Artist Spotlight – Morningbird

Released September 4th of this year, “Only Believe in Love” is the first full-length album by Morningbird. Based out of Boston, Morningbird is comprised of Max Challis and John Cattini. Both students at Berklee College of Music, the pair has been making music together for about three years now. Self identified under the Alternative/Indie Rock type genre, Morningbird’s first album reads more like a book than a playlist. Following their album release, they were kind enough to answer some questions about their tunes, student-hood and killing John Mayer…

Listen to them here

Like them here

Interview by Daisy Barker

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So, Tell us about your meet cute.

M: We met Summer 2012 at Berklee’s 5-week summer performance program; we met pretty casually through a mutual friend at a lunch table, but we were more just acquaintances then. John and I and a couple other guys from the program had a bunch of jam sessions and we ended up finding a lot of common ground with our musical tastes. We ended up playing together a lot during the program, but the real friendship formed when John let me borrow his guitar for a songwriter performance. My guitar didn’t have an input jack and his did.

Would you say that there are significant influences, musical or otherwise, in either of your guy’s lives that contribute to Morningbird?

J: Yeah totally, I would say a lot of life experiences influenced this album specifically. A lot of emotions and things we were learning ended up happening at the same time for us, which influenced not only our songwriting but also the music we shared with each other.

M: Artists specifically, John showed me Electric Light Orchestra, which ended up having a huge impact on our sound and the album. The way those guys include orchestral elements into their arrangements of classic rock songs really resonated with us; it was all the beauty of an orchestra with all the badass aspects of an awesome rock song. Additionally, Queen and Freddy Mercury had a big impact on the vocal arrangements throughout, and our guitar arrangements were definitely inspired by George Harrison from the Beatles.

J: We’re also super into David Bowie; his ability to convey a story in a song is something we aspired to achieve, as well as the concept of an album as a whole. We didn’t just want to make a bunch of songs; we wanted it to be a cohesive piece of art the whole way through.

Spending a year with something is a big commitment; time wise, emotionally etc. How did this impact the music – were there a lot of changes made, or was it more of a growth thing?

 J: It’s hard to say, because the songs are written from a bunch of different times, like “The World” was some casual thing I wrote back in high school, but “Love In Reverse” and “Hate It” both were written last April. Some of the songs didn’t make a lot of sense at the time when we wrote them, but as we kept writing and designing the whole album the pieces started to fall into place. It sort of seemed like we had been telling the story of the album from a subconscious place all along, even though we didn’t really know it at the time.

M: From the production side, and especially being relatively new to writing and production, we were both growing as writers and producers at an insanely fast rate. It seemed like we kept getting better and better as we wrote and produced more of the songs. I think being at school for music plays into this as well; we’re always trying to improve. As far as the time commitment, I don’t think we ever really thought about how long it would take. To be honest, I think had we known the songs we were writing at the time wouldn’t get released for an entire year, we would have been a little discouraged. We just wanted to put out something that we were really proud of, and it didn’t ever matter how long it was going to take us. There were definitely edits going back, but at some point you have to just put a stamp on what you have and call it done, or else you could spend an entire year making just one album.  

Is there a specific end goal in mind with this project? (i.e. world domination)

 J: Morningbird is cool to me because the whole reason we created it and the album was to satisfy our creative urges, not necessarily to gain some sort of social or financial standing. I think as long as we make music like that, it will remain genuine and find its course.

M: For me, world domination… Seriously though, I think John put it really well. It was just about trying to get the thoughts and ideas that were floating around in our head into some tangible form. Now that it’s finished though, I just want to share it with as many people as possible and do it all over again.

For you guys, what’s the ideal way for people to consume your music?

J: We hope people can listen to the album in a way that they can appreciate all of the intricacies we tried to include. We put a lot of time and a lot of ourselves into it. That being said, at the end of the day I just hope people can enjoy the tunes and find some meaning of their own in it.

M: Totally. Everyone enjoys listening in their own way; I personally like to sit down and listen to albums all the way through on a good pair of speakers, but I know everyone has their own favorite way to tune in, whether it be in the car, some earbuds on the train, even off your phone while you’re cooking dinner; whatever floats your boat. As long as people are listening we don’t really mind.

 Being students, is it hard to prioritize personal artistic endeavors? Or does studying in the same field as your artistic passion make it easier?

M: I’ve actually tried to make a bunch of my regular coursework and projects here at Berklee into Morningbird songs. I think actually 3 songs of the album were final projects for a bunch of my classes; I’m in a production-heavy major so it was pretty easy to balance the two when they coincide with each other. It was never a drag to do my homework because it was just working on our passion.

