IF THERE’S ONE THING EVERYONE PROMISED THEMSELVES WAY BACK IN JANUARY IT WAS TO TAKE EACH DAY AS A NEW BEGINNING, TO BE REBORN WITH THE HOPE OF ACHIEVING FORGOTTEN DREAMS AND TO REVEL IN NEW AND EXCITING OPPORTUNITIES.

 FOR MANY THE DAYS ROLL INTO ONE, WEEKS DISAPPEAR AND WERE STUCK IN THE SAME RUT WE TOLD OURSELVES WE WEREN’T GOING TO END UP IN EVER AGAIN!

 IT IS UNFORTUNATELY THE MODERN CONDITION. DISTRACTED BY SOCIAL MEDIA, WERE OUT OF TOUCH WITH NOT JUST REALITY, BUT ONE AND OTHER.

 

 RAE MORRIS, ON THE OTHER HAND, HAS CRAFTED A BODY OF WORK THAT NOT ONLY MANAGES TO PERSONIFY HOPE BUT REDESIGN THE LANDSCAPE OF MODERN POP MUSIC!

 “SOMEONE OUT THERE” IS MORRIS’S MUSICAL METAMORPHOSIS! THE ALBUM UNLIKE ITS PREDECESSOR ‘UNGUARDED’ IS LAYERED WITH ELECTRONIC INFLUENCES AND EUPHORIC POP CHORUSES THAT IMMEDIATELY DEMAND ATTENTION. IN ALL IT MAKES FOR A REFRESHING AND COMPLETELY UNEXPECTED EXPERIENCE. WHILE MANY LOOSE THEMSELVES DURING THE PROCESS OF CRAFTING THE “DREADED SECOND ALBUM” RAE MORRIS IS MORE COLOURFUL THAN EVER AND REALLY DOES SEEM TO BE REBORN!

 WE CAUGHT UP WITH RAE THE MORNING AFTER HER SOLD OUT MANCHESTER SHOW.

 

 

Interview and photography: Lewis Vorn

Styling: Racquella Cass

Hair and Makeup: Beth Anderson

 

S: SO HOW WAS LAST NIGHT?

 

R: YEAH IT WAS AMAZING! ITS GREAT TO PLAY THESE SONGS LIVE FINALLY AND FOR ME MANCHESTER IS KIND OF LIKE THE “HOMECOMING” GIG. BEING FROM BLACKPOOL ITS THE CLOSEST CITY. SO IT WAS LOVELY HAVING A LOT OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS AT THE GIG.

 

S: SO UNGUARDED WAS NEARLY 4 YEARS AGO NOW! THIS ALBUM SOUNDS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT HOW DID YOU MAKE THAT SHIFT IN SOUND?

 

R: WELL, I GUESS THE FIRST ALBUM WAS QUITE PARTICULAR, IN ITS SOUND BECAUSE A LOT OF THOSE SONGS HAD BEEN WRITTEN AT THE PIANO.

IT WAS QUITE HARD ACTUALLY TO FIND THE PRODUCTION FOR THAT RECORD BECAUSE of A LOT OF THOSE TUNES ACTUALLY NEEDED TO EXIST AS JUST PIANO AND VOCAL. BECAUSE THAT WAS THEIR CHARACTER AND ESSENCE AND THAT WAS HOW I’D PERFORMED MOST OF THEM AROUND MANCHESTER AND THE NORTHWEST GENERALLY IN PUBS AND GIG VENUES. SO TO TRY AND KIND OF FORM AN ENTIRE RECORDS SOUND AROUND THAT WAS QUITE DIFFICULT. I KIND OF FELT CONSTRICTED IN A WAY BECAUSE THERE WAS ALREADY A CONCEPT THAT I NEEDED TO STICK TO. WHEREAS WITH THIS SECOND RECORD I HAD ABSOLUTELY NO SONGS WRITTEN.

 

 

S: SO WITH THIS RECORD DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAD A COMPLETELY BLANK CANVAS?

 

R: YEAH! EXACTLY THAT. TO COME BACK FROM TOURING THE WHOLE OF 2015 AND GET BACK IN THE STUDIO AND JUST DO WHATEVER FELT FUN WAS EXCITING.

