This week’s Band of the Week is Hamilton, Ontario’s The Morning Stars a long time favourite here at The Rock and Roll Report. Following in the path of previous rocker brothers Ray and Dave Davies, Phil and Don Everly, Liam and Noel Gallagher and Chris and Rich Robinson amongst many others. I asked Mars Ivic about this, the differences between their two CDs, touring plans and more.
RRR: Seeing as you are two brothers in the band, are you guys in the mold of every other brother band out there that seem to want to kill each other half the time? Lol
Who else is in the band?
We get along pretty well actually, but being brothers always has its ups and downs. Usually, when we feel the need to settle the score we take our aggression out on the tennis courts. Donn Dixon, our drummer, is the other member in the band.
RRR: Your new cd is definitely a departure from your 2006 release you can’t change the world. What prompted the change in musical direction?
“You Can’t Change The World” was an album that reflected a time and place in our lives. The sound of the album was very stripped down, clean and melodic. With “Radiation”, we decided to go a little more abstract, experimenting with more effects and synthesizers. Lyrically and sonically, the new album is grittier and more aggressive than the first album. It’s certainly a reflection of the times we’re living in.
RRR: One of the things I enjoy about both cds is the fact that there is so much variety in style and sound. Is that something that you consciously set out to do?
There are two songwriters in the band, and both of us have different styles and are drawing on different influences in each song. I think it’s a good thing that all the songs do sound different in style.
RRR: How has been the reaction been to both cds both at home and abroad?
The Canadian response has been a little slow, but we’ve had a good international response following the release of our debut. We’ve also signed with Rough Trade Publishing in the UK. The new album “Radiation” hasn’t been officially released, but the initial reviews have been positive so we‘re pretty happy about that. Hopefully we attract more Canadians this time around.
RRR: What are your touring plans for this summer and fall? What are your plans over the next year.
We don’t have any plans to tour as of yet, but we’ve already been discussing recording another album, and hope to start writing and recording in the fall.
RRR: You operate Volume Records. Is this primarily a vehicle for the band only? How hard is it running the distribution of your music yourselves?
The label was to primarily distribute and protect the music we were creating. In the beginning, we had no intention of starting our own label, but as time went on it just kind of created itself. It is actually quite a bit of work when you are acting as the label, and not as fun for us as the artist side of things. However, in the DIY economy of things today it is necessary to do things yourself in order to get them done.
RRR: How do you utilize all the web 2.0 technology available to bands these days? How do you stay on top of it all?
We try to do as much as we can promoting on Myspace, Facebook, Twitter etc. Being independent always has it’s limits and financial endeavours. The strongest tool is still the music I find. Let the music speak for itself.
RRR: Do you feel there are more opportunities or less for an Indie band to get themselves heard in this web 2.0 world?
Every second week, I hear of a new website advertising independent artists. “Join us! More exposure! Win prizes!” It’s getting a little out of hand and it’s confusing the shit out of people. It seems as if the industry is trying to make us believe there is great opportunity for independent artists. Websites, magazines say they support independent music, but are in fact still promoting major label bands. All we can do is continue to write songs and hope we reach an audience.
RRR: Who are your biggest musical influences?
I grew up listening to a wide variety of bands and artists but to name a few The Velvet Underground, Stones, Joy Division, The Smiths…
RRR: Anything else that Rock and Roll Report readers should know about the Morning Stars?
Once again, thanks for the interview Mark. The Morning Stars hold the Rock and Roll Report in high regards. We appreciate all the support you have given us in the past and present.