Could you tell us the history of Morne? Why, how and when did it all begin?
M > It pretty much began when Milosz relocated from Poland to live here in Boston. He had the songs and a vision for the first album, but no band to play with. He did some rehearsal demos with various lineups, but it didn't become a focused pursuit until 2006 when he began playing with our original drummer Kevin. I was trying to start my own band around the same time and eventually I crossed paths with them. We had similar influences, ideas and goals with music. And after hearing the rehearsal tracks he had done around 2005, I was pretty quick to join the band. We rehearsed like crazy for the next 3 months and went to the studio to record our demo. We eventually decided we needed a second guitar player. Milosz and I happen to see Jeff's old band Noosebomb play a gig here in Boston, so on a total whim we gave him a copy of the demo. Two weeks later, Jeff was in the band and the rest is history.
Could you describe Morne's music in your own words for the readers who have no idea what kind of music you play? Are there some bands that you could be compared with?
M > This is always a difficult question for me. I suppose I would describe Morne as being loud, dark and heavy. We value songwriting and the power of the riff and we always try to write music that we would we would listen to ourselves. We all come from a background in punk, but we're influenced and inspired by bands of all styles ranging anywhere. The obvious influences may be stuff like Amebix, Bolt Thrower and Neurosis, but also we're also very into stuff like Pink Floyd, Joy Division, Motorhead, Black Sabbath, early Metallica, etc. In the end, you have Morne.
How and where from did you pick the cover image for your "Untold Wait"-album, the similarly gloomy and bare LP-release of you '08-demo, and the most colourful one for your split-LP with Warprayer?
M > The photo for the demo was actually something Milosz came across at a friend's house long ago and he knew pretty much right away that it was something he wanted to use for Morne. From there on we've just tried to keep consistent with that style and aesthetic (or lack there of). The cover art of "Untold Wait" was a photo taken by a friend of the band, Chrissy Piper. We altered it a bit, literally turning a day photo to night, but it worked. The image felt powerful and though it's received less than favorable reviews on some instances, it just fit the album.
The album cover is so dark and simple it seems like a risky choice, although your untitled 7" is even more risky since it features no images at all, just the band name on the cover and the two track titles in the back. How did you end up using such bare graphics, and have people complained about the lack of visuals?
M > We have a very specific vision for this band and thus finding original artwork that fits that vision has always been a challenge. Artwork isn't always all-telling about a band, but still we have aimed to stay away from punk or metal cliches with this stuff. The lack of visuals also allows people to reach their own conclusions in some ways. We prefer that the music stand for itself as much as it can.
Regarding the cover artwork; does the nature inspire you, and what are the things overall that you find to inspire you in making your music? "Untold Wait" fits the dark nordic winter really well, so that's why I'm asking.
M > Nature possesses a tremendous amount of power in it's purity and perfection, and though we value this on a personal level, I cannot say that it is what directly inspires our songwriting. I definitely relate with your connection though. I always reach for the same albums on the darkest, most brutal winter days. Personal winter favorites would be "Monolith" by Amebix and "A New Dawn Fades" by Wolfpack. Also, a little Swans or Hawkwind at the end of the day is always nice the colder months as well!
How about influential bands, do you acknowledge any that you'd like to mention?
M > Influence is a fickle thing when it comes to writing music, I don't believe songwriting is always inspired by your favorite bands. Within Morne, there is a tremendous amount of diversity in our musical tastes. It ranges anywhere from Kiss to Jim Croche to Nirvana to New Order with plenty of stuff in between. Off the top of my head I would say Thin Lizzy is the only band we unanimously agree on.
What are your lyrics about? They have a desperate overall feel, as one can already guess by your name (which stands for "Mourn"), but I'd suppose they have some deeper meaning behind them as well. My eyes spotted both societal criticism as well as dealing with personal issues in them, am I correct?
M > The overall theme of our songs would be the feeling of entrapment within modern life; be it the confines of society, our personal battle of relationships or simply feeling at war within our own minds. It's all based on that sensation that there is no escape or salvation at the end of the road, but there is a greater message is one of hope; creating something from all the ugliness we see.
What are your plans for the future? Do you yet have plans for a second full-lenght?
M > We are currently in the studio completing our second full-length album which is expected to see it's release this summer. The vinyl will be done with Feral Ward, however the CD pressing of the album will be done by our new friends at Profound Lore. We're also in the process of finalizing dates for our second European tour. We hope to fill in some of the gaps of cities we missed last time including parts of Spain, Italy and even a date in London.
How about splits, do you have any more in the works? How did you choose to make a split with Warprayer?
M > The split with Warprayer came about when we first began writing longer songs. We were initially offered to do an EP with our friend's label. When we were half way through writing "To Rust", it was quite apparent there was no way to fit it on an 7". We felt it was unlikely that anyone would invest the money release it as a solo 12" for us at that point, so we approached Warprayer about doing a record together. It was a cool project for the time and place, but as of now there will be no more split releases in the foreseeable future.
Will you be employing cellos and violins in your music in the future as well? Have you ever thought about making more massive orchestral compositions to accompany your traditional band-instrumentation, or will you stick with the simple-and-effective -choises, keeping them in a supporting role instead of making them equal to the guitars and so on?
M > Yes, the new album will again feature contributions from Kris Force as well as some other guest musicians. The thing I like about Kris's string composition is the power in it's simplicity. We prefer to stick with the minimal and use it as an accent to the guitar driven songs. When heavy bands start to use full orchestras over their songs it usually loses impact and just crosses the line into cheese-ball territory, we intend to stay clear of that.
How have people overall reacted to you employing these classical instruments? Have you ever tried using cellos or violins in your live shows?
M > People seems to react positively. As I said, we use it in such a way that it serves it's purpose and brings the songs to a different emotional level (while still remaining within the bounds of most people's taste). We have never had the opportunity to incorporate the string instruments live, but hopefully someday we can.
While we're on topic; what kind of tricks you use to deliver your songs' mood when playing them live? One would think you don't try to create a wild rock'n'roll performance, at least.
M > No, there certainly is not much by way of "wild rock n roll" when we perform. We usually pretty loud though. Loud enough that the songs should carry enough power in themselves at leave the audience with a raging case of tinnitus.
You've steadily been building a strong fan-base, meaning you've got some audience willing to pay to see you play live. Do you have some goal venues you'd like to get to play at, or some bands you'd like to go on a tour with?
M > We don't have any goal venues I suppose, but we definitely have goal countries and cities. We would love to go to Japan and Australia eventually and ideally one of those tours would be alongside our Aussie friends, Heirs.
Some of you seem to have other musical projects going on as well. Grief has recently quit, but how are your other bands and projects doing? Is Morne your current main band?
M > As of now, Morne is the one and only focus for all of us. To be honest, we don't have much time for side-projects and we all feel it's best to devote ourselves entirely to this one band.
What is your view on music piracy, and digital (and digital-only) releases?
M > Most the time the people sharing music on the internet are the fans, and it is usually rooted out of appreciation for the band, no malicious intent. What matters most to me is if people value and appreciate what we do. If this is the case, they will come see us live and help support us beyond that and that's really all we could ask for. Keep in mind, I say this as a music fan and a musician. I am sure that anyone running a record label in 2011 would probably feel differently.
This space is reserved for whatever you might want to say or advertise. Speak up.
M > Keep your eyes open for the new album and final tour agenda in the coming weeks. Updates and also some new tracks will be posted on our various web outlets soon. In the mean time, drink and be merry and be good to each other!
Thanks for your time.
M > Thanks again for your support. Cheers!