Multi-platinum record selling Canadian artist and producer Glenn Morrison needs no introduction – with over 130,000 radio spins in Canada alone on his last two singles, multiple Juno Award nominations, SOCAN Dance Artist of the Year 2015, Sirius XM Radio Dance Artist of the Year 2015, Notable Awards 2016, as well as having been an internationally renowned touring DJ who had performance residencies in Ibiza, Las Vegas, Miami, Argentina, and Los Angeles. With 4 newly built record labels under his control and helm, and the first release of which hitting Top 20 Canadian Billboards and garnering millions of streams with his 2016 single ‘I’m The King’, it is safe to say that Glenn Morrison is building a strong foundation as one of Canada’s leading musicians of today.
We had the chance to talk with Glenn as he just released his new album ‘Dark Waters’ on Fall From Grace Records.
Electronic Groove: Hi Glenn, is a pleasure for us to exchange some thoughts with you. To get things started can you give us an insight on your musical background on how you got involved electronic music?
Glenn Morrison: Thank you very much for having me. I began playing and performing classical piano when I was quite young, and was studying with various teachers over those years who went to Juilliard in NYC, and others who later prepped me for my Royal Conservatory exams in both piano performance and the theory requirements that accompanied those performance degrees. I played in plenty of competitions as well, and I remember that performance anxiety. I excelled in the Chopin, Beethoven, Romantic period pieces. I only got the bug into electronic music when I was in my teen years, and there is always a blurring of the lines when it comes to balancing those skill sets in a studio room. I saw all my electronic music writing and Djing as an extension of my classical piano abilities. I only feel like I am still learning and becoming a better writer and musician as the years develop, and that intrinsic desire to become a better musician is what keeps these art projects rolling for me. Whether it’s in the form of an album or an EP, the desire to create is strong, and becoming more enjoyable as I get better at my craft.
EG: We really enjoyed your podcast session and the progressive style that drives the mix. Are there any artists that inspired you to take this direction?
Glenn Morrison: Thank you very much. I’ve been very inspired by a melodic sensibility within a club framework, especially with the Fall From Grace label in particular. I’m very inspired as of late by Ninja Tunes records, Domino Records, Jon Hopkins, George Fitzgerald, Ewan Pearson – intelligent arrangements and compositions with unique textures and riff sensibilities.
EG: You recently released the ‘Dark Waters’ LP. How do you feel about this new achievement?
Glenn Morrison: I’m very proud of this album because it was the first time I had to teach myself how to do vinyl mastering for the double pack LP. I did all my “research” and then just took those general guidelines and started putting my hours into the outboard gear sessions. It took me until V3 masters from the outboard that I was doing something right, and when we got the test presses back I was super insecure about it, having no clue how it would translate. Thankfully with a great lacquer cutter, and my final outboard masters, it turned out to be an extremely wide and full dimension double pack vinyl for ‘Dark Waters’, replete with tons of remixes by my friends like David Morales, Ewan Pearson, Colin Benders, Dusty Kid, Sei A, and many more. On a larger label level, it now establishes Fall From Grace as a vinyl label that we will be doing each quarter with our various releases and ever growing record catalogue.
EG: The LP also includes different remixes. What was the process to select each artist to remix the tracks?
Glenn Morrison: It really came down to me wanting great musicians that I respect and admire, not just as friends but as composers, to remix whichever tracks that grabbed them. I always sent a bunch of records over, usually untitled, and if my friends got emotionally grabbed by one of them, it would be as a simple as “terrific here are the multitracks”. And you always let the artist have carte blanche on the creative writing – if you are asking someone to remix your work, you give them the respect to do it however they want. The best art comes through in a holistic way like this, not by forcing stylistic headspaces on people.
“I’m very proud of this album because it was the first time I had to teach myself how to do vinyl mastering for the double pack LP”
EG: You have quite a resume of accolades. Do you think you’ve reached the success you were looking for?
Glenn Morrison: In a million years I would have never imaged this is where I’d be today at this age. I am very grateful for my situation and I work hard every day with this in the back of my mind. We are quite literally running a “mom and pop” operation right now with my labels, where we have my parents handling the business affairs / legal / the framework of our label system. To be working with family, in an area you enjoy and are specialized at, this is really a blessing in itself.
EG: What other producers are catching your eye at moment?
