Would you mind introducing yourselves and telling us what instruments you play?
We are Morning Lane, a 4-piece London based Indie/Rock band. We have Stephen on vocals and guitar, John (JW) on Lead Guitar, Ross on Bass and Jean-Marc (JM) on Drums and we all sing BV’s where we can!
ML released an album ‘Cry With a Smile’, (2006) by an earlier version of the band and there have been various EPs along the way.
Since the new line-up, we are due to release our first single/video ‘Everything to Everyone (E2e) this autumn!
How long has the current band line up been together?
John is the latest addition to the ML family. He came on board about 6 months ago, though ML has been around for about 4 years.
How did you meet each other?
We are all from different parts of the world, (Australia/France/Scotland/England) so this is not a story of 4 local boys who grew up together or went to school together or whatever, but for various reasons we all ended up in London and met through auditions and gigs.
Did you always want to be in a band?
Yes and No. We have all played in various bands for years but a while ago Stephen was a promising pro-footballer until gigs and late nights took their toll!
How long have you played your instruments?
JM has been playing drums for over 20 years, Ross on the bass for about the same. Stephen has been singing for about 12 years and John has been playing his axe for about 15 years.
What was your first instrument?
JM – recorder, Ross – flute, John – piano and Stephen – xylophone. That’s no joke!
What is your current equipment?
JM has a custom made Sonor kit.
Ross plays Lakland basses with an Ashdown amp and EBS pedals.
John uses a Taylor Solid Body electric with TC Electronics effects and a Fender Hot-Rod Deluxe amp.
Stephen has a Maton acoustic guitar from Oz.
We use Rotosound strings and Shure In Ear Monitors.
Are you self taught or did you have lessons?
We are mainly self taught, though JW has studied music at a college, but he doesn’t talk about it!
If you had an unlimited equipment budget what would be on your shopping list?
Hmm… not sure. Have never really thought along the lines of unlimited budgets. Is that the same as having a gazillion dollars?
Do you use the same equipment live as you do when in a studio?
Mostly, yes because we like to sound like the same band live as we do on recordings!
Do you record at a purpose built studio or do you record at home with portable digital equipment or pc/mac with audio software?
Both! 3 out of the 4 of us have Logic 8 on Macs at home so we get to record plenty of ideas and demos and send them to each other but when we want a serious recording or need to record drums, we go into a studio.
Which software do you use?
We all have Logic Studio 8 and use various out-board equipment - keep it real!
Do you have any new recordings planned?
YES!! We are in the process of recording our latest EP (out soon!) and are writing new tracks for a forthcoming album we will record next year.
The tunes you can hear on our MySpace page (www.myspace.com/morninglane) were demo tracks recorded by us but we have since gone to a studio and are at the mixing stage.
Do you find the process of recording enjoyable and does it get easier the more you do?
We LOVE recording, cos that’s where you can throw ideas around you know?
Every musical aspect of being in a band is enjoyable for us in a different way: writing, rehearsing, recording and playing live, thought there is a fair amount of hard graft that goes with it!
Do you try to capture your ‘live’ sound on recordings or do you think that the ‘live’ sound and recorded sound should be different experiences for your fans?
Our ‘Holy Grail’ is to capture the band’s feel and vibe on a recording - live or not and it’s more difficult than you might think!
We like to play with the arrangements a little when we play live to keep everyone on their toes, but we always give a fair representation of the recordings the fans have heard.
Do you any favourite tracks from your original material?
Ohh that’s a tricky subject... I think, naturally, we all have different favourite tracks but at the minute, a new track we have written called ‘How it Ends’ is a firm favourite for all of us - but you’ll have to wait for the album or come to see us live to hear it!
Do you have a favourite track that you do a cover version of?
Covers??? We’ve done all that! (we do jam some U2 occasionally) :-)
Who are the main song writers for the band?
Generally, someone will bring an idea to the table and we’ll go with it and see what happens. The great thing about this band is we all chip in.
Do you write songs only about personal experiences?
Mostly yes - there are some instances where reality and the imagination get all mixed up; kind of like a movie based on a true story!
Do you find song writing easy or difficult?
It seems to flow quite easily for us to be honest, although sometimes we might have a riff or a melody or even a whole song floating around for weeks before it’s finished.
Is there anyone who you would like to collaborate with on writing songs or performing?
We could be here for a very long time with this one...!
We occasionally collaborate with A. Guinness or Jack Daniels if things are going well...
Which countries would be at the top of your list to tour?
We’re all from different countries so we all would love to ‘conquer’ those but really, we’re not fussed where we tour as long as people love the music.
Who would you like to tour with?
Kings of Leon would be interesting....
Do you use any websites like ‘Reverbnation’ or ‘Soundclick’?
In fact, we do…we are on Reverbnation but we only just got on there. I think we shot up over 600 places up the charts in one day!
Sounds great but we are not sure exactly that means!
Do you think the internet overall is a good or bad thing for new artists?
Well, we feel that the internet has really changed the way the music industry works. In fact, not only music but a lot of other industries as well. It has certainly taken some of the power away from the record companies and allowed artists to be in direct contact with their fans, which is great. The only bad thing is that now anybody can put their music online so there is so much out there, it can be a little overwhelming for the average person to try to keep up with it all.
We can all become spam!
How did you come up with your name for the band?
When JM, the founding father of ML cam to the UK many moons ago, he lived in a small studio flat in Hackney in a street called... (Morning Lane!)
With all the various websites out there for independent and unsigned artists, is there still something that is missing from them that you think would benefit unknown artists?
Promotion, distribution and advertising. It is all very well and good having your music online somewhere but if no one knows you, it might as well be under your bed!
Would you sign with a major record company?
If it was a decent deal yes, but mainly for marketing, distribution and the clout a major company has. It would need to be beneficial for the band though, so we’re not so desperate we’d take the first thing that as offered to us.
How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t yet heard you?
We would stick some earphones in their ears and then ask them to describe it because, honestly, what does “Rock” mean? What does “Pop” mean? How would bands like U2 and Pink Floyd describe their music if we didn’t know them?
Who do you listen to or do when chilling out?
We have a MASSIVE range of music we listen to but we also listen to our own stuff too... we like it, that’s why we made it!
Have you ever entered any ‘battle of the bands’ competitions?
We don’t really dig those but we do play at showcases, one recently with JAR music.
We must have done OK because we have been asked back to play at the big showcase at the O2 Academy in Angel on 25 October.
What’s your best/worst experience at a gig?
The best was recently at the O2, Islington when everything was just perfect and the crowd was so up for it!
The worst... Ross broke his bass during the first song once, which was interesting but even that wasn’t really bad….it was just funny.
Do you get nervous before a gig? How do you calm down?
We practice hard so we are all pretty confident in ourselves and each other so we don’t get too nervous. We only get a good level of nerves; the type that makes you sharp and perform better.
Has your music been used on any film soundtracks?
Yes. There is a TV series called The Amazing Adventures Of A Nobody, which features a few of our tracks. It was aired on cable TV.
Is it something you’d like to get involved in if the opportunity came along?
We are definitely interested in this and feel that some of our songs really lend themselves to be used on commercials, TV series or movies, so yes, defo keen for more of that.