We were lucky enough to catch up with musician Blake Morgan following the release of his superb single ‘Baby I Would Want You’. Read the full interview below.
Hi Blake, what is your earliest music memory?
The two earliest music memories I have are from when I was three years old: I remember watching a rerun of The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” on TV and how it felt. It’s the first time I remember feeling “wonder.” That band has never stopped filling me with that wonder, and they’ve informed much if not all of my musical life.
The second is sitting on my father’s lap at our piano. He’d drawn the names of the keys (C, D, E, and so forth) on them in wax pencil, and I learned the alphabet at the same time I was first playing the piano.
That also filled me with wonder, the simple action of pressing a key and sound coming out and being able to control when and how that happened. It still does it for me, frankly.
Who influenced your latest release, ‘Baby I Would Want You’?
This record, in particular, is influenced by a lot of post-punk music I’ve loved throughout my life. It’s a slightly different set of influences than on previous records of mine, but the vision of what I wanted on this one was very clear to me right from the start.
I wanted a record that sounded like if The Police’s album’ Ghost In the Machine’ and AC/DC’s ‘Back In Black’ had a kid. That kid would be this record. I’m laughing while I’m saying this, but it’s really true.
There are also other post-punk influences in there; I listened to a lot of The Cars while making this record, Blondie too, also current bands like Spoon and Phoenix. I knew I wanted a lean, power-pop, rock n’ roll record that packed an emotional and sonic punch.
There is a brilliant video that accompanies the new release; what was the recording process for the visuals like?
Thanks so much––that video was directed by the always-brilliant Alice Teeple, a formidable artist, director, and filmmaker. This is the third video I’ve done with her for this record (go check out the other two for “Down Below Or Up Above” and “My Love Is Waiting”).
I don’t know anyone who gets more out of a shoot than her. Her eye, her vision––stunning. We shot this new video at the legendary Pete’s Candy Store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We knew we wanted to do a performance video this time after the two more narrative-driven videos we’d done. In some ways, this was the one we had the most fun shooting so far!
We see ‘Baby I Would Want You’ taken from a forthcoming album. Can you tell us any more?
Sure, the new record, ‘Violent Delights,’ comes out May 20th 2022, and this is the third single. “Baby I Would Want You” is an “apocalyptic” love song that declares––in no uncertain terms––that should it all come to an end right now, I’d want to be with you while it does: “in a ship that’s built for two / at the end of the world / me and you.” In truth, what other kind of love song is there, really?
You have completed 150,000 miles of touring and had sold-out concerts on both sides of the Atlantic; what is your favourite venue to perform at?
Rockwood Music Hall in New York City is certainly at the top of the list. It’s my home, and I hope it always will be. My six-year run of sold-out concerts there has changed my life––artistically and professionally––and I’ll keep doing that show there as part of my ongoing residency at Rockwood for as long as they’ll let me.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I’d love to cook breakfast with Tom Waits.
Other than music, what are you passionate about?
It’s hard to separate my passion for music from the rest of my life. They’re intertwined. There isn’t any part of my life that doesn’t inform the music I make or how I make it. I use everything. We artists are what we eat, and what we absorb, we secrete.
My music was recently referred to as “pop-rock noir,” a description I love. I watch a lot of old movies by great directors, and I’m sure those hours, like all my hours, have affected the music I make.
I often learn a lot about music from non-musical things or pursuits: cinema, stand-up comedy, baseball, and science. The lion is made of the lambs its eaten.
What changes would you like to see in the music business?
Where do I start! That one question is a whole other interview, and I could go on and on. But in short––I want to see music makers paid fairly for their work. I want artists to finally get paid for AM/FM radio airplay in the United States (the USA is the only democratic country in the world where artists don’t get paid when their music is on the radio, crazy but true).
I want to see songwriters at the forefront of fair payments from streaming, and I want all music makers to have economic choices in a landscape built around their work instead of what we have currently: massive data companies who are strip-mining the livelihoods of music makers everywhere.
Go to IRespectMusic.org for more on the campaign I started to try to help address these issues.
What would it be if you could choose one thing for fans to take away from your music?
I believe my job as an artist is to captivate you for however long I’ve asked for your attention. If I’ve done that with a song, with a video, with an album, I’ve done the job.
When someone tells me something I’ve done has moved them, I’m reminded of the “wonder” I felt as that three-year-old, watching “Yellow Submarine” or playing wax-marked keys on my piano.
To have an idea, to realize that idea and get it out into the world, and then be able to move someone with that idea…to me, it’s wondrous.
Finally, what is your favourite song to play live?
The title track of the new record “Violent Delights”.
In addition, we reviewed ‘Baby I Would Want You’ here.
FVMusicBlog April 2022