Follow and Connect with Vincent by clicking the buttons below!
At Center of Gravity 2012, Kelowna played host to American electro house and progressive house DJ Morgan Page. Page is a two-time Grammy nominee, nominated for best remix for his work with Nadia Ali and also for his own song, The Longest Road, which was remixed by Deadmau5 and also nominated in the category for best remix. Page is probably best known for The Longest Road, Fight for You and In the Air. Page has worked with a wide variety of artists including the likes of Coldplay, Madonna, Tegan & Sara, David Bowie, Nelly Furtado, Katy Perry, Regina Spektor and Florence + the Machine. Page has released four studio albums. His 2010 effort, Believe, is the album that has garnered 31-year-old Page the most attention thus far, but as someone who has been involved with music since the age of 12, Page has a long list of work and has certainly paid his dues. His most recent album was released this year and is called In The Air.
Page topped the bill at Center of Gravity’s “Main Stage” this past Saturday, the second day of the three-day festival. Even in the evening the heat was stifling, but the ramped up temperatures only served to increase the audience anticipation for a man whose music and presence was undoubtedly a large pull for a number of festival attendees. As someone who now lives in Los Angeles, Page was far from deterred by the heat and put on a show that showcased the work he is known for and some new material too.
Prior to Page’s performance, your Welcome to Kelowna music columnist was invited backstage to Page’s small white gazebo-cum-tent that was situated within a labyrinth of various artists, vendors, security personnel, cables and equipment, to conduct an interview. Page was polite, humble and more than happy to discuss a range of topics with us. He was also delighted to visit Canada and find no snow!
Morgan Page and I discussed a wide range of topics, so I have decided to break this interview into two parts. Part two will be released on Thursday, August 9th. Until then, here is the first part of the discussion...
As always, Valaura Vedan of Welcome to Kelowna was on-hand to snap the sort of great photographs she is becoming increasingly well known for.
Vincent Jones: Have you been to Kelowna before, and do you like it?
Morgan Page: Just one other time, but I know this is the summer place. Everyone says this is like the California of Canada.
VJ: You would know! You live down in LA?
MP: Right, right…
I love it here. It’s really scenic flying in, seeing all the snow capped mountains and everything, it’s nice.
VJ: Are you here just for today? Fly in, fly out, sort of thing?
MP: Pretty much. It’d be nice to take some time off. I never get to enjoy places! A lot of times when I tour Canada it’s freezing cold, so it’s so nice to be here in the summer.
VJ: You’ve remixed some really big artists, Coldplay, Tegan & Sara, when you choose to remix a song, how does that work? What sort of thought process do you go through?
MP: It depends how it originates. I started doing bootleg remixes, that’s how I got involved with Tegan & Sara. I did remixes without asking for permission. I just said I’d rather ask for forgiveness than permission. So I did a white label remix album and the whole idea with that was just trying to do remixes with other parts and see how good I could get them and see if I could get some attention from the remixes. So with those the thought process was different. When somebody hires you, they’re hiring you for your sound, your name, and it’s a different process. I’m very picky with which ones I choose to do, because right now I’m really trying to focus on originals, but when it’s the right mix you do it. I just listen for the song, that’s how I choose which ones I do. I have had some really challenging remixes where the original is not really my cup of tea, but you find a way to build the chords around it and make it your own.
VJ: How does it work then? Do you usually hear something and say “I have to work with this” or do people usually approach you?
MP: I listen to the vocal and then I build everything around that, so it really has to have something I can work with. I listen for how I can take it to the next level and how I can put my own spin on it. People are often surprised by my remixes, they don’t know what to expect. I try to surprise them in a positive way.
VJ: Out of all the remixes you’ve done, which has been your favourite one so far?
MP: I really liked the Madonna mix… that was fun. The Daft Punk mix was really fun. I really like doing stuff where it’s not a huge name and the remix can help build their career in a way or something. The power of the remix is amazing and I owe a lot of my career to Deadmau5 remixing Longest Road. That was a huge tipping point for me.
VJ: When you remix something how much input does the original artist have?
MP: It depends on how big they are. Madonna reviews everything manually. She won’t call me directly, but she’ll call Warner Brothers and they’ll call me and say “she loves it…” So she’s very hands-on, others are more hands-off. Stevie Nicks, she had denied five or six remixes and they were like “hey, do you want to try doing it?” I was like “okay, alright…”
VJ: Is there anyone in the industry that you’re yet to work with who you’d really like to work with?
MP: There’s a long list. My shortlist is a long list! I’ve been reaching out to people like Ellie Goulding, [and other] really amazing vocalists, I think they’ll hear the music and it’ll be right up their ally.
VJ: Talking about your original process, outside of the remixing, what’s your creative process?
MP: It’s a good question, because right now I’m in the middle of starting this next album for 2013, maybe 2014, we’ll see. It basically starts with doing a draft a day, and now it’s turning into doing three a day, not even working on the beat necessarily. The kick is a placeholder, the kick is almost a metronome, and I am just focusing on the chord progressions and song structure. So I build these skeleton song structures. They’ll be filled out later on or reworked, but I send those to vocalists. I keep them really pared down, so they can hear their muse telling them what notes to sing, so I don’t flesh them out completely. That’s always a dilemma because you’re like; I want to do more… I do these drafts as quickly as I can. I’ll forget that I even made these songs, I’ll send them out to vocalists, see what grabs people and then I have them do test vocals and then I come back and build the whole song around it…
VJ: Okay, and that’s why it takes about two years to get it all complete?
MP: Yeah, and I think the process is changing because it’s all about singles now. I’m not really sure people listen to albums from start to finish. I think people appreciate albums…
VJ: And that’s across the industry…
MP: Yeah. It’s a complex question. Just because they buy an album, it doesn’t mean they listen to it that way…
So that’s part one of our sit down with Morgan Page. In part two Morgan and I discuss his new album, tips on breaking into the industry and he also has a message for his fans, so be sure to look out for that this coming Thursday, August 9th.
Want to talk to Vince? E-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org