie and darkwave as well as circus theater music and cabaret."
Your album title '... And The Moon was Hungry ...' is an interesting choice, but perhaps it originates from a more personal standpoint for you? "The moon has a plethora of meanings in lore and history, religion and cultures. For me it represents the unconscious. My id is in constant need, constant hunger. This CD represents that feeling: ravenous and searching."
Does it have anything to do with the old Meat Loaf song that has that very same lyric imbedded within it also?! "I’ve never really listened to Meat Loaf I have to admit… Good to know…!"
If there was one track on this new album that truly encapsulated Morgan at her musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? "My two favorite tracks are 'Nice Day (For A Murder)' as well as 'Kiss In The Chemicals.' Lyrically both are abstract and biting respectively. While writing them I really wanted to see if on one hand, I could be angry while being graceful, and on another, be desperate while joyous! I know that sounds odd, but that’s what this music is about, dichotomy. Musically I really got to let the cello and violin sing, something I am trying to do more and more in what I write."
Also, having formerly gone by the name Morgan Grace, why is it now that you only go by just Morgan? "Grace is actually my middle name, but I found that my first name on its own was better suited to the music."
Noting your musical passion is for both classical and industrial, I'm wondering what '80s pop song you would love to cover in your own style if asked ... and why?! "It may not be pop, but 'Headhunters' by the industrial band Front 242 would be gorgeous with strings! Or ANY Depeche Mode song really."
It's also been noted that you learnt piano through the Suzuki method. Please explain this technique more to those of us uninitiated "The Suzuki Method is very focused on ear training as opposed to theory. In other words, while studying classical piano I listened to tapes to learn my pieces instead of reading and learning music from a score. This was great for a while as it developed my ear, but ultimately made it difficult for me to explain myself to other musicians and also stunted my writing."
Just how did you get the chance to be featured on the 'Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire' international movie trailers!? "I got lucky! The producer of the trailer happened to have been given my EP by a mutual friend and called me in for an audition as they were prepping for the recording. I got a call the next day and was told that I needn’t audition, I was hired!"
When will we be able to buy your very first book of poetry ... and in what style has it been written? "This book has been in the works for a while. My poetic education is rather limited so everything I’ve written is quite free form. I’d say my biggest influence is definitely Saul Williams; I’ve learned a tremendous amount from his writings. However the main reason this is taking a while to release is that I ultimately want a particular Brazilian artist I have admired for ages to illustrate each poem. The moment he’s on board, I will most likely start looking for a publisher."
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "Only when they’re drinking martinis fireside!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Morgan's brand new CD, just answer this easy question: Morgan recently embarked on a jaunt/tour through the American countryside in late fall of 2005 to support Veruca Salt in their touring efforts. With the addition of Paul Wiancko on cello, Wesley Precourt on violin, Dan Rosa on piano/harpsichord and Randy Cooke on drums, Morgan has found a brilliant team with which she performs live and heaps luscious little oddities upon her audiences with. Please tell me who Paul Wiancko is better known as playing with?
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new and AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before May 31st with your answer and the subject title 'MORGAN SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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