Rae's new tour kicks off this weekend, 'FYI'.
Blackpool singer-songwriter Rae Morris returns with comeback track 'Reborn', and a batch of UK dates to introduce a whole new sound.
Hey Rae, how are you? New album aside, what’ve you been up to since ‘Unguarded’?
I’m really well thank you! I’ve been hanging out in London mostly, enjoying getting to know the city properly. When I first moved here, it was at a really busy time, and I didn’t have time to just live and exist here. I’ve fallen in love with the city completely now.
You’ve said comeback track ‘Reborn’ is about new beginnings - did you feel like you needed a new start?
It wasn’t that I needed one particularly, but I was watching myself transition naturally into a new place. With time to reflect and think came a change of mindset about certain things. That felt really freeing and good. I’m the type of person that will always keep changing and learning. I don’t believe that you’re ever the perfect finished article. That would be no fun at all.
How do you feel about your debut now you’ve had some distance from it? Has your relationship with it changed over time?
I sometimes forget about certain songs, then remember and revisit them. Some of the earlier ones feel like such a long time ago; the ones that I wrote when I was 17/18. I was really naive and young. I do love that there’s a record of that time of my life. All I really cared about was first love and communicating through emotional outpour which meant that I was pretty unfiltered.
What can you tell us about your new material, is the album done and dusted?
Yeah, the new record is completely finished now. The deadline for deciding the final track listing is today! I’d say it’s super colourful and energetic. The songs feel like little stories, short vignettes and windows into different sides to my character and other interesting characters I've met along the way.
Did you know what you wanted this album to be right from the off? Did you have a specific vision?
No, I didn’t start with a concept in mind, but as the writing began, it became clear really really quickly that I wanted to make tracks that were full of life. I felt so much freedom to go crazy and create something new and exciting that it felt like a shame to sit at the piano the whole time writing sad ballads (even though that is still a big part of what I do and who I am). I wanted to dance around the studio with a handheld mic making mad sounds with my voice that I hadn’t made before. It felt like an ultra creative moment, and only the most exciting things went on to be finished for the record.
Who have you worked with on this album, are there any guest spots?
I began writing with Fryars very soon after the touring of Unguarded ended, in October 2016. It worked so well that we wrote and produced the album together solidly for around a year. And at that point, we needed some fresh ears for perspective, so I took the music to MyRiot (lovely Tim and Roy), and we spent a few months making final touches and recording nice pianos as replacements for the demo midi versions. We wrote a song with our mate Fin (Starsmith) called 'Dancing With Character', which is actually one of my favourites, and a song with Buddy Ross who is a brilliant guy and musician. There are no featured guests, but the few people who have been involved in making it are so incredible and just an amazing vibe; I'm very grateful to them.
What sort of headspace were you in while writing the record?
I started off by feeling a little lonely and confused after the intense period of touring album one. I got back to London and thought, okay cool, what now? Then Fryars and I had one million long conversations about the world, and everything started to slowly slip back into a place of order and beauty. Most of the songs were written together, the two of us in a confined studio space, with long lunches and naps - they were very important! We realised after a while that our feelings towards each other were filtering into the atmospheres of the songs. There isn’t a non-cheesy way to say that we fell in love while writing this album. It’s a huge part of what this record means to me.
Will you be debuting any songs on your upcoming tour?
Yes, we’ll be doing mostly new songs! I’ll play a few tracks from Unguarded that still resonate and work in the set, but right now, I'm so excited to see what people think of the new music. I know some people go to gigs to hear the music they know well and love, but my fans are so musical and enthusiastic that they seem to love hearing the new stuff. Playing it straight to them is the best way to tell if the music is good enough.
Are you ready to get back on the road? How do you prepare for tour?
The gig we did at the ICA in early July was the first big London show I'd done for a couple of years, and I felt particularly nervous about that. But now that’s happened, and it was a truly magical evening, I feel completely back into the swing of the live side of things. I’m preparing in the typical way of keeping fit and trying to eat healthily. But dancing too! Working on movement for the live show with Aaron Sillis and Sara Gordon has been a long process but such a rewarding one. I feel so much more alive onstage now!
When will we be able to hear the album?
The album will be out early 2018.
Taken from the October issue of Dork, out now. Rae Morris tours the UK from 24th September.