Glenn Morrison: Park & Sons are really on fire with their warehouse rave sounds, Camelphat top of their game at the moment they deserve everything they get great guys, Bicep’s new LP on Ninja Tunes is unbelievable, Ewan Pearson’s latest Depeche Mode club remix is a brain melter in the dark rooms.
EG: As a resident from Toronto, how does the scene compare to other cities around the country like Montreal or Vancouver?
Glenn Morrison: I haven’t been touring very much at all for the past few years, and with last years build of my Alpine Mastering studio, coupled with my four indie labels, and my work with the Billboard pop records, and the IMAX film score music, there are only so many hours in the day. With the sound of the underground it is important to be with the right audience, that understands the subtleties of a quiet breakdown or a nice chordal progression. I am much more in a headspace of playing the right parties, in the right environments, for example, like the Brazilian Carnival coming up in a few months. For me to play 4-7 shows in a week, averaging 2000-6000 people shows, in the style of music that I love and am respected for – this is really a paradise for me. My team now is really working hard on trying to build and carve a space for me in this touring circuit but we have to plan it properly so we have the “right” gigs, and not lose focus on the sound and style that we are trying to get across with these art projects. For now, it’s about releasing great music (hopefully people enjoy it as much as I enjoy writing it), and building a common shared interest in the music being put forth.
EG: What would be your advice to those who are planning on starting a label?
Glenn Morrison: Don’t think about the money – build a world that you are proud of, and always respect everyone’s skill-sets, time, and work. With great art and great releases, everything else will fall into place. Treat people as you would yourself – it’s a simple life lesson to learn and you’d be surprised how many in the music industry can’t even get that basic principle.
EG: You’ve played all around the world including a residency at Ibiza’s Amnesia. Where do feel more comfortable playing and why?
Glenn Morrison: I always felt “at home” in the DJ booth when playing underground records on the terrace at Space in Ibiza, or in the main room at Amnesia. Those moments I will cherish for all my days, and I honestly cannot wait to return to the island in 2018. I am a bit out of the loop as I haven’t toured in a few years there, but I’m sure all my friends will teach me where the cool parties are – I cannot wait to immerse myself again in that culture.
EG: What is Alpine Mastering?
Glenn Morrison: It is a mastering studio that I had built for me last year with the help of a brilliant acoustician and mind, Terry from Group One Acoustics. Coupled with my renovation team of experienced millworkers and carpenters, it was around 400 hours of specialized craftsmanship to create this beautiful studio. It sounds unbelievable with all fabrics and materials imported in and hand cut / milled, and this was one of the greatest accomplishments I think I’ve ever had in my years doing this record industry work. I am very proud of the room both in its acoustic sensibilities but also its “vibe” (modelled after a 1970’s British Rock N Roll parlour).
“In a million years I would have never imaged this is where I’d be today at this age. I am very grateful for my situation and I work hard every day with this in the back of my mind”
EG: Can you give us some insight on any new productions you’re working on?
Glenn Morrison: I am currently working on a number of projects for myself under my various labels, as well as projects for Sony Records, Universal Music Group, Atlantic Records, Warner Music Group, and IMAX, amongst many other great companies. We are very privileged to be in good working harmony with our label and corporate partners, and are very interested in developing our licensing and sync division which opened up this past year.
EG: Your latest partnership is with IMAX. How did this venture come together?
Glenn Morrison: Through a combination of friends with like-minded artistic sensibilities, and some great creative dialogues. I have much respect for the whole IMAX family, and I have much love for them. Sandie has always been my point person with all my work related to IMAX, and she is an angel (as well as Maddy). Again, beyond IMAX, the idea that Alpine works on wonderful creative projects with creative companies that have shared visions on art, music and entertainment – what more can you ask for? I try very hard to foster and develop healthy working relationships like this because it is the core and lifeblood of Alpine and what we do in the studio each and everyday.
EG: If you ever find time to unwind, what do you like to hear?
Glenn Morrison: Frankly classical piano is a great respite for the normal music I have to work with on a day to day. Also weekends I like to take off, and do the opposite of technology – nature & being reclusive is my thing.
EG: What would be your favorite track on rotation?
Glenn Morrison: Let’s say anything from Pat Metheny – What It’s All About / or if you want to go electronic music vibes – Stephan Bodzin’s remix of ‘Sleepless’.
Glenn Morrison’s ‘Dark Waters’ LP is available. Grab your copy here.
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