J: I would say studying in the same field makes it easier because you’re surrounded by people and professors who are constantly inspiring you and teaching you new things that you can apply to your own music. At the same time though, sometimes I just want to pull a Justin Vernon and live in a cabin making music out of what I know now, just to see where I’m at and what we’re capable of.

Marry, Do + Die – John Mayer, Daughter and St. Paul and the Broken Bones?

M: I think we’ve stolen enough from John Mayer that it’s pretty safe to give him the “die” slot now… I’d definitely say marry Daughter. Their music is super cool and I could definitely see keeping them in my life for while, maybe settling down, finding a nice home off in the mountains somewhere. In all seriousness though, their sound is super cool and it’s an area I’ve started to explore musically. Do St. Paul; their stuff reminds me of Amy Winehouse a lot. It takes me back to the Motown era of Marvin Gaye and Al Green when every song was about love and happiness. I’m pretty sure John would do all 3 to John Mayer though.

J: Yep. Well maybe just marry. I need him around for a while so I can steal his guitar licks.

Back at it

We, The Continuist would like to welcome all incoming and returning students to Ryerson! We have been on a summer hiatus, working on other things (tans and such) but are back again for a new school year and with a new team to bring you a breadth of new content and, hopefully, a breath of fresh air.

As always, we are accepting submissions FROM EVERYONE AND ANYONE for the blog and will be publishing several print zines this year. We are an open collective and are always looking for passionate individuals to join our team. If we had an office, its door would always be open.

We hope to see you soon.

Love always,

The Continuist

Call for Submissions: Perfect Bound Publication!

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After launching On Thinking Things on February 23rd, The Continuist is excited to announce that we are jumping right into our annual perfect bound publication. As in past years, this zine will consist of the best work we’ve received all year round, as well as fresh submissions from all of you lovely people! There is no theme for this zine, so send us all those photographs you have stashed in file folders, those words scraped together in cryptic .doc files, and any other form of art you’d like to showcase to the Ryerson and GTA community. I repeat, there is no theme, so send us all you got!

And another cool feature about this new zine: we are accepting music submissions! We’ll be putting together a soundtrack of songs made up of Continuist audio submissions that will be available for streaming and/or download. Covers of Ye will also be accepted to ensure maximum mixtape fire.

As usual, send us your submissions to thecontinuist@gmail.com, and make sure they’re in by Sunday, March 20th 11:59pm. The launch will be happening on April 7th at the Arts & Letters Club (14 Elm Street, Toronto ON); further details will be available in the near future.

Love always,
The Continuist

PS: If you missed our table in the SLC last week, here’s a sneak peak!

ContinuTable

SOUVENIR POETRY BY COLIN BECKETT

Souvenir Flower

 

you ship you have no hold for this

no shoe box under bed for this
no tea glass, no ear holes, no eye drops to water with

have you must oar holes then
and a shore to row to in a boat so full

must have you a cliff there to niche to
and a square of fence to tend

you have must heard from far bells
felt the warm slick of earthworm on your stem and speckled terrace
your cabin weed, your salt fare, your sailing jar, your air holes

you must have taken a garden aboard
if you will not take my lavender in your terracotta shoulder bowl
my lilac on your summer raft
alfalfa to the loamy shore

 

Dreaming this Friday?

Jordan Donovan, frequent submitter of both written and visual content, graces us with one of her minimalist collages for this weeks, “‘Find Me’ on Friday”. Her piece combines a neutral setting with supernatural elements; interweaving text and visuality to you for your Friday.

“Am I Dreaming” is the first of what we hope to be many multimedia submissions to our Friday collective. Submissions for the collective can be sent to thecontinuist@gmail.com, and we also welcome general submissions for our blog and print publications at any time!

Happy Friday, dreamers ☺️

Jordan
“Am I Dreaming” – Jordan Donovan

“On Thinking Things” Zine Launch

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 9.20.57 AMBack from Reading Week, we are ready to launch the “On Thinking Things” zine! We will be tabling our current and past zines along the Ryerson SLC-Library bridge this Thursday, February 25th. Come by anytime between 1-5 and pick up a zine, make a button, or just sit and talk much.

Look out for our upcoming call for submissions for the perfect-bound zine, it’s coming up soon, folks.

This Friday’s Found Poem

It’s that day of the week again: Friday, Friday, Friday. A day to watch the hours melt into Saturday, or to force productivity in one last attempt to end the week on a high note.

This week, we are pleased to present you with a piece by The Continuist’s very own, a one Cameron MacDonald. In his own words (before we get to the ones he’s found), Cameron describes his process.

