CMJ 2015: Good Morning x Vinyl Mag

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Upon first glance, you might think Good Morning hails from New York City, with Katz’s Delicatessen proudly displayed on Stefan Blair’s sweatshirt. But then they open their mouths, and their Australian heritage is obvious. Vinyl Mag spent a great afternoon bantering with Good Morning’s Stefan Blair and Liam Parsons, who met in high school but have only been collaborating as Good Morning for one year. It’s been a busy year for the band, with the release of their first EP, Shawcross, their first CMJ experience, and Liam’s first visit to NYC.

Awesome chill sesh with #GoodMorning ✌️✌interview coming soon to vinylmag.org!

A photo posted by Vinyl Mag (@vinylmag) on

Vinyl Mag: What are the coolest things you’ve done in NYC this week? What else do you want to do while you’re here?

Liam Parsons: The city is good overwhelming. There’s so much going on.

Stefan Blair: We were on an amazing rooftop last night.

LP: Amazing view of uptown and downtown.

SB: We went to Best Pizza in Brooklyn the other night, that was pretty sweet. Katz’s was also awesome. Those are two highlights.

LP: I’ve really been enjoying the bagels.

VM: How long have you been together as Good Morning, and how did you name the band?

SB: About a year.

LP: This is the first thing we’ve decided to put out, and give it a name.

SB: We just play at home recording this stuff, because it’s interesting and fun to do, a good waste of your time. And then one day we had some songs, so we got a couple more friends to come; they play bass and drums when we play live.

LP: The name was meant to be a non-event, that makes you think of nothing at all. Just a common phrase. So that kind of worked, because now I’ve completely forgotten how we thought of it.

SB: There’s no terrific story behind it.

VM: When did you each get into music?

LP: I’ve been playing since I was a kid. I had a few bands in high school here and there. We were in another band in high school. It was pretty terrible.

SB: It was shit. I started playing piano when I was four.

LP: Your first song ever written was pretty good.

SB: I recorded a song, “Logic,” when I was six or seven years old. I still have the burned CD in my room, and it’s just basically a rip-off of Linkin Park’s “In the End.” It’s just me playing with a mini keyboard.

LP: Pretty forward-thinking for a child. It’s quite experimental.

SB: It’s just always been something we’ve messed around with, music and stuff.

VM: So, Linkin Park. Who else inspires you?

LP: Just anything, early 2000s.

SB: Baby Bash. I wasn’t so into “Numb/Encore.” That is where I began to lose interest in Linkin Park.

LP: I don’t know, we have heaps of influences. I don’t really know what we’d say would be the influence for this. I think most of our influences we don’t sound anything like.

VM: How do you describe your sound?

LP: I just call it pop music. Call it like rock ‘n roll. Every time we have like a cab driver ask us what type of music we play—

SB: They sort of stare at you with a look of confusion when you say ‘pop music’ though like, how can you make pop music with those guitars? I just call it pop music as well, but it’s sort of a vague term I suppose. It’s our idea of pop music.

VM: What’s the writing process like? How often do you get together to rock out?

LP: There’s not really any one set way. Some of them are like little one-minute ideas that either Stefan or I have thought up and bring back to the other person to work on together. Or some of it’s on the spot, we make stuff up. We don’t write as much as we should I suppose.

SB: It depends on the time of the year really. I’ve been working full-time at university, so I haven’t really had a chance to get days at a time when we can sit and do it and it’s nice to have that time to sit down and do it if you want to write and record stuff.

LP: It’s nice to isolate yourself sometimes.

SB: The last time we did that we recorded an EP down at Liam’s beach house in June or Julyish. We spent a week down there and just spent every day doing 13 hours of recording, and then you go home and forget about it, and it’s all done.

LP: We play shows most weeks. And we just hang out, I suppose.

VM: What are you working on right now?

SB: We just finished that EP, and there’s nothing really being worked on at the moment. There’s always like demos and stuff floating around, and sort of a backlog of ideas, which I suppose the plan is to go back and record an album over summer, see what happens.

LP: Winter’s not as fun to record in.

VM: Is this your first CMJ experience?

LP: It’s our first anything like this experience.

SB: We weren’t even playing shows at this time last year.

VM: What do you want to be doing a year from now with the band?

LP: Making records that I like. Something I’m proud of I suppose.

SB: Maybe have some more recording gear.

LP: As long as we can keep playing shows it’s worthwhile. I mean, it’s worthwhile because it’s fun. By this time next year, I don’t want to just fade away.

SB: We’ll keep doing as we usually do in Melbourne, just play shows. Record some music.

VM: If you weren’t a musician, what would you be?

LP: I always wanted to be a homicide detective. I don’t like cops, but I’d like to be a homicide detective.

SB: I don’t think I’ve ever referred to myself as a musician. I don’t really think of myself as a musician; I call myself a university student right now. That would technically probably be my employment. Or sandwich master. One of the two. If I wasn’t one of those things, I’d probably be much happier, because I don’t want to be either of those things, but music’s not the way to make any money or whatever so you have to do real life things, sadly.

VM: What are the coolest or craziest things that you’ve experienced as a band?

SB: Probably coming to NYC is definitely the coolest thing we’ve experienced.

LP: Yeah. This. And the dude that plays deputy Andy on Twin Peaks started following us on Twitter. That was pretty crazy.

SB: We had an Uber driver yesterday come back to the venue and return our bag whilst we were playing. He’s like, ‘You guys forgot your bag in the car!’ So that was pretty crazy, because I wouldn’t have expected somebody to do that, which is pretty nice. Maybe it’s a shame that we find that crazy, that somebody would be that nice.

VM: Is there anything you want the Vinyl Mag audience to know?

LP: I feel like I thought of a good answer to this the other day.

SB: I feel like I’ve never had a good answer to this.

LP: Don’t be a dick.

SB: Be nice to people.

VM: What advice would you give to young musicians trying to make a name for themselves?

LP: Think less about trying to make a name for yourself.

SB: Just do it if you enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy it, fuck it.

LP: It’s weird to watch people try to get famous and stuff. It sort of corrupts people.

SB: It defeats the purpose of playing music.

LP: Don’t feel like you have to do shit that other people do just because other people do it.

VM: If there’s one more tourist thing you could do in the city, what would you pick?

LP: Probably go to the top of the Empire State. I’m just addicted to views at the moment. Anything that can get me a good skyline.

SB: I’d like to ride a bike over the Brooklyn Bridge. That would be exciting.

LP: I haven’t been to Central Park yet.

SB: Museum of Natural History as well.

LP: I want to go to MOMA.

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