We like guys that put up with being made fun of for liking techno... and go on to make some incredible electronic music of their own. From rural Vermont to your speakers... DJ/Producer MORGAN PAGE got snapped up by Nettwerk Records to release his debut album ELEVATE. The unique record is a hybrid of remixes and original songs, a 12-song collection that seamlessly weaves the highlights of Page’s prolific production career (80 remixes so far!) with his own organic, melody driven tunes. Page has quickly become one of the most sought after house producers. His remixes for marquee artists (Angie Stone, Delerium, Stevie Nicks, Nelly Furtado and more) consistently land at the top of the Billboard Club Play charts, including three number one hits in 2006 alone.
Facts aside, we wanted to know more about Morgan himself!! So now its time for one of our exclusive email interviews...
JW: Hi!!! First off, who all is typing the answers to these questions today?
Morgan Page: Morgan here, live and direct from my hotel room in Miami.
How did you get into composing music at such a young age, being that you grew up in rural Vermont?
I first heard electronic music on the local college radio station at the University of Vermont, and it blew my mind. There were no ipods or music blogs then - it was much harder to discover great music, especially in an isolated jam band town. I remember reading Rolling Stone and buying the CDs that got great reviews and being so pissed at how bad they were. I started young because I just got the 'bug' early and had the arrogance to think I could make better music than I was hearing at the clubs and the radio. :)
I remember taping these college mixshows and everyone giving me shit for liking "techno." At that time in Vermont, it wasn't cool to like music that wasn't classic rock, jam bands, or hip-hop. I played guitar with my friends and did a few little band things, but they never evolved into anything. It was such a chore to create a band when you could just build a studio and do your own thing.
What kind of music did you play on your college radio shows?
Progressive house, breaks, drum 'n bass - everything electronic. I would do 6 hour marathon shifts when DJs would flake out on their time slots. Those were some of my favorite moments.
What was the first song you remixed?
The Home & Garden "Innocent" remix, which featured Colette. I'll never forget the rush of staying up all night working on that mix - it was the beginning of many endless nights and here I am, about 80 remixes later.
What was the first song you ever produced and can we listen to it somewhere?
Maple Grooves - which I signed with Fiji Records, the label I was interning for. The sound has changed a bit since then! the old stuff is much deeper, but I think it's important for your sound to evolve and keep changing.
When you write music, what inspires you?
The outdoors, relationships, and travelling. A big part of the artwork for Elevate - the new album, reflects this love.
You have to get outside and enjoy yourself a bit when you're stuck in the studio or a smoky nightclub for most of your work day. Music inspires music, naturally - so I like catchy chord progressions, harmonies, and chunky beats. Music that doesn't 'move' you is a waste of everyone's time - so I really try to make an effort to instill some emotion into everything. It can be a bit subjective, but when you listen to enough music to critique it well, I think you just know when a song has that certain 'something' that makes it stand out from the pack.
What kind of gear are you using now?
Pro Tools and Logic software, Sound Toys plug-ins, Moog Synths, Dave Smith synths, Ultrasone headphones, and the Allen & Heath Xone 3D. I've always been a fan of M-Audio gear, and I just started recording vocals with their Sputnik tube microphone. I also use Studio Projects mics.
Tell us a story about Elevate.
Well - here's a bit of random trivia. If you flip to the inside page of the album, there is a mountain range behind me in the photo that nearly killed us one night - on a seperate day from the photo shoot. We got lost in the dark, bushwacking on a hike from hell out in Devil's Punchbowl (on the edge of the Mojave and the San Gabriel mountains) and we literally almost never made it back. Those rocks are huge! Also - as we were finishing the photo shoot, the rangers were threatening to lock us in the park - so we had to grab the last few minutes of light, snap a bunch of photos and wrap up quickly. Luckily - we got out.
How did you end up collaborating with Lissie, Tyler James, Camila Grey, and Matt Wasley?
Lissie was suggested to me by JT Griffith who used to work at Nettwerk (he now heads up music at Nike). He played me a bunch of vocalists that were OK - until I heard a track by her and I said "wait! - who is this girl? let's get her in the studio. There are tons of amazing vocalists, but they need that distinctive edge. Lissie's got the pipes and a bit of Stevie Nicks sawdust that gives her a vibe all her own. I heard Tyler James play at Hotel Cafe in Hollywood (another pick by JT), Camila was suggested by the A&R at Nettwerk, and Matt is friend of mine.
What would is something that would make you grin the biggest smile ever?
When I hear one of the songs on the radio, that always gives me a big smile. Also - when you hire someone to remix your song and they just nail it - that's a thrill.
What else you have going on right now aside from promoting your album?
I'm in the middle of the next album - a proper 12 tracker. I really want to shake things up. I'm tired of hearing these 'filler' electronic albums, where the only good song is a cover or everything is just squashed and distorted Seriously - I think people need to up the ante. (now, watch me go record 3 covers for the album)
Tell us what you have coming up in the future too!
Oh, the usual top secret remixes. i'm turning down a lot of remixes actually to focus on my originals... so expect releases under an alias coming out on my own label Nuance Recordings later this year. Next up is mainly touring to support this album, so look out for a U.S. and international tour.
Anything else you'd like to say?
I'm really proud of this album and very excited for people to check it out. Very much looking forward to touring and meeeting the fans - the reaction to the single "The Longest Road" has been enormous! The feedback is very encouraging and inspiring. Thanks for the inteview!
Thank you!! :)