Interviews

Veröffentlicht am 20.05.2022 | von Dominik

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KEVIN MORBY – jetzt wird’s persönlich

Foto-© Chantal Anderson

Der US-amerikanische Songwriter Kevin Morby verneint in unserem Interview direkt zu Beginn, dass es seiner Meinung nach kaum möglich ist Kunst oder Musik zu machen, ohne, dass diese nicht persönlich ist. Und doch – irgendwas ist da bei seinem neuen, siebten und gerade erschienenen Album This Is A Photograph anders, was es zu einer hochpersönlichen Angelegenheit macht: „They are all the same in a way, but a I do agree that there is something more vulnerable about this one. With the first single, when it was about to come out, I was feeling a little bit unconscious. Which is something that I usually not feel before, like: ‚Wow, this is something like a family story.‘ You know, it’s like really opening up for the public. So in a way it is the most personal.“

Die Familienstory dahinter ist der Auslöser, der ihn dazu brachte an einem neuen Album zu arbeiten: Die Geschichte beginnt im Januar 2020, als Morby im Keller seines Elternhauses in Kansas City geistesabwesend in einer Kiste mit alten Familienfotos blättert. Nur Stunden zuvor war sein Vater bei einem Familienessen vor seinen Augen zusammengebrochen und musste ins Krankenhaus gebracht werden. In dieser Nacht spürte Morby noch immer den Schock und die Angst in seinen Knochen. Also sah er sich die Bilder an, bis ihm eines davon ins Auge sprang: sein Vater als junger Mann, stolz und stark und voller Selbstvertrauen, der mit freiem Oberkörper auf einer Wiese posiert. Das hat ihn nachdenklich gemacht: „There was something about that incident with my father and me finding that old photographs of him. He was in the age that I’m now on these photos and it kind of helps to realize how quickly time goes by. From him feeling how I seemingly feel now, to him being in a little bit older age and having this medical condition and maybe his time is starting to end… and so, when he passed out like that and I saw him fall and I remember the thought, the only time I saw someone fall like that was in boxing. And I just watched this documentary on Roberto Duran vs. Sugar Ray Leonard, it’s this great documentary, and I thought of it like, it’s my father battling time, it’s all of us battling time in this boxing ring of time. And this became this metaphor for fighting time until eventually it get’s the best of you. And this is something I feel more and more as time goes on. I’m sure in my 40ties I will feel it more then now, even more in my 50ties and 60ties. It’s a feeling that grows.“

Zu der Angst um seinen Vater, der plötzlich vor seinen Augen sterblich wurde, kamen kurz darauf noch einige andere Ängste hinzu: plötzlich brach eine weltweite Pandemie aus, die nicht nur seine Familie und Freunde, sondern auch noch seinen Lebensunterhalt bedrohte, ist Morby doch als stetig tourender Künstler auch gerade auf diese Einnahmen angewiesen. „Well, it was certain a terrifying time for everyone. I think for me, as someone who tours so much, it was very scary and I was feeling scared about my dad when he had this medical condition and also I was being scared about my parents getting this virus…or I, or a friend…It was such an uncertain time. But with that said, it also afforded me for some time to stay at home. And there were also nice things about that in my life. Like starten to garden or eating better or sleeping regular – so things like that did happen, but all on the backdrop of this terrifying time. So it was a very complicated set of emotions, but for better or worse I had a lot of time to think about all of it. Usually my life is like, that I only have small periods to contemplate certain things – at that time, I was really able to process every emotion that was happening.“

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Aufgrund von zwei anstehenden Touren in Europa und Australien konnte Morby auch erst nach seiner Rückkehr im März, April die Geschehnisse mit seinem Vater verarbeiten – in diesem Zuge entstanden dann auch die ersten Songs des Albums: „During the lockdown a lot of the songs startet to come out of me. I think those were the first moments to start to process those emotions. Music is always very therapeutic to me and it takes some time for me to experience and then to process it and then I start to write up songs and they just start to happen. Kind of how I imagine in therapy, like you start to talk about stuff.“

Frühzeitig war auch klar, dass Tennessee und besonders Memphis eine besondere Rolle in der Entstehung und im Kontext des Albums spielen würde – denn für Morby war die Stadt, in der er schon oft war, aber noch nie länger Zeit verbringen konnte, das absolute Wunschziel als er sich nach etwas Einsamkeit sehnte, um wirklich in die Songs abzutauchen. Und nach etwas Sicherheit, wie er selbst sagt: „I startet to write some songs and I was doing everything here [Kansas, Anmerkung der Redaktion], but then I felt, I need to go somewhere, I need to work on these songs. And I had been visiting Memphis a lot, so it was already on my mind and it was a place, that I always planned on spending some more time in. So it just became some kind of obvious choice. That city is a very resilient, brave city – a lot of tragedy and a lot of things have happened there and it’s also kind of this city-wide museum. The whole city feels like it’s a museum. I find it a very strong and brave place, sort of comforting, it was comforting to be there in this challenging time. It felt like though none of us had seen something like this virus before, Memphis was kind of: ‚You know, we have been through a lot, we will be fine‘ And so it was great place to be in, for that reason.“ Die Zeit vor Ort verbrachte Morby im renommierten Peabody Hotel, das er als eines der Wahrzeichen der Stadt und seinen Aufenthalt als Shining trifft auf Kevin allein in New York beschreibt. Während dem Lockdown waren kaum Gäste vor Ort, weshalb er die zweieinhalb Wochen des Schreibens dank eines Upgrades in einer der größten Suites des Hotels verbrachte. Täglich packte er sich etwas zu essen ein, schlenderte durch die Straßen und sog die Stimmung von Memphis in sich auf, um sie danach in seinen Lyrics aufs Papier zu bringen.

