Interview with Morgan x Barrie
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
My father had an old classical Kent guitar sitting around the house and I loved making noises on that thing. I had no idea what I was doing, but I just couldn’t put the guitar down. I ended up trying to record the music I was creating with two ghetto blasters, laying down one track then playing it back and over dubbing another track on the other ghetto blaster. I was eleven at the time. Pretty sure I still have those old tapes in my basement. If I hadn't gotten into music I would most likely be trying to find a way to get into music. It’s in me.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Right now, when I’m not playing music, I am working on designing my new forest music studio, windsurfing, climbing and my favourite, being with my family.
How long has your band been around?
2015 is when I put out my first album North. I have basically been a one man band since then. I played 99% of the instruments on my first two albums. My new album Lines has a bit of an eclectic mix of amazing musicians that add some different flavours. When I play live, I have a couple of key musicians that add some texture.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Owen Sound, Ontario in Canada. There is a lot of water and beautiful landscapes in this area. I spend as much time as I can on the lakes, in the bush, and hanging off the escarpment. You will notice that my music has lots of references to nature. I also create and build soundscapes that represent sounds in nature.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
The name of my band is my own name with an x as my middle name. My parents didn’t give me a middle name when I was born, so while searching for domain names morganxbarrie.com was open. Just made sense at the time.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Playing the Roxy Theatre in 2021 stands out. I put together a solo acoustic show with only two weeks notice, which can be really hard to do when you’re pandemic rusty. I practiced everyday until my fingers bled, and put a lot of thought into the live production. I played what I thought was an amazing set, and when I was finished there was a heartfelt standing ovation.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I played some really neat places when on tour in Europe, but I think I would have to say The Roxy Theatre. The acoustics are great and the house sound engineer knows the room very well. I would like a chance to play Massey Hall in Toronto. It’s legendary and a bit out of reach right now, but you never know. “Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” ~ Robert Browning
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Do it cause you have to. Do it cause you love it.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Believe in yourself, dream big, visualize, work hard, work harder, and make the music you want to hear. The rest will take care of itself.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Right now, it’s the song Germany off my new record Lines. It has a lot of sentimental value due to my grandfather talking about storming Juno Beach on D-Day, WWII over top of the music. I tear up or get a lump in my throat almost every time I hear it. I miss him. I also love how that song came together and the tone of the guitar solo which represents the soldiers rushing the beach.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Germany is super fun to play now. It’s emotional and real. Currently for live shows, I have enlisted maybe the world’s best violin player (Tyler Beckett) who plays the solo at the end of the song. At the last show we played I had goosebumps by the end of the song. I have a song called Plastic from my second album Fall that gets requested the most, but I think that will change once people dive into Lines
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
I generally start with a guitar riff that sounds neat or different, then I will sing a bunch of random lyrics free form until I find something that I like. I build the song off the one line or stanza. Once I have a clear vision and the most of the lyrics down, I take what I have to my little studio and build the song from the ground up. There are many things that inspire me, but for the most part I am just searching for beauty and a way to communicate with like-minded people.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
That there is hope, there is wisdom out there, love is real and live now.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
The guys that have been playing with me the last few years are really easy to work with. They are amazing, humble, good ethical guys that are there to help support my vision. Not sure we’ve ever had a disagreement. Just gentle suggestions.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Plans in the future include putting out a real EP as I just put out my LP Lines, building a music studio in the forest and touring Europe. Spotlight wise, Summerfolk Music Festival. The line up is looking pretty amazing, and we have a stellar stage to play on this year.