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The Morning Benders

Interview von: Matthias Rauch mit Chris Chu, am: 23.10.2010 ]

Fiel der Erstling “Talking Through Tin Cans” noch etwas ehrfürchtig und unreif aus, da man sich zu deutlich an den großen Vorbildern The Shins oder Pavement abarbeitete, ist das zweite Album „Big Echo“ deutlich eigenständiger und überzeugender ausgefallen. Zwar sind die Referenzen an besagte Bands keineswegs verschwunden, doch die Band aus Berkeley findet immer häufiger zu einer originellen Interpretation des 70er Pops, den sie sehr geschickt ins neue Jahrhundert rettet. Nach ausgiebigen Touren mit Death Cab For Cutie und The Kooks steht man mittlerweile recht sicher auf eigenen Beinen und so wird sich „Big Echo“ sicherlich in einigen Best Of-Jahreslisten wiederfinden. In unserer Reihe „Zehn Fragen an…“ sprachen wir mit Mastermind Chris Chu über die Bay Area, das Reisen und die Neil Young.


Musicscan: Please tell me a little bit about how The Morning Benders got started. How has the band changed for you personally since its inception?

The Morning Benders: Quite a bit has changed. I started the "band" by myself, writing songs in my room. Now we are a four piece that has traveled all over the world and plays music for a living. In some ways what we are trying to do hasn't changed much, though. We are still all about the songs. The songs are our masters. We must serve the songs. 

Musicscan: “Big Echo” marks a big development compared to your previous effort for me. Could you elaborate a bit on what you did differently? Did you approach the album any different than your debut?

The Morning Benders: We approached “Big Echo” with a very open and free attitude. The first album was rooted in a very 60s, early 70s approach, and when it came time to record “Big Echo” we knew we didn't want to do that again. We opened ourselves up to all kinds of pop music, from all eras. Any idea was fair game. As a result we ended up with something that is a lot more diverse and expansive. I think.

Musicscan: You have been on tour pretty much constantly for the last few years. What are your favorite and least favorite aspects about being on the road?

The Morning Benders: I love playing shows. Playing to a different set of people every night is amazing. Every show is different and unique. There are certain aspects of my life and routine at home that I miss. Mainly eating well and exercising. I like to be healthy, and that is hard on the road. We do our best though. We don't eat McDonalds.

Musicscan: Being from Berkeley, I was wondering how you perceive the local music scene. What local musicians and artists inspired you? What do you particularly enjoy about living in Berkeley?

The Morning Benders: We never really felt like we were a part of any "scene" in Berkeley. We really just wanted to do our own thing. But we do absolutely love Berkeley. I love that you can go to a farmer's market any day of the week, within a mile or two. I love that you can walk 10 minutes and be out hiking in the forest. I love that you can drive over a bridge and you're in an awesome city, San Francisco. It's quite ideal.

Musicscan: How does the songwriting process work in your case? Is there one major songwriter or does everyone chip in ideas more or less equally?

The Morning Benders: I write the songs, but we all input something by the end of the process. Depending on the song, it may be completely fleshed out and arranged or, on the other end of the spectrum, completely bare bones, just a rough sketch. 

Musicscan: How do you resolve creative and personal conflicts within the band?

The Morning Benders: We don't have conflicts. 

Musicscan: What makes for the perfect song in your opinion? Have you ever achieved something like a perfect song in your opinion? How would you define a perfect song?

The Morning Benders: I have no idea. Only time will tell. I can't define them, but I can spot them when I see them. "Party in the USA" is a perfect song. 

Musicscan: What is the difference between art and entertainment in your opinion?

The Morning Benders: There is no difference in the actual end product. I guess I would distinguish between the two based on the creator's intent. But I don't really bother with intent much. I think most of the art I love, someone else might call entertainment. 

Musicscan: Did you have certain musical or aesthetic goals for the band when you started?

The Morning Benders: Just to write good songs, and try something new. If we get to the point where we have nothing new to say, we'll stop being a band.

Musicscan: Your 3 favorite records, books and films?

The Morning Benders: “On The Beach” by Neil Young, “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse, “400 Blows” by François Truffaut. 

Musicscan: What are some other passions in your life? What do you think you would be doing if you didn’t play music?

The Morning Benders: Making something, probably food or movies. 

Musicscan: What can we expect from The Morning Benders in the near future? Any collaborations, releases, tours planned?

The Morning Benders: I'd love to work with Dr. Luke. Nothing really planned, though.

  The Morning Benders
  The Morning Benders @ Myspace