Überhaupt spielten viele Geister der Vergangenheit auf This Is A Photograph eine Rolle – eine Zeit, in der alles noch einfacher war: „I think those stories and those people and those icons – their stories – as tragic as a lot of them are – are very comforting, because they are in the past. Even though the times were complicated then for their own reasons, they seemed a lot more simple, compared to that there is this virus, you know? I was thinking a lot about people, who died before this virus, who never saw Covid-19 and just about what they would think of it. So I kind of lived in the fairytale of the past.“

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Früher war alles besser also – oder zumindest einfacher. Ähnliches kann Morby auch von den Aufnahmen seines neuen Albums berichten, bei dem Sam Cohen (Singing Saw, Oh My God) wieder als Produzent zurückkehrte, ist er doch der Produzent der Wahl, was die etwas ausgeklügelteren inhaltlichen und klanglichen Konzepte angeht. „Sam is who I take my bigger projects to and I like to describe it, like every record that I don’t do with Sam are my vacation records… He and I, we work really well together and I feel like we both kind of feed of each other in a really positive way. If I have a goal in mind, he really knows how to get me there. So for these bigger concepts he’s really important for me. So when I started writing these songs and building them and I felt I wanna push them as far as possible, Sam was an obvious choice.“

So einfach das Zusammenspiel von Morby und Cohen ist, so schwierig waren die Aufnahmen vor dem Hintergrund der Pandemie: „It was sort of a puzzle. The first session was before the vaccine, it was a day before the governor of New York announced the first lockdown, so I was like: ‚Man, should I even go‘ Sam has kids and I was like ‚I don’t want to bring this virus into your home‘. So the first session was supposed to have 8 people, but then we had to take it down to three, we had to test before going in, it sucks, it doesn’t make it fun. And then the next session we did was after the vaccine, so it was easier, but still logistically hard, there were some people I knew that couldn’t get the vaccine already, things like that. So you try to keep the personal down to lower numbers.“

Dabei war früh klar, dass der Nachfolge von Sundowner einen komplett anderen Anstrich bekommen sollte, beeinflussen die Vorgänger doch regelmäßig bei Morby die Ausrichtung der kommenden Alben: „I think Sundowner influenced it, as I wanted it to be so much different then Sundowner. And that’s usually how my records work, whatever I do before it, I kind of wanna do the opposite thing and than it kind of just becomes a clear and easy decision.“ Ob sich Sundowner für ihn anders anfühlt, da er im Gegensatz zur sonstigen Gewohnheit das Album so gut wie gar nicht touren konnte? „I think I got lucky with that, because that record was for me always meant as this quite statement. I didn’t know how exactly I was gonna tour or when I was gonna release it. So Covid weirdly just presented this time for it to just be the perfect album to come out in that time. I think it was just exactly what it needed to be. I feel bad for people, who put out a big record that they’d wanted to tour and take the world by storm with. But my experience with Sundowner was just the exact opposite. I wanted to tour this record like as a three-piece, really small and just play outdoor spaces. So maybe someday I will just do the Sundowner anniversary tour and just play outside of barns at sunset with a small band.“

Die Tour, die jetzt ansteht soll – trotz Corona – das komplette Gegenteil dazu werden, plant Morby doch mit voller Band-Stärke und bis zu acht Musikern nach Europa zu kommen. Corona-Gefahr hin oder her: „It just sucks that this is now part of the process, but I think it’s a reality that we all now have to deal with. I hope it just will be ok, I’m really excited to go back, it’s been a long time.“ Bis dahin hat er vielleicht auch schon wieder neue Songs im Gepäck, denn Morby hat sich während dem Lockdown nicht nur zur Gewohnheit gemacht regelmäßig zu joggen, seinen Schreibprozess hat er ebenso angepasst: „I’ve become a runner in the past years and it’s like that, if I don’t run from now and then, I start to feel weird. It’s part of my mental health basically. And songwriting is the same way. If I don’t get alone-time a couple of times a week, just sitting in a room with a guitar and exploring ideas, I feel kind of crazy. So I think it’s just part of my lifestyle really“, weiter sagt er: „I’m working on some songs – but you know: you will find out in time.“

Kevin Morby live:
25.05.2022 Köln, Kulturkirche
30.05.2022 Hamburg, Uebel & Gefährlich
31.05.2022 Berlin, Metropol
01.06.2022 Schorndorf, Manufaktur
09.07.2022 Zittau, Lonesome Lake Festival
12.07.2022 München, Ampere
21.08.2022 Erlangen, E-Werk
22.08.2022 Hannover, Cafe Glocksee
28.08.2022 Darmstadt, Golden Leaves Festival

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Über den Autor

Bedroomdisco-Gründer, Redaktions-Chef, Hans in allen Gassen, Golden Leaves Festival Booker, Sammler, Fanboy, Exil-Darmstädter Wahl-Hamburger & happy kid, stuck with the heart of a sad punk - spreading love for great music since '08!



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