 

S: THE WHOLE ESSENCE OF THIS RECORD FEELS VERY FUN AND COLOURFUL. ESPECIALLY IN THE VISUAL IDENTITY OF THE PROJECT. I KNOW BEFORE THE TONES WERE QUITE MUTED. WHEREAS NOW EVERYTHING SEEMS TO REFLECT THE ENERGY IN THE MUSIC.

 

R: YEAH, THAT’S REALLY INTERESTING. AND I THINK ALSO REFLECTIVE MORE OF MY CHARACTER AND WHO I ACTUALLY AM.

 

 

S: DO YOU FEEL LIKE THIS RECORD ALLOWED YOU TO COME OUT OF YOUR SHELL A BIT MORE? NOW THAT YOUR AN ESTABLISHED ARTIST THAT DOESN’T REALLY HAVE TO FIGHT FOR YOUR PLATFORM.

 

R: Yeah, YOU SPEND A LOT OF TIME IN THE BEGINNING PROVING YOURSELF. NOT ONLY TO OTHER PEOPLE BUT TO YOURSELF AS WELL! I THINK I HAD THIS KIND OF GUILT AROUND HOW LUCKY I WAS TO HAVE BEEN GIVEN THESE AMAZING OPPORTUNITIES.

IN A WAY THAT KIND OF SQUASHED ME DOWN BECAUSE I WAS CONSCIOUS OF NOT TAKING EVERYTHING FOR GRANTED AND NOT BEING TO ARROGANT ABOUT THINGS. THAT JUST MEANT THAT I DIDN’T ACTUALLY FULLY EMBRACE HOW FUN AND COOL AND INCREDIBLE IT CAN BE TO BE GIVEN ALL THESE CRAZY EXPERIENCES AND MAKE THE MOST OF THEM!

 

S: IT DEFINITELY FEELS LIKE YOUR EMBRACING ALL THAT ENERGY ON THIS NEW ALBUM BUT ALSO LIKE YOUR NOT AFRAID OF SAYING “NO” TO THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO DO!

 

R: YEAH! I THINK ITS REALLY IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU LIKE. LIKE I THINK EXPERIMENTATION IS REALLY IMPORTANT. TO NOT SAY TO YOURSELF “ I ONLY DO THIS! LIKE IM NOT GOING TO TRY THIS COLOUR OUTFIT OR THIS DIFFERENT DIRECTION FOR A CHANGE” I THINK YOU HAVE TO BE OPEN MINDED BUT THEN KNOW YOUR BOUNDARIES. I THINK HAVING A GOOD TEAM AROUND YOU AND PEOPLE THAT UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS YOUR TRYING TO REPRESENT PARTICULARLY WITH THE VIDEOS. NOEL PAUL, WHO’S DONE ALL THE VIDEOS WITH ME FOR THIS RECORD REALLY PUSHED ME. ITS JUST BEEN SUCH A DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE, AND IVE FELT SO COMFORTABLE WITH HIM THAT IVE BEEN ABLE TO TAKE RISKS AND DO THINGS THAT I WOULD HAVE BEEN TO NERVOUS TO DO BEFORE.

 

 

S: OK SO DO IT! WAS PROBABLY THE BEST POP SONG OF LAST YEAR.  LYRICALLY IT’S SO SIMPLE! HOW DID IT COME ABOUT?

 

R: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT! I REMEMBER WRITING IT AND THINKING “OH GOD IS THIS A BIT TOO BASIC?” AND I WAS ALWAYS KIND OF QUESTIONING THE INTELLIGENCE OF IT. THAT’S SOMETHING THAT ALWAYS HAPPENS THOUGH PARTICULARLY WITH POP MUSIC. ITS SOMETHING WHERE YOU WANT PEOPLE TO CONNECT WITH IT, BUT THEN YOU WANT THIS HOOKY MELODY ASWELL. IT WAS ALL ABOUT FINDING THE DEPTH AND THE FUN, WHICH CREATED THIS VERY INTRICATE MOTIF THAT PLEATS AND BUILDS THROUGHOUT.

 

S: AND THE SONG KIND OF BECAME THE BASIS FOR YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FRYARS WHO PRODUCED THE TRACK!