Process for Finding Words

This piece was written with two main sources: Donald Allen’s The New American Poetry and PsycInfo, an online database of international psychological literature. I chose pages of Allen’s seminal compilation of postwar poets with a random number generator, put my finger down on the page, and typed out the line that was closest. I would then type in the middle word inPsycInfo and use the amount of words in the aforementioned line of poetry to determine which title I would type down. The words in these two lines would then be scrambled at my discretion, with some grammatical symbols added for poetic effect. Each stanza represents each line pairing. This calculated yet indeterminate approach was utilized in an attempt to represent the dissonance in the 1950s between poetry’s “anti-tradition” and the conservative, clinical approach to writing, paralleled by the resurgence of psychoanalysis.

 

And here is the final product, a found poem just in time for Friday.

New American Psychology

The concentration increased.
More fluid are we
in it, the sun’s disease.
TREM2 on.
Soluble beauty of light—
the Alzheimer’s white.

The cerebrospinal
videotape disorders the student
of behavior. The linen on
the chairs with purple effect!
On emotional feedback;
on a behavioral task. Of

extinction and place.
Of gated preference. Of isolated
effects. I will only place
naloxone there. And was a queer
conditioned by ethanol? Is aversion
induced and conditioned? Place

is voice for when you are alone:
you love it different.

Music & Video: Commuted and birdboy

Ever wonder what it would be like if the glistening, lo-fi sounds of indie-rock and shoegaze coalesced with a kaleidoscope of mid 20th century stock footage? I hadn’t either, until I watched Commuted and birdboy’s stunning collaboration below.

Former Continu-kid David Eatock’s most recent release All’s Well That Ends Well is a weaving sonic narrative that merges fuzzy distortion, glittering, glassy sweeps, and chilling pitch orientations that would melt any DIIV-lover’s heart. Though the vocals sometimes have a difficult time cutting through the layers of aural bliss, the lyrical uncertainty and octave harmonies only add to the album’s overall cloudy, muddied feel.

On a track-by-track basis, the album is chock-full of paradox. The album waltzes in with the sombre doo-wop “Prom Night,” followed by the catchy cleans and pulsating crunch of “Matilda,” a character that plays out through the tracks both lyrically and sonically. With the clatter of what is indeterminably a snare or a train track, the listener is enchanted by the simultaneously distant-yet-intimate acoustic track “The First Child.” “It’s Understandable” maintains a similar aura of desperation, but the clicking drum track and the reverb of the guitar brings a certain hopefulness and clarity that carries into “Go Where Your Friends Are,” a shimmering tune with an irresistible bridge of crisp strums and a repetitious synth line that drives the song. The most jarring collide occurs at the end of the album between the cacophonous noise and falsettos of “Dream Coffins” and the multi-layered, explosive dreamland of “Farewell Matilda.”  It’s these types of contradictions that make this album shine, creating an intricate and atmospheric sound-story that is paralleled beautifully by the collage of film clips put together by bird boy. The visuals emphasize the despair that carries through the album, and bring along with it a sense of nostalgia for a lost time both missed yet ungrudgingly remote.

Without further ado:

To support Commuted, click here.
To support birdboy, click here.

FOUND POETRY BY KRISTINA PANTALONE

Another found poem for your Friday by Kristina Pantalone. Words borrowed from Melina Marchetta’s beautiful novel, Jellicoe Road (pages 186-187).  If you find yourself finding yourself in someone else’s words, submit them to us for next week. We hope you have a splendid weekend!

 

Nothing to Forgive

 
132 complicated minutes

hovers over to warn me

days before he left,

dizzy,

pulse throbbing

as he traced marks

left by slightly scratchy buttons at eye-level;

he says “forgive me,”

despair spilling like fire

towards the boys around here;

he says, “solace,” wanting to take her hand

but doesn’t dare ground her with shadows;

he could not comprehend it the whole time,

covered in sobbing,

she says, “nothing to forgive;”

no one felt the hand disappear and

she died right there.

“Find Me” on Friday

This Friday marks the first installation of found poems by The Continuist.

Just a small little “pass-the-time” kind of creation, found poetry does wonders to morph prose into a completely new form. Style, message, and presentation is in the makers hands, with virtually free reign and a felt tipped marker, literature can be yours to conquer and deface.

Particularly proud of one of your found poems? Feel free to send it our way (citing where the original work came from) and we’ll add you to our Friday collective.

Below you can find the piece “Introduction” which was found among the first words of Pride and Prejudice, penned by staff writer Daisy Barker.

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“Introduction” by Daisy Barker