Self-proclaimed ‘new kids on the alt rock block’, Morale reached out to us to introduce themselves and ask us to check out their music. Hitting the band’s Spotify without expectation, my first reaction was ‘Holy shit! These guys are good!’. With only two singles under their belt so far (“Mirrors” and “Left For Dead”), Morale are two-for-two in terms of great songs. Intrigued and curious, I had to know everything about the UK based three piece that have ‘your new favourite band’ written all over them, despite their newness.
Who are the three of you?
Simon (Guitar/Vox), Josh (Bass), Toby (Drums). All Guildford boys.
Were you in previous bands?
Josh: Simon and I were in a band together years back. We were always jamming and writing bits growing up together but this is the first band we’ve all been a part of.
When did you form and what inspired it?
We formed at the beginning of 2018. We all lost sight of playing music over the years, getting consumed by our jobs and the ‘daily cycle,’ we all sort of lost touch and personally (Simon) lost my identity a bit. The idea behind this band was to help us remember what we’re about, and we like to think that comes across in our sound as it’s heavily drenched in nostalgia, but blended with a fresh and modern edge.
There’s hints of grunge inspiration (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) in your sound, as well as some more progressive and emotional influence. Tell me about your backgrounds in your own listening and the bands that got you into playing music.
Simon: In the early years, pop punk was what I was all about and what got me playing guitar (the classic basket case kid). At a very young age, I stumbled across Blink 182’s ‘The Urethra Chronicles’ on VHS in my sister’s room, which planted the seed for sure. I was lucky enough to grow up through the evolution and explosion of the 00’s music scene, so was always expanding through the years to newer and usually heavier vibes. I think it was the nu metal scene that really made me want to perform, and the post hardcore movement that developed my song writing. Today my main influences are Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Deftones and Jimmy Eat World. But bands on the scene today like Citizen, Basement, Can’t Swim and Teenage Wrist to name a few are a big inspiration to me too. Aside from my rock influences, I’m also a huge of 90’s east coast hip hop.
Josh: The first music I ever heard outside of the mainstream growing up was “Superman” by Goldfinger through playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, from there my horizons were broadened and I never looked back. I grew up listening to pop punk bands and bonded with Simon in art lessons over our love for Blink 182. From here I discovered bands like NOFX, Less Than Jake, Alkaline Trio and Jimmy Eat World and I guess this is where I first realised music could be more than just the music but also an expression of myself. Today my biggest influences are from bands like The Menzingers, Basement and Incubus.
Toby: Growing up the bands that got me into playing drums were Iron Maiden, Korn, Silverchair and Nirvana. From then till now my taste has broadened to reggae and funk, hip hop and dance music all the way through to tech death metal and most things in-between. So, inspiration comes in all forms for me.
I LOVE the way bass is prominent in your sound, and the dynamic of gentle singing through to more powerful choruses and soaring bridges (“Left for Dead” in particular). Is this Morale’s signature sound would you say?
Simon: It was what we had aimed for going into our recording sessions for sure, but this sound on record was heavily influenced by our choice in producer too, Oz Craggs (from Hidden Track Studios), who was incredible to work with.
Josh: As for the writing dynamics, yeah there is a trend for sure with regards to softer verses, building into powerful / in your face chorus’, it helps to create emotion and depth to the story I think. “The Left For Dead” bridge lyrically is kind of the epiphany/realisation so that ‘soaring’ vibe helps create that sense of positivity in moving forward from a bad situation for sure!
Can you tell us more about the intentions/meanings behind “Left for Dead” and “Mirrors”?
“Left For Dead”: This one may not be what it seems on paper. It may come across as if it’s written about the hurt of a broken/past relationship, but actually it’s about a drug. Toby (drums) had a heavy drug addiction for years, and after rehab, this band was the remedy to help progress away from it. This song is about how a drug can consume you, and corrode you physically and emotionally.
“Mirrors”: This song is inspired by technology and how we are all becoming blinded by social media, TV entertainment and Fake News, distracted from having your own thoughts and opinions, people are just becoming online marketing experiments.
What else can we expect from Morale with future music? Are you planning an EP/album?
Josh: We are planning on two further singles within our first 12 months, with some bonus bits along the way! And yeah just gonna hit the road and get in people’s faces!!
What’s the Morale ethos?
Make honest music. We’ve all been close friends for over a decade, been through our own experiences/issues and met on the other side, and I think that’s really helped create a very open and creative environment as a band. We end up spending half our band practices having ‘Joe Rogan’-esque chats about society, technology, past addictions, the ‘daily grind,’ aliens, all sorts, and that’s what we’re about really, sharing our perspectives and opinions with each other, knowing each other’s stories/feelings and expressing that openly in our music. We don’t try to fit any trends or act a certain way to fit in. We’re just making something we believe in.
Finally, what’s music mean to you?
Josh: As we’ve kind of talked about already, music was what got us all back together and helped us get back to what we love doing, away from all the day to day distractions. We see music as our ‘life spine’ basically, it’s the core!
Simon: Hearing people’s honesty through their music, learning more about someone you’ve never met by their musical expression, than someone you may have known your whole life, it’s powerful.
Listen to Morale!