In case you’ve ever wondered what Morgan Page has got tucked neatly under his belt and why he’s so successful, well, he’s more than just a DJ and a top producer. As a matter of fact, aside from rocking out at shows around the globe, beyond just DJing, Morgan is also an artiste, a songwriter, and a radio presenter (for his “In The Air” radio show). Much can be said about the music that he puts out too, what with previously cinching 2 GRAMMY award nominations – a personal nomination for best remix with vocalist Nadia Ali and in 2009, his song was nominated for best remix (The Longest Road – Deadmau5 Remix).
Morgan made a pitstop in Singapore, to play at day 2 of The Freqender aka Godskitchen MEKANIKA as part of his Asia tour. Fortunately, we were able to catch him backstage at the event real quick before his set for an exclusive interview. Here’s what went down:
Hi Morgan. It’s good to see you!
Hey, it’s good to be here. How you doing? :)
Good! But you know, you’ve never played in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Any plans of coming by soon?
Yeah! People have asked me to come and I’ve heard a lot about Kuala Lumpur but I’ve never played. I’m always out in the West but you know what, I was real close to Kuala Lumpur a few days ago – I was in Phuket, Thailand for a little while. I know it’s not Malaysia. That’s Southern Thailand so I’m getting there. Kinda close! ;)
What were you looking forward most to when you knew that you were coming to play at this part of Asia?
I think..well, I just love Asia because it’s such a cool melting pot of different cultures and also, I love Asian food in general! I play a lot in the US so it’s really refreshing to get out and play in countries that has different cultures. I like to see different perspectives and explore the world because I love traveling.
The scene in the US is a lot different from anywhere in Asia though, right?
Yeah, it has gotten really good. It’s really good scene but it’s not quite as exotic or as fun as traveling.
So, the dance music sphere has evolved and now the spectrum is unbelievably huge! What have you, as an artiste or producer, done to adapt to that change?
You know, my sound has gotten a little bit more aggressive and it has got a little bit more of that EDM focus. It’s kind of what the crowds demand and when you play at main stage at festivals, you have to play a fairly aggressive set. But I try to play a real variety of stuff and try to integrate my music, you know..as music styles change, I need to keep my songs relevant so I do some special mashups or edits and bootlegs.
Oh yes, you’re known for your bootlegs and remixes!
Right :D So, when you only have an hour to play like tonight or at festivals, you gotta squeeze a lot of music in there. I still try to make it like a journey though – I want it to be kind of like a roller coaster ride of style and breaks and buildups and not just a flatline DJ set.
The last time you released an album was “In The Air” in 2012. What have you been working on between then and now?
The next album, which is done. We’d put it out now if we could but..so there’s new singles early 2015. I can’t reveal what it’s going to be called yet because it’s going to be a surprise ;) But, I can tell you this much – it’ll relate to solar power. That’s all I can say. I’ve got one song out right now that’s something I did with Carnage and it’s sort of a soft release. That’s the only sort of “EDM” track and the others are back to my usual style. You know, with strong female vocals and still club-by. There’s going to be a single called “Open Heart” with Lissie (singer on “The Longest Road”) and that’s going to be the main single off the album. The next one’s going to be called “No Ordinary Life” and that’s with Angela McCluskey (singer on “In The Air”).
Out of curiosity, what’s the production process like for you considering the fact that you travel so much?
(laughs) That is the eternal question! There really isn’t there much time on the road I mean, a lot of people ask me about that. Like tonight, we had maybe an hour at the hotel in total, and when I’m in the plane I’m either working on the my radio show called “In The Air” so I’m like working in the air on my podcast :D Or I’m sleeping and resting up. I definitely prefer to be back in my studio with big speakers and my gear. I do all the work because I don’t hire ghost producers and stuff. A lot of guys pretend that they do the work but in the back end, they hire some guy to do it. And then when they’re on the road they have like videos done that show them like, working on their laptops (laughs). Some guys work on the road and do get a lot of work done, but for me..I need to have my keyboard and big speakers. When you play out your new track, you wanna make changes to the build or the arrangement, that’s when it’s really helpful to have a proper setup. But for me, it’s just difficult to create stuff from scratch on the road. I *try* to do it and ideally I try to do one track a day.
And now back to the dance music scene – it has gone from the good old days of house, then the golden era of trance, and now it’s the Hardwell and W&W EDM sound. Where do you think it’s going next?
It seems like it’s going deeper but it’s hard to say. I’m curious too what with like guys like Kygo making it big. That’s actually a little too deep for me and little like elevator music but it’s cool stuff. I don’t know..to me, it’s important to have it just be songs, you know, to have it come back to really strong songs. You can wrap a song up in any way you want and present it in any kind of framework. I think that people are getting a little tired of getting hit over the head with the same hard stuff..
Like, “the drop”?
Yeah, because that’s all I’m going to be playing tonight (laughs). Kidding ;) But yeah, people are going to be hungry for something a little more. There are melodies and stuff but there has just been too much emphasis on energy right now. And some of the songs are too mellow for me to play and I can’t play them at a festival so I have to get a special remix done or a bootleg mix. It’s challenging because I try to focus on the song first and then figure out the energy later. But the dance floor demands a certain kind of energy which limits what you can do.
Final question for the road – DJ Mag. What do you think? Is it a popularity contest? Is it still relevant?
Um, yes..and no (laughs). I think for Asia, it’s important. I’ve never been in the Top 100 – doesn’t matter, because it doesn’t really seem to affect the shows. I think the music speaks for itself and I think the results have been really inconsistent! Like, there are a lot of really good DJs in there and then there are a lot of people that I’ve never even heard of, have never played in the US ever, and I’ve never heard their music. At least half the guys in the DJ Mag Top 100 are guys who are really good and deserve to be in there but then you have guys who are ahead of Kaskade that are like, warm up acts. I don’t think much of it because I just focus on touring and music.
And you do keep putting out good music ;) Thanks so much for speaking to us, Morgan.
Thank you! :)
We’ll leave you now with the new Morgan Page song “We Receive You” featuring Carnage and Candice Pilay, which debuted at TomorrowWorld 2014.
Special thanks to our awesome friends from The Freqender for making the above interview happen!