Dank des Drunk Dog Records Shops habe ich mich vor etwa einem Jahr in das Debüt von Flowers From The Man Who Shot Your Cousin verliebt. Eine Platte, die musikalisch wohl am ehesten an Mojave 3 erinnert und diese Melancholie mit den ehrlichen Texten in bester Leonard Cohen Manier mischt.
Hinter dem langen Bandnamen steckt Morgan Caris. Ein sympathischer Lebenskünstler, der nach seiner Jugend in New York den Wurzeln seiner Familie nach Frankreich folgte und sich dort als Songwriter über Wasser hält. Sein Debüt Hapless sammelt seit der Fertigstellung 2006 immer mehr Liebhaber. In Blogs, Social Communities und anderen Netzwerken der Moderne werden die Menschen von seiner Musik infiziert. Wer die Songs hört, verfällt ihnen zwangsläufig. Nach einem Jahr und einigen hundert Durchgängen Hapless war es für mich zuletzt an der Zeit Morgan einige Fragen zu seiner Musik zu schicken.
Sonic-Reducer: What´s the story behind the name Flowers From The Man Who Shot Your Cousin?
Morgan: The story is that of a small town girl who runs away with the local hoodlums leaving behind her would-be boyfriend. It‘s a song. The boyfriend sings it. The hoodlums‘ve shot her cousin apparently but it doesn‘t say how badly he was hurt. People always assume the cousin is dead. But it says „shot“ not „killed“. There‘s still hope.
Sonic-Reducer: How do you make your living? Do you also work apart from the music?
Morgan: I haven‘t been making my living very well at all. I sometimes work, sometimes not. I‘ve been a hotel night watchman (where I got held at gunpoint) and the worst security guard imaginable. For a while I had some money which enabled me to quit working and focus on the music. When that ran out I was too involved to stop so I gave living with no money a try. Now I have a part time teaching job where I make my own hours. So far so good. I use to make it a rule not to keep the same job for more than three years. When you start having dreams in which you‘re at your job, that‘s when you know you gotta quit.
Sonic-Reducer: Could you tell us something about the songwriting and recording process of Hapless?
Morgan: The songs were deliberately minimal and sparsely arranged. I didn‘t have a band and wanted to be able to play them live on guitar without leaving too much out. It made sense to do it that way anyway because they‘re more intimate songs. But most of all I just didn‘t have the backup band and wanted the songs to stand their ground on stage before committing them to tape. The recordings are all live takes (guitar/vocals) and I added a few instruments here and there. It was done at the Waterhouse studio which was in the apartment I was sharing with Erwan from Waterhouse Records at the time. That meant we had all the time in the world which was nice… A lot of the takes were done at night.
Sonic-Reducer: Your music and your lyrics are often very dark. Where do you find the inspiration for such melancholic songs?
Morgan: SpongeBob. SquarePants ? no, I guess not. I don‘t make them dark on purpose you know. If I knew how to write happy songs that rang true, I guess I would do that. But it‘s that truth I look for, more so even than the beauty. And the darker things get me there. There‘s a kind of clarity that comes after the sadness, or comes with it sometimes. It‘s a mixed feeling: you‘ve hit rock bottom and yet it feels like your feet are finally on solid ground. I strive for that clarity in my songs and in probing for it I tend to get the sadness instead, or hopefully sometimes both.
Sonic-Reducer: Hapless was completed more then a year ago and is constantly collecting fans. Are there already plans for the follow up?
Morgan: It‘s nice to think the album is kind of building it‘s own momentum. It takes a long time for the word to get around because it‘s mostly word of mouth. But it‘s good to think Hapless has got what it takes to have a long life. For the next one I hope to get more people involved. I want to leave more space for music and maybe add some drums here and there. I‘ll probably end up doing some songs by myself too of course. But it should be easier to include other musicians now. Now that they‘ve heard the first one, they have some idea of what I‘m doing. As for how long it‘s gonna take, there‘s no telling. I‘m very very slow.
Sonic-Reducer: Some Songwriters like Damien Jurado do not like to be on tour very much. How do you feel about being on tour?
Morgan: Funny you should use Damien as an example. I remember talking about this with Ross Cowman of June Madrona in the car last September as we were touring France and we also mentioned Damien Jurado. Ross had played shows with him and found him tired and generally not enjoying himself. I can see how touring can become a hassle. If you do it too much or if it‘s all airports and hotel rooms and big business. But touring with little or no money is a never ending adventure. And doing it with friends is awesome. This spring we‘re touring again with June Madrona and Jenny Jenkins up and down the West Coast between Vancouver and L.A. and I can‘t wait. It‘s nice to spend time with another artist or band and watch their act evolve every night. And it‘s nice to meet people and stay at their house and sometimes play shows in their house. It makes you feel like you somehow belong to this kind of worldwide family of musicians and music lovers. It‘s also nice to get to play every night. It becomes the thing you do and you inevitably get better at it. But I didn‘t always use to like concerts. Music was always more about records than gigs for me. Even as a listener. Gigs are often disappointing. But when you‘re playing every night it‘s different. The good nights more than make up for the bad ones. I guess it depends who you‘re touring with too, and in what kind of circuit. When it‘s with Ross and in the Do It Yourself galaxy it‘s a blast.
Sonic-Reducer: Do you intend to play some shows in Germany someday soon?
Morgan: I‘m hoping to put something together with my friends from Sorry Gilberto in Berlin this summer but I don‘t have plans yet for a full blown tour. It‘s definitely on my list though.
Sonic-Reducer: Which records do you recently prefer to listen to?
Morgan: Well I‘ve got some catching up to do when it comes to the new good stuff that‘s around. I‘ve been changing addresses every few months for the past four years and it‘s become difficult to carry my cds around with me everywhere. As a result I‘ve been reluctant to buy new ones. I do listen to a lot of friend‘s albums (or befriend the people whose music I like, whichever way you want to put it). There‘s Laura Gibson‘s „If You Come To Greet Me“ and June Madrona‘s „A Long And Ugly Road“, Kevin House‘s „World of Beauty“ and Julie Doiron‘s „I Woke Myself Up“ to name just a few. Those follow in my suitcases. Along with some older stuff that I laboriously uploaded onto my laptop. Favorite songs list of sorts. I‘m still listening to Damien Jurado‘s „And Now That I‘m In Your Shadow“ and Richard Buckner‘s „Dents and Shells“ as well. There‘s something about those records that I just can‘t let go of.
Sonic-Reducer: Thanks a lot.