Tuesday, June 8, 2010

(Brief) Whispertown Interview

Whispertown ( Morgan Meyn) played an amazing show recently with Jake Bellows (Neva Dinova) and Pearly Gate Music. I had interviewed Jake before the show, but after it was all over we hung out, during which time I recorded this brief interview.

How did you first start writing and recording songs?

The first time I asked my parents for a guitar was when I was 16, and I wrote a song and played it for them. Then, I forgot about it. but, when I was 20 I was working as an actress on a sitcom; we don’t really have them anymore, but the format was that you’d rehearse for a week and then record it live in front of an audience. So, you were only needed when you were rehearsing your scenes, so I had a lot of down time sitting in my trailer. It was there that I basically taught myself how to sing and play guitar and write songs. I started recording a couple years after that, at the push of Jenny Lewis [Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins], my dear friend, who sort of made me pursue it.

What was the sitcom?

Um...(laughs) It was on Lifetime, the network for women. It was called “Maggie”

( At this point, Jake Bellows walked in and sat down, which eventually lead to Jake’s “Bonus Round” question from his interview”)

You did a house show tour. What was that like?

It was very interesting and mostly very enjoyable.

Jake: (laughs) Wow, Morgan. That was quite the loaded answer.

(laughs) I know, right?

You played solo tonight. How do you feel about that, as opposed to the full band?

I feel like it’s somewhat easier to realize your vision with a full band, but playing solo is, obviously, super raw, and just what you are, which is what I feel like you’re trying to get to in the first place. So, I like it, even though it’s much scarier.

Jake: I thought you killed it.

Ya, seriously. You were awesome tonight.


You played some fucking awesome new material.

Thank you!

Is that for a new Whispertown 2000 record, or do you think you’ll do something solo?

Ya, I’m basically dropping the “2000”.

So its just Whispertown now? What an evolution of name…

(laughs) Ya, its just Whispertown now. And, I’ll be playing with other people. The cast will rotate, and I feel like some of the original people will still play with me, but also new people too. So, just an evolving cast of characters.

Is there anything new you’d like to do with this next record?

I feel like recordings are an opportunity to capture something. They don’t just disappear instantly, and you have a chance to go back and realize whatever ideas you have. So, whatever that entails. (laughs)

You played a Daniel Johnston cover tonight, “Hey Jude”, which was really great. Have you ever played that live before?

I feel like I might have once or twice, but I usually play for like 35 minutes and tonight they told me I had way longer, so I decided to do it.

So, what kind of stuff have you been listening to?

I’ve been listening to Roxy Music a lot, and also the Dire Straits. Also, I was in a bar and I heard something and asked what it was, and they guy said it was Thin Lizzy. I still haven’t bought the record, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to like it.

Man, you’re stuck in the 80’s right now.

(laughs) I guess so.

I’m going to recycle this question to end. Do you think that music is more powerful to the musician as its being written and played, or to the listener as its being received and interpreted?

I think that it has equally as much potential power, but it all depends on whatever state of mind, or circumstance. You know, when you hear a song, you’re listening to someone playing it live, or on a computer, or on big speakers, it all depends where you are in your life. I think that’s actually the most important one, where you are in your life. Whereas, for a writer it typically relates directly to where you are in your life, so its going to be super relative to you every time. But, when you look back, most of the time you’re like “oh, that’s crap”, but in the moment it is super powerful. But, I think that the things that stand the test of time can have the most powerful effect on the listener, and do on me as a listener.

Thank you for doing this interview. Oh, and thank you for starting your set with “Mountain”, I think its my favorite off of Swim.

Oh, thank you. and, you're welcome. Ya, I haven’t been playing it, but when they asked me to do more songs I just decided it would be right. I’m glad you liked it.

--Zane St. James, June 5th 2010

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