 

R: YEAH, I WORKED ON THE SONG WITH FRYARS, WHO’S A LONG TIME COLLABORATOR. WE WORKED ON A LOT OF THE RECORD TOGETHER ACTUALLY. AND YEAH WE BASICALLY JUST GOT TOGETHER DURING THE MAKING OF IT.THERE’S A SONG ON THE FIRST ALBUM CALLED “COLD” THAT HE FEATURES ON, AND IT KIND OF FELT LIKE THIS MISSED OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT ON THE FACT THAT THREE/FOUR YEARS LATER WERE WORKING TOGETHER BUT OUR CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE COMPLETELY CHANGED.

 

 

S: ITS FUNNY THAT YOU REFERENCE THAT FIRST COLLABORATION IN THE LYRICS OF “DO IT”

 

R: YEAH, IT IS! It’s QUITE META! I THINK HUMOUR IS AN IMPORTANT THING IN POP MUSIC. IT IS A BIT CHEEKY AND I LIKE THAT ITS NOT REALLY THAT SERIOUS. I GUESS ITS SLIGHTLY POKING FUN AT THE FACT THAT SOMETHING STRANGE HAS HAPPENED TO US. ALSO ITS THIS MASSIVE CLICHE FOR AN ARTIST TO FALL FOR THEIR PRODUCER AND IM FULLY AWARE OF THAT.  NOT THAT I WOULD EVER PROMOTE THAT BEHAVIOUR BUT THESE THINGS JUST HAPPEN!

 

S: GOING FROM THAT THE WHOLE ALBUM FEELS PRETTY UNEXPECTED. It’s A COMPLETE SHIFT. YOUV’E GOT THESE SUPER ENERGETIC POP SONGS LIKE “ATHLETICO” & “DIP MY TOE” AND THEN ‘ROSE GARDEN” KIND OF EXPLORES THIS DARKER ELECTRONIC LANDSCAPE.

 

R: TOTALLY! I THINK SOME OF THE SONGS JUST NEEDED TO BE LIGHT AND FUN AND AIRY. WITH “ATHLETICO” THAT DEFINITELY THE CASE. IT WAS WRITTEN USING VOCAL MELODIES ONLY.  I WAS KIND OF EXPERIMENTING WITH MY VOICE IN A WAY THAT I HADN’T BEFORE AND THEN THAT FORMED PRETTY MUCH ALL OF THE PRODUCTION IDEAS AS WELL. THERES LIKE THIS CRAZY LITTLE HOOK MELODY THAT SOUNDS LIKE A SYNTH BUT ITS ACTUALLY MY VOICE. IT WAS JUST LAYERS OF INTERESTING SOUNDS WITH THREE CHORDS UNDERNEATH SO AGAIN ITS QUITE SIMPLE. BUT I THINK POP MUSIC DOESN’T NEED TO BE THAT DENSE.

THEN WITH “ROSE GARDEN” THAT WAS ONE WHERE I REALLY FEEL LIKE I WAS ABLE TO PRODUCE SOMETHING FOR THE FIRST TIME THAT IVE FULLY BELIEVED IN. IN TERMS OF BEING SUPER INVOLVED IN THE PRODUCTION. THAT’S SOMETHING THAT’S NEVER BEEN A THING BEFORE, LIKE IVE ALWAYS BEEN THERE AND PASSED MY IDEAS ONTO THE PRODUCER. BUT THIS RECORD HAS BEEN A DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE IN THAT EVERYTHING HAS BEEN A CONVERSATION AND A CONCEPTUAL IDEA BEHIND WHAT THE SOUNDS ARE AND WHAT THEY MEAN.

I FEEL LIKE I WORKED REALLY CLOSELY TO PRODUCE THE RECORD WITH THE OTHER PEOPLE. AND WITH THAT IT JUST GAVE ME A STRONGER CONNECTION TO THE SONGS AND HOW I FEEL ABOUT THEM. THAT INTENSE INVOLVEMENT.

 

S: It’s REFRESHING THAT YOU ARNT AFRAID TO ASSOCIATE YOURSELF WITH POP MUSIC!

