Kevin Morby :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

Late last year, after incessant touring among the ranks of his Alma mater acts Woods and The Babies, Kevin Morby released his solo debut - the stunning folk of Harlem River. On the self-proclaimed ‘homage to New York City,’ Morby transposed from supporting role to lead with a nonchalance often not found among even the most seasoned of songwriters. After relocating to the West Coast, it’s perhaps the changes both sonically and geographically that allowed Morby the necessary means to begin shaping the music he had always sought to make.

Speaking with Morby just a few days before the release of Still Life, a road worn collection of songs that weaves in and out of reality, his demeanor is much akin to his music, both kind and introspective. Having returned home just a day prior from a European trek, Morby spoke excitedly about learning to take music seriously, his introduction to psychedelic music, and his new found love of being a “solo artist.” Still Life is out now via Woodsist.

Aquarium Drunkard: You’re coming off a run of European Dates with Justin from the Babies. What was the response like this go around?

Kevin Morby: It was incredible. I’ve been telling a few people this but it’s the best tour I’ve ever been on, to be honest. Justin and I have played music together for a longtime and it’s always sort of been in a rock band environment; three to four people up on-stage, atypical rock bands…which is great and fun, but we did it as a two piece as a financial decision. So we could both get over there and both see money.

AD: Were you nervous at all about it being just the two of you?

Kevin Morby: We were nervous as shit about it at first, but it opened up a whole world that hadn’t been penetrated by me, or us, yet. Especially with the singer-songwriter thing because with it being just a two piece it was very quiet, Justin played with brushes. We both played at the front of the stage and kind of built this little environment with a lamp and a rug on stage. We played small clubs and it was really intimate. I got to play a large part of my catalog that we hadn’t approached yet because we were able to draw back a bit. It was almost like being in a new band. It was awesome.

AD: I’ve caught your set in a few different settings. Your songs keep the same weight and intensity regardless of the lineup. Are you thinking of this while writing?

Kevin Morby: It’s not something I think about a ton. I have no problem going into a studio and having a lot of bells and whistle knowing I won’t be able to demonstrate that live. One of the things I like about being a - quote on quote - solo artist is that (the music) can exist in a bunch of different ways.

There’s this live Lou Reed record that I’m obsessed with from ’72 and part of what I love about it is that he’s playing all these songs off of Transformer and stuff, these big songs. But it’s him with a four piece band, so all the horn parts they play as guitar solos and he does the back-up vocal oohs and aahs. I like that dynamic a lot.

Kevin Morby :: Parade

Only the good shit. Aquarium Drunkard is powered by its patrons. Keep the servers humming and help us continue doing it by pledging your support.

To continue reading, become a member or log in.