MORNE has been around since 2005, so chances are you are very well familiar with this Boston-based four piece. They play heavy and atmospheric mix of doom and crust, if you like, and their records always deliver a certain dose of emotions and reflections. Having released three studio albums, the band concentrated on playing live and working on their new material, where time was not an issue. With 4 years of silence since the last record it was time to talk to Milosz, who writes most of the music and lyrics, about what is inside the MORNE camp and what we can expect from the next MORNE release.
All photos by Hillarie Jason, www.hillariejason.com
SP: MORNE hasn’t released an album for the past 4 years now. I know you guys are working on the new album, but why is it taking you so long?
Milosz: It takes as long as it takes. We started to write new material about a year ago. We put one song together before that and we’ve been playing it live, but the real focus on the album started not very long ago. Like I said, it takes as long as it takes. Morne isn’t a sweat shop, if you know what I mean. We don’t write because it’s time for another record. It’s not how it works. It’s usually the feeling, the right moment when riffs start to fall into the right places. The moment when we let out what’s built up inside. We released three full length albums within 4 years and that’s not counting the split LP and the demo that came out on vinyl. If you wanna look at it this way though, Untold Wait was pretty much all written and ready to go before the band was actually a band. Then we did the other two albums but it’s really a matter of the right time and the right atmosphere. It also goes with the lyrics. I write them when something clicks and I feel like it’s time to say something. It’s mostly spontaneous. We have over 60 minutes of music that we will record in January and February.
SP: I guess you started working on this album in 2015. Does that mean that what we are going to hear is going to be a very polished, thought over concept or you were not sure which path to take?
Milosz: We took some time to come to the point when the music started to come out from us. It’s been 4 years since Shadows came out but that’s fine. We aren’t in a hurry. We don’t release an album and immediately start to work on the next one. That would be foolish because I think then, you just start to copy yourself. Our music is based on a moment in our lives if that makes any sense. It has to come out naturally. I grab my guitar when I feel that I have something to express through it. On the other hand, we aren’t a band that will ride on one album for 10 years.
I write most of our music and the way I see it is that the “path” kind of creates itself through out the riffs. I never think, “Aw, the next album will be like this.” It will be the way we channel the vibe that comes from us at that exact moment. I think it is pretty natural and simple. Music is an expression, it’s an expression of day to day life. In our case at least. Even if I write the riffs or lyrics, everyone in the band puts their own emotion into it and that creates the album.
SP: Tell us something about the musical and lyrical side of things. Let’s go behind the curtain a little bit.
Milosz: I believe in simplicity in art, any art. Music is an expression and it shouldn’t be overanalyzed or polished. I always say, less is more when it comes to riffs. Billy and I often joke about how we eliminate notes. It’s true. “This riff has three notes, lets make it two with some weird picking”. The trick is to pick the right two notes that create the right impact. Very simple riffs can carry a lot more weight than super complicated, super polished and overly produced songs. It’s often feelingless.
I write our lyrics and I never really comment on them. I’d rather see people read them and maybe find something that they can relate to. They are never direct and never political. I try to write about how I see things in my life. Stuff that happens. Personal stuff. I gotta say that I find it flattering when people write to us and say that they find something in them, something they can relate to. It’s a good feeling.
SP: Who is going to release the new record? Did you start Morne Records to eventually become independent from any label at all?
Milosz: We are still debating on how we want to release this album. We have a couple of options that we will reveal when the time comes.
I feel like it makes a lot of sense to be independent to a degree and so called, DIY, but it also has to make sense at that moment. At some point you will have to rely on people one way or another but they have to be the right people. We are very particular about how we do things and it’s not always easy. We released a vinyl version of our last album on our own label with some help from Ben (Dropdead) and his Armageddon Label. Ben is my close friend and he helped us a lot throughout those years.
SP: Are you planning to release other acts as well on Morne Records?
Milosz: No, I don’t think so. It’s only meant to represent our band. That’s all.
SP: Was releasing “The Coming Of Winter” cassette meant to be a bridge between the records, so people do not forget you, somehow?
Milosz: Never thought about it this way. People forget about shit left and right and I’m not here to keep them busy. Although it’s good to have some sort of consistency with releases, it has to be solid and not half assed bullshit recorded in someone’s basement on a piece of shit laptop. Never understood that approach. We keep busy no matter if we have a new record out or not.
We like cassettes and after listening to that live recording we thought it would be cool to run a limited number of tapes. It’s not a professional sound board recording. We put a small digital recorder somewhere in the club. Just like an old-school little tape recorder. I thought it was cool. It is kind of a forgotten idea.
