Jacket – Mary Katrantzou Pants – Daniel Patrick Earring – Cuchara
Morgan Saint was born into a creative life. Upon growing up in Mattituck, NY with a family of musicians on her mother’s side and parents who worked in interior design, Saint graduated from Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, where she has lived for the past six years. With a major in illustration and a focus on photography and graphic design, Saint has executed a clear vision of her musical artistry.
In 2017, at the age of 23, Saint released her debut EP, 17 Hero, on Epic Records. She is a storyteller at heart, combining all of her talents to reveal her narrative as truthfully as possible, one vignette at a time, as seen in all three of the EP’s videos, “Glass House”, “You”, and “Just Friends”. She co-produced each glossy, beautifully choreographed, and high-definition clip with Nathan Crooker, but the lyrics are all hers. They come from personal places yet are vague enough to be relatable. Her electronic pop is lo-fi, but you’ll most likely find yourself snapping your fingers to it.
As Saint prepared for a sold-out show supporting Missio in Austin, Texas, Georgie connected with her to discuss coming into her own as a songwriter and person, developing confidence along with finding inner peace, the significance of the number 17, and moving on from the past.
G—Did you begin making music yourself before you started pursuing illustration, photography and graphic design?
Morgan Saint—I started taking piano lessons when I was eight. I’m like a typical Aries, and I have no patience when it comes to learning new things. I just want to be good at something immediately. So when I sat down to practice, I would never end up practicing what I was supposed to, and I’d end up making my own music. I think that’s what led me to songwriting without even knowing it. And then, as I got older and I had more to say, I did a lot of writing lyrically, or more poetically, I guess, and then I paired what I was writing with the music that I was making on the piano. Through high school, I was writing music and pursuing it on the side but not as seriously because I think the music thing seemed a little farfetched for me, so I focused my interest more so on the visual arts. But once I graduated college was when I really was going through a transitional time … I just ended up focusing my energy on music sort of to get me through that time.
G–You’ve mentioned making a major self-discovery a year ago. Is that something you’re able to discuss?
MS—It’s not really anything specific. In the last few years, I’ve just really spent a lot of time with myself and tried to understand myself, as cliché as that may sound. It’s really a matter of just finding an inner peace and confidence that I think is hard when you’re in high school and surrounded by your peers. I’ve always felt like I was a little bit different in the sense of how I thought and saw things in the world, and I think you can easily feel like an outsider or a little bit lonely in that sense. It’s just been a matter of learning to love myself, as silly as that sounds. In doing that and finding that inner peace I think comes just so much natural confidence to do the things that you want to do. I think half of the reason I’m doing what I’m doing now is just because I took the time to figure myself out.
G—And the lucky number 17? How long have you considered that your lucky number?
MS—I think since high school. One, it oddly pops up in my life literally everywhere. I have met so many people along my life journey – my short life journey – that I’ve become really close to and find out that their lucky number is 17 for whatever reason. So it’s kind of a weird way that I feel connected to some people that are really close to me. In addition to that, two important people in my life who’ve passed away have birthdays on the 17th. I’m not religious at all, but I’m really into energy and spirituality and symbols. I’m sort of fascinated by numerology, and it’s shown itself a lot in my life.
G—It sounds like over the last few years, coming into your own and discovering who you are, you’re a pretty confident person. Is that accurate to say?
MS—When it comes to my vision and the story that I’m trying to tell and the authenticity behind it, that’s an area in my life where I’m very confident … I’m very specific and very hands-on in making sure everything is exactly accurate to the story I’m trying to tell. I want everything to feel as raw and honest as possible, and I feel like if I’m involved in doing everything, that’s the only way it can be communicated that clearly.
G—You also had no background in dance before you made that video for “You”. Did making it make you want to learn how to dance? You do so many different types of arts but not dance.
MS—The way I move in that video is completely not the way I move onstage. That was just fascinating. [Laughs] I don’t really consider it to be dancing as much as it was just interpretive abstract movement, but I mean, I love body movement, and I think it’s something that I really have come into my own onstage; my movements and my energy reflect the music I’m performing. It all comes together. But no, I’ve never had any dance lessons. It’s something that I would love to pursue one day. It’s on my list of things.
G—Finally, I want to ask about the video for “Glass House”. This is you symbolically setting fire to your past, letting it go. It’s a very strong statement about your personal growth. Has letting go of your past helped you be less sentimental about things now?
MS—There are always gonna be things that happen in your life that you need to come to terms with and let go of in order to move forward and be happy. I think that’s always the biggest challenge in life. And it takes effort. I’m an emotional person, so taking the time and energy to figure out a way to move past things that have happened in order to move towards brighter days is important and something that I strive to do.
A few years ago, Danielle McTaggart was ready to throw in the towel on her music career. Now she and her husband, Drew, make up the powerhouse duo known as Dear Rouge and have two full-length albums and a Juno to their name. Known for their hook-driven tracks—and being “the nicest couple in Canadian music”—Dear Rouge just dropped their sophomore LP, Phases. The record recounts a season of emotional extremes for the couple, including winning the 2016 Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, and losing a loved one. We caught up with Danielle over the phone to talk about finding joy in music again, and the personal and public significance of Phases. G—On your website, you describe your style as “sinewy, hook-driven indie rock”. Where did that particular style evolve from? DM—I was always very into hook-y music with beautiful melodies. I grew up listening to The Carpenters and they have beautiful melodic parts, but I also always loved harder music and really rock-driven music. Bands like Metric or Yeah Yeah Yeahs or St. Vincent were hugely motivating for me, and I loved that these frontwomen were powerhouses. They’re very confident and trying to push the boundaries while
What do you get when you combine the start of a worldwide tour and the release of a highly-anticipated album on the same day? Ask Lord Huron’s founder and frontman, Ben Schneider, and he’ll say a pretty damn exciting journey ahead. The band’s third album, Vide Noir, released April 20, is already receiving accolades for its raw, lyrical storytelling from songs like “Wait by the River” and “When the Night is Over”. To engage fans at a deeper level, the band plans on creating immersive experiences that elevate the album’s narratives. Lord Huron’s tour includes a stop at Toronto’s Sony Centre on July 25, and at Osheaga in Montreal on August 4. Schneider spoke to us about his love of storytelling, Raymond Chandler influences, and what it was like working with Flaming Lips’ producer David Fridmann. G—You grew up in Michigan. Is that where your interest in music began? BS—There was always music on at our house, and I remember imagining the people the songs were about. The storytelling of songs is what’s always captured me most. As time went on, I was able to convince my parents to let me play bass in the orchestra, which led to me
Listening to any track on EDEN’s debut album, vertigo, is like visiting your favourite city for the fiftieth time except nothing is quite where you remember it. The hotel is on the river, not by the park, and city hall is upside down. The Dublin-raised singer/songwriter/producer who began his career as The Eden Project, melted the best of indie, hip hop, and electronica into 13 deconstructed tracks for vertigo. Following two successful EPs, a shout-out from Lorde, and mid-way through the vertigo world tour, we caught up with EDEN to talk about his new record, and the musical evolution that brought him to it. G—From The Eden Project to the EPs to vertigo, you’ve had some pretty big changes in style. Does it feel that way to you or does it just kind of feel like you’re constantly evolving? E—I definitely see that. There are similarities [between I think you think too much of me and vertigo]—my voice still sounds the same (laughs) and there are various instruments that I just like using—but it’s about progression for me. I could never be someone to make End Credits 2 or something like that. It’s not interesting to me to stay