Abbie Morin 17 February 2016 on Rocket Shop
Words by TOM PROCTOR. Photo by JAMES LOCKRIDGE.
Spunky, spiritual, honest and poetic Abbie Morin pours her soul and experience into every strum and every line, taking the listener into her realm to show off the colourful tapestry that makes up her world. Tied to no genre in particular she takes a little rock, a little folk, a little jazz and a little pop and mixes it together with reckless abandon, changing the formula and tones around to suit her moods and deliver the message she wishes to dispense.
In the studio with fellow songwriter, collaborator, spiritual guide and guitarist Thomas Pearo, we speak spirit animals, homecomings, family and baby turtles in Virginia:
Tom Proctor: You’ve just come off a 34 show tour in 16 states and poised to do your homecoming gig at Nectar's. How are you guys feeling?
Abbie Morin: We’re very excited. We actually finished the tour a couple of months ago and since then we’ve been holed up in New Jersey. We’ve had a bit of rest and relaxation, taken some time to recharge the batteries and have started to work on some of our new music. My partner Jenna has a family owned ocean-side beach house in New Jersey so we’re hunkered down there. Tom has his studio set up at the house so we’ve taken this opportunity to pen down some of our thoughts following our journey and we’ve been gathering our wits in order to get ready for our big home coming gig.
TP: So it’s one big happy family down in New Jersey. How has the wintery beach side environment affected your creativity?
Thomas Pearo: It's definitely been a dream to watch the ocean come in every day. I make a point to walk on the beach each day for a couple of hours. I’ve always wanted to find a place in the off season, I love doing things that are directly opposite. I love singing Christmas songs in the summer, I love drinking margaritas in the winter. It’s been proving to be quite successful, I wanted to create new processes that inspire different types of music and this seems to be effective.
TP: Do you find any ocean themes, or even nautical themes creeping into your music?
AM: (Laughs) I don’t know about nautical themes per se but definitely the energy and constant rhythm of the waves have been a big influence. The ocean does show up in some of my songs, but no sea shanties yet (laughs.)
TP: You guys are prolific in your song creation. While on tour you recorded a couple of tracks and since coming back you’ve already got started on your next project. How did writing on tour affect the creative process?
AM: I didn’t do a whole lot of writing while on tour, it was a huge input period and I tried to be accepting of that in the moment. There was little snippets here and there where I got ideas, but it wasn’t until I was able to just be still for a minute that all the ideas started flooding in. Tom on the other hand managed to jot a few things down while we were travelling.
TPed: I wrote a couple of things on tour. I remember being there for a couple of weeks and expecting the experiences to manifest itself into ideas but that didn’t happen for a while. We were halfway through our tour and I was feeling exhausted and frustrated that nothing had come out yet but the next day we were in Salt Lake City at a couchsurfing house, I just took my amp into the kitchen and a whole song emerged fully formed from that session. It sounded just like our journey. The bulk of the writing has come in the past couple of months though. Now we’ve had time to reflect on our experiences, we’ve brought all the bits and pieces together and formed them into coherent stings of logic and thought.
AM: I have to be really isolated when I write, i'm not the type of person that can freestyle lyrics. My background is in poetry so the lyrics really come from those poetic roots. Best case scenario i'm sitting on a computer and working out the words in silence. It's not so easy to find that space while you're on the road.
TP: Is there any stops on your tour that were particularly memorable?
TPed: I really loved Richmond Virginia. There's a balance of nature there, you’re right on the edge of natural beauty. The population is around 200,000 and there’s about million the greater area so there’s enough venues that you could play every night to a different audience. Plus it's right on the St James so we’d go swimming in the river in beautiful 70 degree where the baby turtles swam in the water. We stayed with our friend Lucy Dacus, she’s really inspiring, super talented and just really nice so that made the experience that much better.
AM: I loved Wyoming. It was where my mum grew up but i’d never really been out there. It was really interesting - I felt that I had the magic of the west, that cowgirl mentality, I've always felt it creeping into my life in different aspects but I never really understood it cos id never been there. I spent some valuable time with my mums brother and his family for the first time. It was a puzzle piece in my life that i'd spent a long time thinking about so it was really special to be there. We played a show and it was so cool to share what I do with my family whom I’d just met.
TP: Did you pick Wyoming for a your date due to that family connection there?
AM: Totally. Well that and it’s also right in the middle, man. We were gonna have to go through it anyway. We played a show in this town called Centennial, folks around those parts say that the only people who ever live there are escaping the law. Its got a population of 68 and the only form of law enforcement is an old broken down car with a light in it but with no one in the driver’s seat.
TPed: It's an hour outside of another small town, so you get to nowhere and then you go an hour past that. Wyoming was really cool, you're at 8500 feet the whole time but when you're there you look out and it's flat apart from some mountain ranges in the distance. You feel like you're on the surface of the moon. I thought I was going to float away into the sky.
TP: You describe yourself as foxy-folk. What is foxy-folk and would I be right in thinking that the fox is your musical spirit animal?
AM: (Laughs.) Yeah, that’s true. The fox came to me in the physical form right after I had graduated from college when I had a really amazing spiritual experience at a spa. After that moment I started seeing them everywhere, i've even seen them in my dreams. Someone told me that foxes are shapeshifters, they are able to travel seamlessly through all realms. It's a sign to be clever enough to use flux to your advantage and not be afraid to travel and shift yourself in order to achieve your goals. When it comes to music I embody shape shifting and never totally attach myself to a genre, I want to keep that shape shifting element to my music forever. To the newest tunes we’re writing now to our older stuff, at the end of the day it's us and it's what I was feeling in that moment.
TP: Your home coming gig is on the 20th of Feburary and you have a gig on April 1st at Skinny Pancake with Lucy Dacus. With Nectars the choice of venue for your homecoming gig, what's the significance of that space to you?
AM: Well it's big old room and the people there are super nice, they were one of the first venues in town to really give me a chance. They’ve always been super supportive and as we had our album releases there a year ago it feels right to choose that venue to bring it back home.
TPed: It feels full circle.