February 2010 - MORNE
Two years ago, Jeff Hayward (former guitarist/vocalist of Grief, Slugpuncher, Disrupt) told me that he had joined a new band named MORNE. Since I'm a big fan of his previous bands, I was interested immediately. These days people visit the Myspace site to get a first impression of the music and that is exactly what I did. While there I noticed that MORNE has been formed by Milosz Gassan, an ex-member of Filth of Mankind, but I was quickly distracted from all the infos, because the songs were so gripping and absolutely worth listening to. Not surprisingly, MORNE's heavy sound is inspired by Amebix and UK's Sacrilege, but bears the hallmark of an experienced musician who has been around for years.
Whilst most crust bands sound the same to me, MORNE know how to extract the hopeless, apocalyptic essence of the early metal-influenced hardcore punk bands and use that as the main foundation for their own powerful heavy-weight sound. Last year the band was on tour in Germany for the first time and they left a great impression. From a personal point of view, it was one of the best shows I've seen in 2009. Almost simultaneously, Feral Ward released the band's excellent debut album 'Untold Wait', which for me was a real highlight in times of musical stagnation. Before the European tour, there were changes in the lineup and drummer Erik Larson (ex-Avail, ex-Alabama Thunderpussy) joined MORNE. The band also added a permanent keyboard player named Ian Shultz whose efforts complete the band's live sound. So, I decided to send over a couple of questions to the band that have been answered by guitarist/vocalist Milosz and bassplayer Max Furst.
Hey guys, you've just returned from a month long European tour. I was fortunate enough to see and meet you in Mülheim. It was a great show, and I'm not the only who was impressed from your live sound. How did the rest of the tour go? How do you evaluate MORNE's trip through Europe?
Milosz: I toured Europe with my old bands (F.O.M., Money Drug) It was always fun, we were much younger, wilder and also less organized. Before booking this tour with Timo we wanted to make sure that we will have a good equipment and all that stuff to make our life sound as good as possible... Overall the tour went well... much better then I was expecting, I met a lot of old friends and made a bunch of new ones. Good times.
Max: This was my first time touring Europe, but in my opinion I would say the tour was an overall success. The response was much stronger than we expected. We are realistic, we know we are still a relatively new band, but I feel we were warmly welcomed in Europe. We met lots of great people, made new friends, promoted the new album and had a great time doing it all. Can't wait to come back.
I was really surprised to see that Erik Larson has joined the band for the tour. How did it happen that he replaced your drummer Kevin Adams, and what was the reason for Kevin's abscence?
Milosz: We had few disagreements with Kevin about how and where we wanted to go with MORNE... It was going on for a while... in May of 2009 he left the band. We knew that the tour is coming and we needed a drummer. I decided to ask Erik, he is my long time friend and he was the first person I called, he said yes and the rest is history...
Before we talk about your new album 'Untold Wait', please tell me something about the beginning of the band. When was the idea given birth and when did you met one another?
Max: MORNE did not come into a concrete existence until 2008, but the concept had been developing for years prior to this. Milosz had many of these songs ever since he had left F.O.M., and the songs were performed with many different lineups over the years. He had been trying to get this band off the ground for a long time until in 2007 when he eventually crossed paths with Kevin. I joined the band some months later in the summer. We rehearsed like crazy, drilled and fine tuned the songs, and in November went to a cheaper studio in Western Massachusetts to record the demo. After the initial base tracks, Milosz and I continued to work on the demo over the course of 4 months, writing the lyrics and keyboard parts. When it was finally "complete", the band was lacking the necessary presence of a second guitar player, so we could not play live. In May of 2008 Milosz and I attended a concert where Noosebomb played, and as a total shot in the dark asked Jeff to play guitar with us. We gave him the demo, he showed up to rehearsal the next week and the band you know today was created.
Milosz: Yeah... it took a while to create what we have now, I tried to play with a lot of different people almost since I moved here. I had pretty much all the songs written before we all started to play together...
What does MORNE mean? How did you come to make this the name of your band?
Max: We chose MORNE for a few reasons, namely because "morne" is also a french word of similar meaning to the English "mourn". It just fit the band.
The visiual aesthetic of your releases, as well as the lyrical writing merge to create a dark, sinister package. The somber ambience is further tied together when one listens to your music. How did all theses ideas come together?
Milosz: I always wanted our music and lyrics to be one solid thing, one works perfectly with the other. When I write lyrics I want them to fit the mood of the riffs and other way around. Everytime we trying to come up with an artwork we know that it has to close the circle, it has to be like a little machine, all the gears have to work with each other. I think over all it's a pretty simple thing.
Max: I guess the "image" spawned off the music itself. We have always known when something does or does not fit the band. Though we are all fans of punk and metal, as musicians we prefer to approach these things our own way. Working within confines of punk or metal aesthetic can be incredibly limiting.