SP: Looking at the way you approach music, reading interviews with you and observing your aesthetics I guess you pay lots of attention to detail. Are you perfectionists in a way?
Milosz: I do like when things look cohesive and not just put together without any sense. I would never call myself a perfectionist though. I mean, like I said, it has to make sense. I like when a band looks the way it sounds. The visual aspect follows the music and lyrics. That’s very important to me.
SP: Speaking about aesthetics, are we expecting a white in color release like on “Asylum” cover, or are you going to stick to black and grey? I must say, the “Asylum” cover worked very well for MORNE, as the full concept.
Milosz: I can only tell you that the next album isn’t going to have a white cover. The cover is pretty much ready but I don’t want to go into details just yet.
With Asylum I remember, I thought, “Let’s have a white cover for this one, it will work well with the feel of the album.” Max put it together and sent it to me and I said, “This is perfect.” Rob from Amebix/Tau Cross did Amebix style hand writing for the back cover and it looked great. Simple. I like simple.
SP: Despite being silent as far as new releases go, you do play gigs quite a lot. Which shows in 2017 you’ve been particularly proud of, so far?
Milosz: To be honest we played four shows this year. We like to keep it this way. We try to play only once or twice a year in Boston. For the last few years we have been organizing our local show in Boston that we call The Coming of Winter. We invite bands we like, we organize the whole thing, promote it etc. We do it in December. This year we decided to not do it though because we are trying to stay focused for the recording in January.
We played a show in Portsmouth, New Hampshire at the beginning of this year which was awesome. Great new venue. We did two local shows, one with Eyehategod, and one with Warning from England. Great band. We also did a big festival gig in Las Vegas in August. All four of them were great to be honest. Four different experiences. Unless we tour we do not do a lot of shows. Quality over quantity.
SP: You come from a DIY punk scene, to generalize, but on the other hand, you seem to play with lots of bigger names, not necessarily on DIY punk festivals. How did that happen? How did you reach a wider audience and still remaining true to yourself. Any tips for that?
Milosz: Well, we’ve put a lot of hard work into where we are right now. Never cut any corners. Learned from our own mistakes. Stayed true to what we do. I guess that could be a tip for that. The music scene is so oversaturated with bands and it’s hard to poke through. We just do what we do. We played a lot of big festivals, Hellfest in France, Roadburn, and recently Psycho Las Vegas, etc. I assume promoters of those big events recognize the band and like what we do. We play big shows and very small shows. We toured Europe extensively three times, toured The States and Canada. It’s all hard work.
SP: What are the main differences, observations of your comparing the total DIY punk side of things, with a more general approach in the so-called metal, or post-metal scene that you also touch here and there?
Milosz: I really don’t have a simple answer to that. Music scenes aren’t the way they used to be. It all crosses paths at this point. It’s the way it is. We just choose what’s good for us and what makes sense for us. I do not put tags on things. DIY this, post fucking something that. It’s all in us and we do what we want to do. Being true to yourself doesn’t mean that you have to follow some beat down path that someone said is better then the other. Some people may disagree with me but that’s fine. Bands can do whatever they want and we do exactly that. I do not follow the followers. Never will.
SP: Milosz, I know you are professionaly busy with the metal works. Tell us what it is exactly that you do, and how does that contribute to MORNE merch? I see some metal gadets on your webstore.
Milosz: I work in a theater. Been doing that for last 15 years. I weld a lot, do all kinds of fabrications. It’s my job but it’s also my hobby to a degree. I made some limited quantities of steel belt buckles with our emblem, some badges and stuff like that. Some time ago I started to work on a dagger which I’m getting some long distance help from Rob “The Baron” Miller. It’s fun.
SP: You’ve toured Europe being in a European band and in an American band. And you regularly gig in US. What are your main remarks concerning playing shows (venues, audience, organisation) and traveling on both continents?
Milosz: We always try to work with people who we know personally. People we met and made connections with. Bookers, organizers, etc. That really makes things easier for us and I think that is the key because touring and dealing with venues and all that stuff around playing shows may seem easy but it’s not. I do like when people act professional no matter if it’s a “DIY” venue or a professional club. We choose things that work for us. I guess back in the day with my old bands we didn’t have that advantage or it was just different but I follow the same path, the scale is larger I suppose.
SP: What MORNE song should I put here to finish off the interview with you. What would you like people to listen to from MORNE.
Milosz: Not sure where you are going to link it from but put Coming of Winter from our album Shadows on I guess.
Besides our physical releases we have a bandcamp page, our albums are on Itunes and Spotify so people have something to choose from. It was a pleasure Wojtek. Cheers
Contact MORNE: Morne.firstname.lastname@example.org