There is a glaring advantage for artists based in Toronto right now: The city is brimming with other talented and connected artists with budding or established careers, and the spirit of collaboration can be a driving force behind any newcomer's introduction. When we learn of new artists from Toronto, we typically hear about who they've got featured on their songs, which producers they're working with, or who from their city has given them a stamp of approval. Collectively, these artists can present a shared vision of their city and create a buzz that acts as an exciting point of pride to locals and creates an intriguing allure to outsiders.
And then there's MorMor. He was born and raised in Toronto, but MorMor writes, records, and produces most of his own work, and he's taking a different approach in the way he represents his city. "A lot of my inspiration stems from wanting to share a perspective of Toronto that I feel hasn’t been represented," he says. "I’m glad Toronto is getting a lot of attention right now, but my experience of the city that has shaped me isn’t really part of the story yet."
Bands like The Beatles and Nirvana informed MorMor's early tastes, but he's gone through phases that include Feist, Wu-Tang, and Motown. His array of musical interests doesn't help to pinpoint MorMor's style on the gorgeous "Heaven's Only Wishful," but it does perhaps offer some explanation for such a unique blend of intimately raw delivery, delicate melodies, sophisticated songwriting, and gripping pop sensibility.
When we emailed to ask for more information, MorMor gave us some background before cutting it short. "I hope that gives you some insight," he said. "I find it difficult to talk about myself." With "Heaven's Only Wishful," he's giving us all the introduction we need. Watch the video below, and read our brief interview with MorMor below that.
Could you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Growing up in the city you see a lot of different walks of life.
I always felt different from the other kids at school. I went through a really hard time because I was the kid who always hung out with a wide variety of people. I kept searching for kids like me, but it never happened. In the end it gave me some good perspective.
I was a pretty rebellious person when I was young. I had a problem with authority, especially the kind of person who would tell you to follow instructions without giving a reason. I was reluctant to take orders if I didn't believe in the cause. I might be the only kid who got suspended in the first grade. Music was something that I could escape through.
The Beatles were the first band I loved. My favorite song was "Strawberry Fields." Later I got into Motown and like, the typical bands such as Nirvana, AC/DC, and shit like that. I’ve definitely gone though different phases when it comes to the music I would listen to—anything from Feist to Wu-Tang. I became fixated on certain moments within a song.
How long have you been making music for and what has changed since you started?
I’ve been obsessed with melody for as long as I can remember.
I started writing lyrics in middle school, but prior to that I had made songs without lyrics. I would just sing melodies that I found catchy at the time.
I started getting into the production side of music near the end of high school. I had fought the idea of pursuing music because everyone around me was either rapping or making beats. It seemed like people were making music for the wrong reasons and I knew that I wasn’t going to create anything that didn’t have a purpose. Fuck that; I write because I feel like something needs to be said.
I kept searching for kids like me, but it never happened. In the end it gave me some good perspective.
What was the inspiration behind the video?
A lot of my inspiration stems from wanting to share a perspective of Toronto that I feel hasn’t been represented. I’m glad Toronto is getting a lot of attention right now, but my experience of the city that has shaped me isn’t really part of the story yet. I want to capture the feeling that I have had growing up here and this video definitely pays homage to that.
I’ve experimented with other videos in the past, but this is the first one that I felt captured what I was trying to convey with the music. The constant movement of scenes in the video adds to a sense of wanting more. My music means different things to different people and I wanted to leave it open to interpretation. I didn't want to spoon-feed people.
I made a conscious decision to not show any of Toronto’s major landmarks. The spaces featured in the video are places you’d only know if you’ve walked the city.
I have to also credit Sylvain Chaussee; he’s always been a like-minded part of my crew and someone I’ve shared a creative vision with. Sylvain’s a magician with his camera work, attention to detail, and knowledge of cinematography.
Is this song part of a bigger project on the way? If so, what can we expect from the release?
Without saying too much, I have a collection of songs that I plan on releasing in the near future.
However, things have been moving so rapidly and I’ve recently gotten the opportunity to get in the studio with some pretty amazing people, so new music has been created from those sessions as well.
What’s the scene like in Toronto for more indie-leaning musicians right now?
Honestly, I’ve never been someone who felt part of or represented by a scene. I’m sure that is something a lot of people feel even if they are involved in one. I’ve always been aware of what’s out there but I tend to keep to myself.
Are you in a studio, or do you have a personal set-up?
Over time I’ve put together a small set-up at my apartment. I’m not really into the idea of using big studios. When something catches my attention I want to be able to capture it right away. That being said, I do sometimes re- track stuff at a studio downtown. I’ve been fortunate enough to have access to some gear that I otherwise couldn’t afford.
What inspires you right now?
I would have to say, “Rear Window.” It’s been playing in my room on silent for the past few days.