Your music is a diverse mix of many musical styles and influences (metal, doom, hardcore punk). How did you come to find your style and how would you characterize your music?
Milosz: I'm not trying to think about it too much, I just grab my guitar play something and then decide if it's good or bad, if it will work or not. I'm not trying to judge riffs written by us by music geners. We like it or we don't that's all.
Max: Classifying music is always tricky for me. Once you label something you basically cram it in a box and put a limitation on all expectations. This band is still young in my eyes, so I think it's too early for me to give a satisfactory answer to this one.
Are your songs stories about individual experiences, or are these words meant to be more a reflection on the society you see?
Milosz: I write about how I see life (mostly mine), my lyrics are pretty personal but I hope other people can find something for them selves when they read them. I don't think I can say more about them, they speak for themselves.
What bands have influenced you the most?
Max: I think it's safe to say that we're all influenced by one common thread through music. For myself, for my all time heros, my picks have always been the same: Nirvana, Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Amebix, Metallica.
Milosz: I listen to ton's of different kinds of music but mostly it's darker music with dark and meaningfull lyrics.... Pink Floyd... Amebix, Neurosis... I listen to a lot of Killing Joke and New Model Army too.
Congrats on your first demo release which is just plain awesome. The music is great, but also the complete package including all lyrics. How much time and money did you invest in the complete process of recording and packaging?
Max: On this recording it was the original lineup (Milosz, Kevin, and myself). We went into the studio with a pretty solid idea of what we were going to do and we didn't stray too far from that. Milosz knew how he wanted the songs to sound, and we worked with the engineer to get as close to complete as we could. We drove him crazy, but I still think the final result was worth it. It was recorded over a few months in the winter. In between sessions, Milosz and I wrote the keyboard parts and arranged lyrics for the songs. We never had big plans for the recording, but we felt it was worth releasing in SOME way. We never expected it to get this much attention.
Milosz: We didn't even plan to release it but Will from No Options talked us in to it. It was suppose to be just a demo.
Your next release was a split with Warprayer. How did that come into existence?
Milosz: We wanted to have a small release before our first LP... we wanted a 7". We had two faster songs ready to go and we needed one more "side A" song. I started to write 'To Rust', I had many of the riffs ready and the we started to play it together. Then Max and Jeff added their ideas to it and we ended up with 12 minute song. The 7" was a no go! We thought that nobody will release 12" with three songs for a new band like us and we didn't want to wait longer and write more songs so Kevin proposed to do a split 12". I talked to a few people about it and after while Jim from Warprayer contacted me... the rest you know.
At the beginning of 2009, you've played together with Amebix in Boston. How was the show and what do you think about the Amebix re-union?
Max: Amebix were incredible and by far the most powerful band I saw in 2009. I was pretty skeptical about the reunion, so many bands from the 80's are resurrecting only to tour the world and disappoint their fan-base. But as soon as I heard Amebix play 'Chain Reaction' during their soundcheck, I was proven wrong. When I actually spoke to Rob and Stig they both were incredibly humble and kind people, this only reinforced my support of the reunion tour. Needless to say, the show was probably one of the best I've been part of in all my life.
Let's talk about your first full-length named 'Untold Wait'. As you had already announced in the demo, the album mostly consists of previously released demo, including a new one. I personally think it was a great idea to re-record this tracks, also because Jeff Hayward was missing at the demo recordings. And, of course, the production is more powerful and detailed. What do you think about 'Untold Wait'? Are you satisfied with the final result?
Max: To be honest, the recording process for this album was so horrid I think it's too soon for me to have an opinion on this album. Sometimes I listen to it and all I can hear is the blunders and edits and I feel utter frustration, just wishing we could have recorded this album at a better time in a better atmosphere. But other times I listen to it and I feel sincerely proud. I feel like we managed to achieve something we had been aiming for since we first played together. But this is just how I am, never fully pleased but never fully doubtful of our capabilities.
How did the collaboration with Alicia Morgan of the band 13 and Kris Force, who is best known for her work with Amber Asylum, Swans and Neurosis come about?
Milosz: I've known Alicia for while and I always liked her voice, I thought it would fit perfectly in to those parts. One day i just asked her.It was pretty much the same with Kris, I thought we may need some quiet violin parts and I loved what Kris did with her band Amber Asylum and her colaboration with Neurosis and Swans was awesome too. It was a good experience to work with them.
What are your future plans? Have you already written new songs?
Milosz: We are working on some stuff. We have a lot of new riffs. Soon we are just gonna have to put it all together.
Thanks a lot for your time. All the best for you and the band. Anything we totally missed or you want to add?
Max: Thanks for the support Klaus, hope to see you again in the future. Cheers!
Milosz: Just wanna thank you for your patience and for this interview, cheers.