Interview: MorMor talks Catharsis and Creativity

Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Image - Micaiah Carter

Toronto artist, producer and multi-instrumentalist MorMor (born Seth Nyquist) may write music from a personal place, but the sounds he has shared have connected with listeners across the world — with fans finding comfort in the reflective and candid nature of his lyrics. Last month, he shared his sophomore EP Some Place Else — the six-track offering confronts an unnerving period in his life in a way that's expressive and moving. We spoke with him about the EP, the artforms that inspire him and connecting with fans through his music.

Congrats on releasing your EP Some Place Else last month. What's the response been like?

It's been really good. I've had a lot of people reach out, which has been nice.

How long did you spend working on it?

I think I began to write it at the end of the fall and then into the winter. The tracks that ended up on the project were relatively written in order.

Was the process much different from how you approached your first EP Heaven's Only Wishful?

I think somewhat. When I was working on it, I was going through a difficult time and I think this one was really more painful to write — but the act of it was very therapeutic, I think. I would say that the process was relatively the same, but I was just in a different place in my life.

There are a few mentions of alienation and isolation throughout Some Place Else. How did you want to channel those emotions on the release?

I'm just trying to get out of my own way and be as honest as possible. As far as sonically, I stripped everything back so that the lyrics and the vocals are more upfront and isolated in themselves.

How much of the EP was spent working in solitude?

I'd say 85-90% of it. So, all the lyrics and the progressions, and after effects, like the synth stuff.

Do you enjoy the process of working in solitude comparing to collaborating? 

I've worked with some session musicians at times and had them play, and collaborated a bit more. Like, with the chords and stuff like that. I think I enjoy them both. There's a certain amount of it that I kind of feel I have to always do in solitude — I think It's the part I enjoy the most.

How did you keep track of all your ideas when you were working on the EP?

I'm constantly writing ideas and writing lyrics, whether just on their own, or melodies, thoughts, or progressions. When I decide somehow to want to start putting it together, I tend to have quite a bit of ideas that are floating around.

Do you find yourself drawn to other artistic mediums outside of music?

I'd say mainly film. I love watching film. Mostly music and film. Painters as well. I've been really getting into art. I think as a whole, visual arts has something that stimulates me often.

Were there any other mediums in particular that inspired you for Some Place Else?

I think more philosophically, like an almost cliché example would be Basquiat and his use of putting all of his influences onto one canvas — I find it liberating and interesting. But I wouldn't say there's any one particular thing that inspired the project as far as visual art.

Do you ever find yourself experimenting with other mediums yourself?

I'm really getting into photography. It's something that I enjoy a lot. I've been learning new instruments as well. I've been getting into film and directing, and I think I've kind of enjoyed that side of it when I shoot the videos. It's something that I might pursue more.

The visuals that you released for 'Outside' were quite incredible and moving. How did that video come about?

Well, the director I worked with, Duncan Loudon, I had come across his work, and reached out to him, and found out that he had actually been reaching out to me for several months prior, but it was going into my inbox and I was missing them — because it was getting separated by people I hadn't been following. It was kind of serendipitous in that way. I actually hadn't written the song before we had agreed to wanting to work together. I also hadn't written the song by the time I knew what the song was about, so I was sending him lyrics, and I was sending him images that had been catching my eye and evoking some sort of emotion.

I had been just kind of using our DMs as a mood board, and just sending him images. He would send images back. We kind of just created that storyboard together through images and through the lyrics — because I was sending him bits of lyrics as I was going. Eventually, I finally sent him the first edit of the song.

It was interesting, because for me, mentally, a lot of the creation is visual with songwriting. So, I think I can usually see something visual as I'm writing, but I'd never really done it with someone else, where I'm having to almost livestream my conscious ideas, like a stream of consciousness. These ideas were appearing at the same time while trying to put the video together, as well as the music at the same time. It was really cool.

How do visuals help elevate what you're trying to say in the music?

I think it just brings it to life in a different way. It adds a different element to it. It's interesting, because often before I'm writing, I kind of see some sort of visual. It usually doesn't stray too far from what ends up being the visual that's released. I feel I'm always working in tandem with a director that I choose.

Have you thought about what video you're going to do next?

I have some idea, but I don't want to give it away just yet (laughs).

That's okay, totally understand (laughs). I've noticed, whether it's through tweets or even on the comment section for 'Outside', quite a few fans express their connection to your music, and the ways what you've shared has impacted them. What's that connection like for you?

The connection is really touching. I try not to engage too much with the reading of comments, like on the internet, and numbers, and stuff like that. But whenever someone reaches out or someone sends a message, whether it's an email, or a comment, or in my DM, it's very touching and moving. Especially being able to play live is when I'm actually able to connect with people in a different way, which I think is unbelievable.

And what have you got coming up?

I have some more festivals to play. I've just gone off a string of festivals on the back of the tour. So now I've just been in between, writing a lot of songs and starting to come up with stuff that will hopefully play out soon.

We look forward to hearing what you do next. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me. 

I appreciate it, thank you.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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