 

R: POP IS KIND OF SEEN AS A DIRTY WORD INST IT! BUT MOST POP SONGS ARE SO GENIUS AND SO WELL WRITTEN.

THE WAY THAT THEY MAKE PEOPLE FEEL AND THE IMPACT THAT THEY CAN HAVE ON SOCIETY AND CULTURAL THINGS.

IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT, YOU CAN PRETTY MUCH PINPOINT EVERY ERA BASED ON A COUPLE OF KEY POP TUNES. I DEFINITELY REALISED HOW MUCH I LOVED POP MUSIC IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS AND ITS REALLY HAD AN IMPACT ON WHERE I AM NOW.

 

S: I GUESS IT DOES COME WITH AGE!

 

R: Yeah, I SAY JUST ENJOY WHAT you are INTO! THERE SHOULD BE NO GUILTY PLEASURES. EVERYONE SHOULD JUST FULLY EMBRACE WHAT THEY LIKE.

 

S: WHO WERE YOU INFLUENCED BY THEN?

 

R: Well, I ALWAYS KIND OF SAY, THINGS THAT MY MUM AND DAD WERE LISTENING TO. A LOT OF RADIO. WHICH I THINK HAS KIND OF GIVEN ME THIS BROADER THING WHERE IF A SONG COMES ON RADIO 2 I KNOW IT BECAUSE ITS JUST LIKE STORED FROM MY CHILDHOOD. BUT THEN LIKE EVERYONE I GOT INTO PEOPLE AVRIL LAVIGNE AND THOSE TUNES WERE JUST AMAZING!

 

S: SO DID YOU HAVE A BIT OF AN EMO PHASE?

 

R: YEAH WHEN I WAS IN SCHOOL I HAD SHORTER HAIR, THE SWEEPING FRINGE AND I USED TO PUT PENCILS THROUGH MY EAR AND EVERYTHING! SO THE WHOLE LOOK.

 

S: ARE YOU INFLUENCED BY A LOT OF FEMALE ARTISTS?

 

R: OH GOD YES! WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER I WAS REALLY INTO COLDPLAY AND WENT TO A LOT OF THOSE kinds OF GIGS. BUT THEN I STARTED TO GRAVITATE TOWARDS THE TONE THAT A LOT OF FEMALE SINGER SONGWRITERS HAD.

I WAS LISTENING TO A LOT OF DUSTY SPRINGFIELD AND SINGERS LIKE FIEST AND CAT POWER. I JUST COULDN’T BELIEVE HOW THEY MADE ME FEEL. I WENT INTO A FOLKY PHASE FOR A WHILE.  AND THEN I WAS DRAWN TO ARTISTS LIKE KATE BUSH, BJORK AND PATTI SMITH. WHO IVE ALWAYS THOUGHT  MADE REALLY AMAZING MUSIC AND PRODUCED IT AS WELL. I REALLY RESPECT ST. VINCENT TOO I THINK SHES DONE SOME BRILLIANT STUFF.

 

S: A LOT OF ARTISTS THAT ARE CONSISTENTLY CHALLENGING THEMSELVES AND EVOLVING WITH THEIR MUSIC. WHERE DO YOU HOPE TO TAKE THINGS NEXT?

 

R: WELL, THIS IS THE THING. SOMEONE ASKED ME THE SAME QUESTION THE OTHER DAY AND IVE NOT ACTUALLY THOUGHT ABOUT IT THAT MUCH BECAUSE IM STILL SPENDING A LOT OF TIME WITH THESE NEW SONGS, SEEING HOW THEY PLAY OUT LIVE, WHAT REACTION THEY GET FROM AUDIENCES. AND THEN I GUESS ITS KIND OF NICE THAT ITS ALL DONE AND I CAN HAVE A BIT OF SPACE AWAY FROM IT ALL. BUT I THINK DEFINITELY THE COMPLEXITY OF THE PRODUCTION ON “ROSE GARDEN” IS SOMETHING IM EXCITED TO EXPLORE IN MORE DETAIL.

 

 

 

RAE MORRIS’S NEW ALBUM “SOMEONE OUT THERE” IS OUT NOW.

 

YOU CAN CATCH RAE SUPPORTING JUNGLE THIS MONTH ON THEIR EUROPEAN TOUR!

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