By Steph Eslake
Serene and natural landscapes. A relaxing getaway with music and friends. An escape from the sounds and speed of the city, atop the picturesque Mount Wellington. This might sound like the ideal weekend away for those busy at work in Hobart town, but for Tassie band The Mornings, it was the perfect environment for recording their latest EP, Ribbons.
The six piece Indie-folk band has rapidly made its way into fame since entering the Tassie music scene in 2010. After releasing a self-titled EP and rocking a number of sold out local gigs, The Mornings have played to open ears at the Falls Festival, Soundscape Festival, Festival of the Sun and several full-blown national tours – including eleven gigs in New Zealand.
The Mornings released their second EP, Burn our Clothes, in 2011. The following year Triple J Unearthed, APRA and AMCOS invited front man Sam Cole to represent the band at Song Summit 2012 alongside artists such as Gotye and Adalita.
Having played 32 shows nationally over the past four months, The Mornings’ saxophonist Nick Devereaux took some time out to take me behind the scenes of band’s new three track EP.
Nick says Ribbons was recorded up in the Mount Wellington treetops of Oscar’s Treehouse Studio after Sam’s inspired return from Song Summit.
“Sam got back with a whole bunch of ideas, and instead of going to a mainland recording studio like had been the plan, we decided to get a sound guy and take his studio up to where Sam was living at the time, up at Mount Wellington,” says Nick.
“We decided to chill out there for a couple of days and record there in what was essentially the same kind of environment but a lot more comfortable.”
Nick says Sam returned from the Song Summit with greater confidence in his ideas and song writing.
“It wasn’t so much from working with Gotye, but being in a confined space with not only Gotye, but also other people from each state, and being in a creative environment like that and showing each other songs and having a talk about them.”
The guidance Sam gained from his experience with some top Australian artists was not the only driving force in Ribbons. Nick highlights the way that the three hits were formed and nurtured by all members of The Mornings.
“It’s the first thing that we’ve released where all the songs have been written by all the band members, as opposed to one member coming to the rest of the band with an idea and kind of branching out from there. All the songs have been written in a communal kind of sense.
“The EP in general just has a more exciting kind of vibe to it. It’s consistently uplifting, but all the songs have a very different kind of structure to them, like they’re three completely different songs that have a similar kind of vibe.”
Well aware of the increasingly competitive Indie-folk music scene, Nick helps to provide the band with a sound that will set them apart from the rest.
“I play the saxophone, and I think it creates an energy that I guess a lot of different bands – especially folk-Indie bands – don’t really have.
“I mean, you’ve got Mumford and Sons at the moment jumping around on the international stage, and they’ve got the banjo to kind of fill in those gaps and get that energy. I think the sax does a similar job but in a different way: it gives energy, creates a really cool vibe, but it’s a little more in your face.”
When Nick’s saxophone and Sam’s vocals combine with the musicality of Anna Elliston, Jeremy Kearney, Seth Henderson and Benjamin Cole, the ensemble proves dangerously successful in reaching listeners from around the globe – despite its faith to the Aussie spirit and accent.
“I’ve shown a bunch of the songs to a lot of people I know in Canada and the US and the fact that Sam has an Australian accent, they actually love it, like, ‘wow, we haven’t heard anything like this before’.”
“Coming from an international perspective, I think it’s kind of refreshing to hear a different kind of voice – and I guess not very many people kind of do the whole really broad Australian accent, so why not?”
Refreshing indeed – especially to the Australian ear in a contemporary music scene that has become saturated with American popular culture. But The Mornings are starting to turn the tables, and in the next year they plan to expand their national fan base with more tours and “step it up a notch” with a focus on exporting their sound overseas.
“We’re thinking about Canada and things like that at the moment, but we don’t really have any plans set in stone yet. We’ll kind of see what we can do in our own back yard before we jump over there.”
The Mornings have just released a debut film clip to their song, ‘Bleeding Knees and Salt’ from Ribbons and you can check it out along with more of the band’s work at http://www.themorningsmusic.com.
This feature was published on Aphra Magazine 2013.