Saturday 30 April 2011

Interview with Morgan Kibby [M83 / White Sea]

Earlier this week, I got an email from a man promoting an artist. Nothing new here, until I saw that it was the newest project from Morgan Kibby, best known for her work with M83. I kept reading and then I saw that I could interview her. Then I read that bit again to make sure my eyes read that properly, which they did. A couple of emails and an anxious wait and here it is!

Hello Morgan. Thank you so much for doing this interview. So, tell us a bit more about yourself.
Thank you for having me! More about I was born in Alaska, I love analog synths, I could live on cheese and wine, I used to restore art, currently reading A Lover's Discourse (it's THICK. Dying.)

When did you start to gain an interest in music and what were the first things you listened to as a kid?
I studied classical piano until the age of 14, and growing up my parents never really listened to the radio aside from public radio. Jazz and classical comprise my first musical memories. It wasn't until about 12 that I started listening to other genres, particularly hip hop.

What instruments do you play? Were you taught how to play them, or is it all self-taught?
I studied classical piano and cello with a teacher, and have self taught on guitar, synths, a little autoharp (though i can't pick very well) and I'm currently trying to learn drums

Tell us a bit more about White Sea. How did it start and who's a part of it?
After finishing tour with M83, I was pretty clear that I needed an outlet when not working with Anthony, hence White Sea.
I met some incredible musicians on the road and ended up working with two of them: Ray Suen, who played with the Killers, Mariachi El Bronx and the Flaming Lips, and Jonathan Bates who played guitar with M83 for a leg of our tour and had/has his own projects, Mellowdrone and Big Black Delta. I also play with Amy Wood and Jonathan Leahy of the band The Broken Remotes. All of them are fantastic musicians and friends, I feel very blessed to have found them.

I know it's been out for a while, but explain to us your EP, This Frontier.
I'm influenced by so many genres, that when I first set out to try and define the White Sea sound, I got stuck. I finally gave in to my love of electronic, pop, 80s, western soundtracks... and just set out to write 5 good songs. I hoped that the common thread that would keep people listening would be my voice and production style.

What is the process of creating a new song? Is it something planned out for a long time or is it a trial and error process?
Sometimes it's the most daunting drawn out process, other times it's easy as pie. I suppose it's just hap-hazard in terms of experience. With the Ep i started songs by programming drums, lots of toms and 808 sounds, and then built vocal loops and melodies on top. For the next record I'm setting out to write songs first and then produce the track around its core. I live in constant fear that i'll never write a good song again.

What equipment are you using right now?
I have two main synths in my studio, a Juno-60 and an MS-2000. I work on a protools rig through a Digi003 and have a really wonderful Pacifica pre-amp. Not to mention the countless instruments i seem to have collected... 6 guitars, a twelve string, basket full of precussion, bass, cello, auto harp, Horner pianet, harmonium...the list goes on and on. I'm constantly experimenting. My next purchase are the Arturia soft synths.

You have a fantastic singing voice. Do you take care of your it often and prepare it before studio sessions or shows?
Honestly...yes and no. Which is terrible, because I know that by not practicing I'm just limiting myself. I do warm up throughout the day before important shows and sessions however, but I'm not consistent which is nothing to brag about.

M83. Saturdays = Youth is a brilliant album. When did you meet Anthony Gonzalez and how is it like to work with him?
Anthony is one of the most visionary and incredible musicians I've had the pleasure of working with. I met him through a french director friend who I've known for many years. She played him my music and he asked me to participate on Saturdays=Youth.

What are your plans for the future?
White Sea is in the midst of writing a full length album, and personally I want to continue remixing and producing for other bands. I've scored a couple films in the past and I plan on trying to do more.

Finally, describe your sound in three words.
Hopefully. Not. Sucky.

It was a fantastic privilege to be able to interview her and I actually quite like this interviewing business.

Massive thanks to Kenny Choe from EchoForward that helped me set up this interview.

Yay, Alex.


RangoTango said...

This is awesome! Love Morgan Kibby~ Hope she comes out with some more awesome stuff soon!
Great interview dude.

den said...

Thank you! Love her ) Love juno-60. Спасибо!

Anonymous said...

This song is wicked. Imma play this on my drive up to San Fran today. Thanks for the post!

Anonymous said...

Great song. great interview... she seems really down to earth!