Mark Morriss, singer of 90’s indie favourites The Bluetones, is releasing his fourth solo album, Look Up, in September, through the brilliant Reckless, Yes record label. Today, we at God Is In The TV are privileged to be premiering the first single from the record, ‘All The Wrong People‘.
Inspired partly by the orange, peroxide blonde spunk trumpet himself, Donald Trump, ‘All The Wrong People’ evokes Stevie Wonder’s ‘Higher Ground’ with the liquid ‘Wah Wah’ pedal verses but kicks into a mass singalong chorus that meant this cut leant itself perfectly to the first single release.
Due for release on 26th July from all good digital outlets but available to stream exclusively on GIITV below, we caught up with Mark to quiz him about the single, the new LP and the journey to its full release.
So Look Up is your fourth studio album but third of your own songs, do you write differently for yourself as opposed to when you wrote more recently for The Bluetones?
The process for writing my own material as opposed to work with the
band couldn’t really be more different.
When writing for the band I tend to sketch things, allowing a bit of space for the songs to change and grow as we all add our ideas. It’s always been a very collaborative process with The Bluetones, whereas when I make my own albums I’m coming up with all the parts and arrangements myself. Which is paradoxically both more freeing and also more pressurised.
Look Up was originally being released through Pledge a few years ago. Did you have any of the problems that others went through before they pulled the plug?
Luckily for me, my association with Pledge Music was all over long before they had their troubles. The stories I’ve heard since though have been both saddening and infuriating. In an industry like our where so many business relationships are built on trust, what happened at Pledge was extremely damaging.
You released the covers album “A Taste of…..” in 2015 and I heard
it was because you were struggling with a bit of writers block that you
decided to do it. Was that a main influence in how Look Up ended up
I can’t say that ‘The Taste Of…’ had any direct influence on the sound of Look Up at all. If anything it’s more of a companion piece to ‘A Flash Of Darkness’. It’s true that I was experiencing a certain amount of writer’s block at the time, and the process of deconstructing others’ material was a gateway back into the process, but on reflection I think it was just as important for me at the time to simply get back into the recording studio, and have a bit of a mess around.
Brexit does seem to have been a catalyst for the unblocking. It seems
to be infiltrating a lot of people’s lyrics in direct and abstract ways.
You have tended to use metaphors in your lyrics which have made them
poetic and like prose. Do you write lyrics like a poem initially?
I tend to write songs in patches rather than all in one go, which is to say that I tend to write ‘parts of songs’, and then come back to them over the period of a few weeks. Adding, taking bits away… the night of the Brexit vote and indeed the following morning, when the result came in, was obviously a time that shook me up somewhat, and led to a bit of a burst of creativity on my part.
I’m not generally a political writer, and I would argue that the songs on Look Up which were influenced by that time are more a philosophical reaction to what happened. How it felt like my country, my home, was no longer a place I recognised.
Has there been many changes from how Look Up originally came together? Have there been re-writes or changes in the track list?
No, none… I was in no hurry to finish this record, so it wasn’t like I had things I was uneasy with going into the public domain. Gordon (the producer) and myself took a considerable amount of time on Look Up, and it only got shared with others when it was done. No half measures or impatience on our part.
All the Wrong People is about Donald Trump but the music is very
upbeat. Was that a deliberate paradox between something so awful and and joyful?
To say that ‘All The Wrong People’ is about Trump is probably giving
him too much credit, but his whiff is certainly about it. As I said before, I’m not really a political writer at all, nor would I really want to be, but there is definitely a lot can be drawn from mining the seam of absurdity which follows that oaf around.
Did you record it all yourself or with other musicians? Was Mike
Wilton from the Standard Lamps involved?
About 90% of the record was recorded just by Gordon and myself, and we’d invite friends in to record solos and ‘speciality’ overdubs for the parts that required a little more finesse. Mike Wilton from Standard Lamps does indeed feature again (he pops up on ‘The Taste Of…’ too), and a wonderful job he does too. There are friends of mine who’ve recorded piano, sax, trombone, electric guitar and synths for this record in the bits where my ham-fisted approach wouldn’t have been enough and only the experts will do.
The live session with Mike at Maida Vale for Steve Lamacq on 6Music
was brilliant it really brought the songs a new dimension, are you
planning to tour with him at all?
We will definitely be playing more shows together in the future. He’s
a pretty busy fellow at the best of times, but we often do little gigs together. He’s such a fantastically soulful player, it’s always a dream sharing a stage with him and being elevated by his skills.
As Look Up was originally released back in 2017, are you already in
the position to record or release another album?
Not right away… Gordon is in the process of building a new studio, so until that gets completed I’m going to have to put everything on ice for a bit.