meet morgan wright and his sentimental club music
On his debut EP 'Coburg' Morgan explores club music that's equal parts sweet and sad.
Photography Sarah Pannell
Although Morgan Wright has spent much of his life in hardcore punk bands, these days he finds himself more comfortable playing club music in nightclubs or at park parties. He'd always listened to electronic music (mostly bad EDM he admits) and as he grew out of the hardcore scene a new pathway making electronic music emerged. Equal parts sweet and sad, Morgan's music is sentimental and reflective but hidden amongst upbeat dance music. This week his debut EP Coburg, named after the suburb where he lives and where the record came together, is being released by Pelvis. Over coffee Morgan sat down to tell us about the long journey to the EP, one of his most personal projects ever.
For those who haven’t heard your music before, how would you describe your sound?
It's kind of sweet and sad melodies with almost the standard dance music rhythms. That's always going to be my signature perhaps. I'm not necessarily reinventing the wheel in terms of dance music, but I think I'm giving something unique in the sense that adding all these kind of sweet and sad, introspective melodies. Before I started, I was trying to push back against that.
Why do you think you were trying to push that back?
I think maybe when you start making anything, you're like, "Other people aren't making it like this." You're kind of referencing other people. But then once it clicks, you become comfortable with your style and with yourself. You become a bit more like, "Okay, actually, I'm gonna do it."
You finished the EP back in July 2018, are you a different artist now to who you were when you made the album?
I'm probably just further down the same path. Between July and now, having played a lot more clubs or whatever. I think having the opportunity to play the songs out in front of audiences and kind of gauge people's impressions of what works, what doesn't work, and I think you play songs that you're like, "Oh, shit. I'm a bit nervous about playing this one out, I don't know if people will like it," and then people really kind of connect or engage with that particular tune, that reinforces you to write more tunes like that and be like, "Oh, yeah. People actually get it." And it's scary. Even though I'm like 28, it's still very scary to do that.
You've made and released music before but it still feels scary?
Cause sometimes it doesn't work. And you really know and it really hurts. But when it does, you get that rush and you're like, "Fuck, this is fresh." And I think that's probably a good thing now, being 28, if it doesn't work, I'm not totally crushed by it. But when I was 16, I definitely was.
Speaking of being 16, we should talk about your past in the hardcore scene. Why do you think that you gave up being in bands and started making electronic music?
I'd always made electronic music from like 15 or 16 — not showing it to anyone. It would've been really bad. EDM almost. It's such a contrast from hardcore. For lack of a better term, hardcore or heavier music is such a primitive genre. To make music that's like real sweet and cheesy, it's such a nice escape from that. Also, when you're a teenager, not that I was a very aggressive or angry teenager, it's easy to play that music. But when you get to 25, 26, it's like, "I don't listen to this music."
Your perspective is a bit different?
I don't listen to this music anymore. Like I love ripping off Slayer and Cannibal Corpse riffs, but it doesn't excite me anymore. During that period of having those feelings, I started going out to dance clubs. I started paying attention to the music, and was starting to see people play live techno and was hearing electronic dance music that wasn't cheesy. Hearing electronic music that was, in a lot of ways, like heavy music, which is like super primitive and heavy, but not... people aren't moshing through it, people are dancing and having a good time, and socialising.
Tell us about the launch party you've got coming up on Saturday.
It's gonna be lots of fun. I'm going to DJ that show 'cause it'll just be like a day party, more focused on fun, celebrating the record. It's at this really, by no means a unique venue, it's just a bowls club. It's probably a unique venue for day party. It's the first event of that type there.
Did that make booking the bowls club an interesting process?
I just kept going down there every couple of days, running into various people, trying to find the president or the vice president and book it. I eventually managed booking it, you just pretty much go in and they write on a scrap bit of paper on the newspaper. I loved how, for them, this is such a foreign thing to do. The last music event they had there was a Beatles cover band. The fact that they've been really warm and welcoming to the idea, I really appreciate it. 'Cause to them, they're kind of just trusting that we'll look after it.
How does it feel to have the EP finally coming out?
Really good. I still really love the songs. I think that was something I was kind of nervous about. Sometimes you create something and you're really psyched on it at the time, and then you listen back and you're like, "This is crap. I really don't like this." But this is actually sick. I put out other music in between finishing this record and it coming out and I like [the record] songs more than the music I've put out recently. I think it signifies, writing those songs kind of helped me hone in and develop my style. I hope in like five, ten years, these songs will always be quite special, because they're kind of the start of a certain sound that I'm exploring.
Do you feel more protective over the EP than the digital releases you’ve been putting out in the meantime?
Yeah, definitely. Because for one they're way better. The digital songs are really good. But these songs it's just like the combination of the ideas, are really good. Not to toot my own horn…. The actual ideas are really good and I think the song writing is really good and clever and the production is really good.
I can tell you feel good about it, which is nice.
It feels really cool. Hopefully people will like it.
Photography Sarah Pannell