Today we chat with Morgan Page the Grammy nominated artist and producer about his new album DC to Light.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Morgan, I have been playing DC to Light in the lead up to this chat as I usually do when preparing for an interview, however with a notable improvement to office productivity which is no doubt a side benefit to great music, my co-workers have mentioned several times for me to turn it up or play it again.
DC to Light” has been described as a more electronic or clubbier style for lack of a better term, compared to “In The Air.” What was the motivation behind heading in this direction with “DC to Light?”
The main idea was to have more road-ready music I could play live, but not take it too far and have an album full of club bangers. It was important to strike a balance. My other albums leaned more towards melancholy – whereas “DC to Light” is more aggressive but also pop-influenced. “DC to Light” means full frequency – so sonically the idea is a record that hits a bit harder but still keeps the priority on timeless songs.
How do you usually approach the process of working on a new album or track?
Typically I build about 60-70 instrumental drafts w/ beats, chord progressions, and leads, and then mute the leads and shop them around to different vocalists to see which ones jump out to them. It’s not a start to finish process – there’s that initial creative phase, the vocal production, and then reworking everything around the vocal. It takes forever, but it seems to work. I don’t just sit down and bang out tracks – it’s a long and laborious process.
With any new creative process, it’s always important to draw fresh inspiration from which to grow. What would you say was your greatest inspiration in the process of creating “DC to Light?”
Pop radio was a big influence, mainly for arrangement and structure. Listening to non-dance music is important, but picking and choosing my favorite songs and experiences from playing festivals and clubs is crucial. It’s important to see what’s resonating and why songs impact people. For me it’s important to cross-pollinate a wide array of influences – it’s called “hiding your brushstrokes” – mix and match your favorite elements and make them your own.
When you have spent a year or two on putting together a project like this, what is it like when you finally finish? A sigh of relief and time to reflect, or onto the release, tour, and next project?
Relief, and always a slight nervous feeling about how it’ll be received. You honestly never know how people will react. You create your best work, you kick the tires, road test things, and you move on.
You are currently out on tour in the U.S and have been road testing the new album with your fans new and old – how has the experience and feedback been so far?
It’s been great to see the live reactions, but it always takes a while for people to digest the music. They need to hear it on the radio, in the cars, in their headphones – not just the club. The framework of what works live in a club is very narrow and people often want familiar songs, but when you’ve got that momentum and people shriek when they hear the music – it’s a great feeling. “Open Heart” and “Running Wild” are doing really well on the road.
Any plans to make another trip down-under this year?
No plans yet, but I’d love to be back – especially after playing NYE at Marquee and doing the final year of Big Day Out.
Speaking of being on tour, what are the things you must have with you while you’re on the road? From simple day-to-day transit to long-haul travel between stops on tour, what can’t you live without?
I usually bring some exercise gear in case Armani calls and wants an underwear model (Calvin I’m looking at you), a Hyperjuice battery for charging, notebooks for ideas and journaling, and I swear by the Bose in-ear and over-ear noise cancelling headsets. I can’t travel without those. If I’m feeling ambitious I’ll work on music, so I’ll bring an Apollo Twin and mini Akai keyboard.
You recently mentioned in an interview that you have moved your home studio over to solar and recorded “DC to Light” without the use of grid-based power. With the growth in the clean energy sector, do you think this is something people can generally start doing in their own studios in order to produce awareness and more substantial change?
I’m connected to the grid, but all the studio’s electrical needs are met by solar power. I’m really excited about the new Tesla Powerwall, as that will allow me to go truly “off the grid” and keep everything safe and online in power outages. It’s way simpler than people imagine.. you call a company, they install it for free, and your power bill goes down. You earn money, even after the monthly lease is paid.
With a national tour, the release of “DC to Light,” and your continued residency at LIGHT in Vegas this year, it is surely a busy time in your world. Any chance you can give us some insight into what is next for you? Anything our readers should keep an eye out for?
Next up is my “Morgan Page Quick Tips” book for musicians and creatives (see http://mpquicktips.com), and probably another 3D tour.