Interview | July 14, 2016
I Am Not Afraid, I’m Terrified: An Interview With Morgxn


Morgxn (1)

Morgxn’s debut single, “love you with the lights on,” was released last month in the way that most artists only dream of: it was premiered by Zane Lowe on Beats 1. Since then, it’s already racked up over 40,000 streams on Soundcloud, there’s been a remix by monsieur adi and we’ll be getting another one by Savoir Adore in a few days. Over the coming weeks, Morgxn will start releasing more singles off his upcoming EP. Needless to say, it’s all kicking off for Morgxn, so we sat down for a chat over skype.

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So what does this moment feel like, after you’ve just released your first single?

Morgxn: I’m just starting to see it connect with people, which is really exciting! People are sharing the song, posting videos, dancing to it. It’s just so cool that something that I made in my bedroom can be shared across the world. To see it connect with people is really special.

 

I saw that your label is called Wxnderlost, can you tell us more about that?

M: I felt kind of lost as a musician in this world, not knowing how to find my voice. I sort of gave up trying to find my place and surrendered to the adventure of it all. Being lost is the starting point. From there, all of this music was part of the adventure of finding myself. “Love you with the lights on” was really the first, the anchor of the whole record.

 

When’s the EP coming out, by the way?

M: Well I’m gonna start by just putting out a few singles, because, as a new artist, I want to give people a chance to digest each song. We just shot the music video for “love you with the lights on,” which is going to come out in a few weeks. I’ve got another remix coming out this week, with my friend, Savoir Adore. He’s been working on his record, but he took some time to remix “love you with the lights on,” and that’s going to come out this week.

 

The concept of challenging society’s view of beauty seems to be at the root of the single, and people seem to be responding to that. Do you think of the song as standing for that idea?

M: I think of it as an anthem. It, to me, is about what it means to connect on a deeper level. It’s really awesome to see it received in the way that you’ve been talking about it. It really means a lot to me to be able to share something so personally and for it to be received with the personal message that it has.

When I wrote it, the first thing that came out, when I sat down at the piano was: “You only love me with the lights off.” Writing that down and saying that aloud was kind of sad – it was a conclusion that I didn’t deserve to be loved fully, as if I only deserved a shade of it. But when I kept working at it, it became “love you with the lights on.” It inspired me. It became something I needed to tell myself, something I needed to remind myself.

I think it’s a really difficult time in society, to put on a brave face and make a decision to spread positivity. Because it’s really easy to fall prey to the awful events that are happening in our world.

Even talking to your right now, and I’ve never met you, the fact that you touch on beauty, that’s the sort of conversation I want to have with my friends, with myself, with people: what does it mean to love, and what does it mean to live in a world where we’re all together as one.

 

I was wondering about the ‘you’, does that refer to anyone in particular?

M: I think when I started, with “You only love me with the lights off,” it was with a very specific person in mind. But when it became “Love me with the lights on,” it became more about a hope for myself, that I’ll find that person who lights me up and sees the light in me.

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So about that specific person…?

M: I don’t think they know.  [Mxrgan points to the books on his coffee table.]

I spend a lot of time writing. I usually have a journal and a book and I spend a lot of time writing. I like looking out [he turns his camera to show me the other people at a coffee shop] at people living their lives, connecting in some way. I feel a bit like a voyeur.

I guess it kind of sounds like I’m a weird peeping tom. I don’t mean it like that, I mean I get inspired by my surroundings. Wxnderlost was a journey of writing and recording. I’m from Nashville originally, I grew up singing gospel, gospel choirs. I was the chubby Jewish kid, who had a huge voice, who was singing in gospel choirs since the time he found out that he could, which was, like, when he was 6. But I live in L.A. and I feel very inspired from my childhood, from the fact that I’m from Nashville, that I lived in New York, that I lived in Chicago, that I live in L.A. now. I get inspired by my childhood. I get inspired by moving around, not standing still.

 

It sounds like it hasn’t been a direct route.

M: Totally, the journey of finding out who you are is the most important journey you can take and it will take your whole life. I feel like “love you with the lights on” and these songs that I’ve just finished mixing, I feel that they’ve taken me a lifetime to say. To feel comfortable enough in my skin to say what I’m about to say with this music. Or, what my hope is for this music.

 

Since it’s been quite a long journey, this point must be pretty terrifying. This must feel like a turning point, you’ve put your voice out there and now you’ve just got to sit back and see what happens.

M: I think I’m just, for the first time, I’m embracing that. There’s a song called “Submarine,” and it’s actually the intro to the record, the first line of that song is “I am not afraid, I’m terrified”. I’m embracing that fear for the first time, and not running from it and trying to love with the lights on, metaphorically and literally. I’m just excited, I’m about to go on tour with Great Good Fine Ok. Playing great shows, connecting with great people, like yourself, it doesn’t matter what part of the world you’re in, I’m just excited to connect with people.