The ClubPlanet Interview: Morgan Page

The ClubPlanet Interview: Morgan Page

by DJ Ron Slomowicz

Morgan Page launched the incredibly successful MPP3D tour last year which brought a multidimensional nightlife experience all over the country.   His ears for rising talent (Audien, Beltek, Maor Levi, Project 46, Topher Jones, and Walden) matched his vision for the groundbreaking journey.  Busy in the studio working on a new album (and a new book), we caught up with him at the Winter Music Conference where he played the opening night at the gorgeous new Adore nightclub. 

RS: How is the new album coming?
Morgan Page: It’s great, we finally have some serious headway on it. I have 10 songs now and I just have to finish the tracks and find the right framework for all these songs. It’s cool, it’s going to be a real wide range of collaborators but I can’t really reveal anything yet. I am kind of superstitious about the details but it is going to be a clubbier-sounding record but still very much a vocal record.

RS: When you say we who are you referring to? Do you have help with the production, how does that work?
Morgan Page: I always say we just because I don’t want to say I for everything. I do all of the production work, but there may be some outside mixers- but no ghostwriters or anything like that. I do everything and have been working with different writers and instrumentalists, so it is definitely a team effort.

RS: With “Your Love” you updated the classic Outfield rock song, is there anything else like that on the album?
Morgan Page: On the album everything else will be totally original. I am debating whether or not to have that be part of the album because I kind of wanted something that is 100% original. It is going to be a poppy album  which wasn’t my intention, but that’s just the way that things ended up happening with the songs. It is going to have some familiar voices, don’t worry I am not going to bring Justin Bieber or anything!

RS: Is it going to be like BT’s latest album?
Morgan Page: It’s hard to say what you would compare it to but I would say that it will fit in with the Zedd, Swedish House Mafia, and Calvin Harris kind of world.

RS: Speaking about being in that kind of world, how much pressure is on you to achieve that kind of success? Zedd has a Top 10 Hit and Calvin Harris is #1, is your label trying to push you to do that kind of thing as well?
Morgan Page: Yeah, there is always pressure to have success with the tracks. It depends on how you define success; it’s interesting because success is changing. Obviously download purchases are a big deal, but it is moving more towards streams and how many people are listening, how many video views it has, and things like that. I just try to write music that I love and hope that those get a good push and I get out there. Nettwerk is an independent label and they do things a little differently than the majors. Pretty much every major act that you are looking at right now is with a major label, everyone from Avicii to Zedd to Swedish House Mafia and Calvin Harris. The only exception that I would say is Kaskade, he is label-less and according to him, he is done with Ultra, Atmosphere was the last album.

RS: The landscape is definitely changing.  Talking about getting your music getting out there, congratulations on the major success of the MPP3D tour. If you do it, what did you learn from this tour to change differently next time?
Morgan Page: Thank you.  We learned a lot.  It is hard to convey what the show is like by just talking and tweeting about it. After a couple of shows everyone wanted to go see it and the buzz was crazy. We got it dialed in pretty good on the first show but now we know that we need to only choose venues that we can have our biggest screens at, as some venues couldn’t fit the set up in. We had really good supporting acts and I don’t think that I would do anything differently with that but I want to go bigger, make the screens bigger, and to develop more custom content that can be generated on the fly. It is very expensive technology and we would have to bring in more sponsors and things like that later on. We may do fewer shows, there were about 55 shows and in order to really make each one work we’d have to do less.

RS: What was it like living on the bus?
Morgan Page: It was great, I thought that it would be a nightmare but it was amazing. I didn’t think that I was going to be able to sleep on the bus but I got some of the best sleep of my life. It was a fun way to do it and it was a good way to mix up all the flights.

RS: What kind of collaborations do you think will come out of the tour? You had four other producers with you; have you collaborated with them on a track for your album? 
Morgan Page: We started a few tracks but it was really tough to get things done on the road, I thought it would have been a little easier. Project 46 and Walden did a track which was cool. I did a few remixes, but I really prefer to be in that isolated space in the studio. Maybe in the future I will work with those guys. 

RS: If you were to do the tour again what new guys would you bring with you?
Morgan Page: I think that a lot of the guys tonight would be good choices. Audien was along for the tour, and I would like to bring him along again and guys like Paris & Simo and Dubvision. There are a lot of young Dutch producers that are doing great things and it is hard to keep track of it all right now. 

RS: How do you do that with all of the music coming out, how do you filter through everything?
Morgan Page: I have my favorite artists on my Beatport app, I have to use filters and apps and I also need people to help sort stuff for me. I have an assistant who helps me sort all the promos but it is a lot. I think that it’s funny because the quality is so good but the only problem that we are running into is that the records are getting a little homogeneous. There is a lot of good stuff but it is just sounding very similar, it is a good time to sound different. 

RS: What is your take on the Nu-House movement and the UK scene with the ‘90s house music coming back? 
Morgan Page: It’s cool; I didn’t know much about it until I listened to Duke Dumont’s stuff and it’s really good. It’s not this lo-fi deep house stuff that has been popular, it is full production and big kick drums. I have really been admiring Duke Dumont lately and the stuff that has a little edge to it. I like stuff on the BBC like Clean Bandit who are more left and center and a little poppy.

RS: What have you heard lately that sounds different to you and excites you?
Morgan Page: I have been listening to a lot of stuff outside of the genre and kind of rediscovering stuff. I like Deniz Koyu who is a little left of center in the progressive house world and he is excited about making music that is different. There is a lot of stuff that has the big chords, the big breaks and drops, and it sounds very similar.  A small handful of guys like Hardwell and Showtek are doing it very well and we need to let them do it. 

RS: In your sets, how much of it is your own production versus other peoples’ music?
Morgan Page: It is an interesting mix because sometimes I take my vocals and put them over other tracks to keep them current. My music is usually a minimum of a third of the music. I like to play a wide variety of stuff and people come to see you and your music and usually it is a good balance of both. 

RS: What is your take on “producers must DJ and DJs must produce?"
Morgan Page: I think a lot of DJs are producers that economically have to perform and they want to spend more time in the studio. I really like to do both but I think that the hardest work is in the studio other than the travel and the grind of traveling. They both feed each other; it is a yin and yang kind of thing. You can’t really tour if you don’t have anything to promote or any music out there that is spreading your name, people will forget about you pretty quickly. Nowadays a hit will only last 6 months or a year, so you have to produce to DJ and DJ to produce because the DJing informs the production and you end up changing the way that you make music. 

RS: I wanted to ask you about the tech issues you've been tweeting about lately.
Morgan Page: Any time you are an early adaptor of technology you are going to have some bugs. These days, so much is reliant on technology and everything in my house is controlled by my iPhone, we had tech issues, but everything has been smoothed out. Everything from the solar panels to security systems to cameras is in an app, which is crazy. Regarding the new computer, I got one of the earlier ones and wiped out some drives, it was scary, but thankfully it was backed up, you need to definitely back your stuff up. You just have to be prepared, there is not much of a silver lining but just don’t rush to upgrade to anything. It is good information for my MP Quick Tips book that I will be finishing after my album is done. It is tips on productions and a survival kit for making music. A lot of it is about creating good ideas but now especially with backups and things you have to be able to save those ideas.

RS: You're working on a book?
Morgan Page: My book should hopefully be done by the end of the year; right now my main focus is on the album though. 

Interview conducted during Winter Music Conference 2014.

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