House producer and DJ Morgan Page is nothing if not an industry veteran. Since his breakthrough in 2008 he has released countless hits; all the while keeping true to his original sound. This year has been no different. From dropping his massive track ‘Candles‘ with Steve James to his most recent original track ‘Fight My Way‘. We at EDMTunes were lucky to get a few minutes before one of his shows to talk about his experience and his love of vocals.
You really broke through onto the scene back in 2008 with ‘The Longest Road’. So you’ve been at this awhile. Popularity waxes and wanes, trends come and go. And a lot of DJ’s change their sound to cater to the masses. So what do you do to stay relevant?
So I think the big thing is consistently releasing music. I see a lot of guys that just stop doing tracks or they don’t want to keep up with the sound or whatever. But to me its constantly re-inventing the songs. So tonight I will be playing re-purposed, re-mashed-up versions of ‘In The Air’ and ‘The Longest Road’ and I think that is the most important way to do it. Dress up the songs as your set evolves with the times.
As for my sets, now I might sprinkle in a little bit of trap and some progressive house in there leaning in the trance direction. Its a pretty eclectic set now so I think I have adapted my set to reflect different times and whats popular at different moments while still getting my songs and crowd favorites in there. It’s a tough balancing act.
So throughout your entire career you really have kept to your core sound featuring amazing melodies and equally awesome vocals. How do you stay motivated even when house isn’t the in genre?
I think I always distance myself a little bit from what is popular. You’d go crazy chasing the trends. If you stick to your guns too much you can demotivate yourself and make yourself irrelevant. On the other side of the spectrum, if you over-cater, you contort yourself and turn yourself that is not you. You need to find something in the middle that is authentic but relevant. So that’s what I do with my originals, mashups and collaborations. I think its been interesting working with younger producers like Steve James. They have a little more patience with the drum builds and the sound design stuff whereas I am more of a chord, melody and vocal guy.
How often do you play your pre-2008 tracks like ‘Falling’ or ‘All I Know’?
Never. I could re-purpose them though. People don’t know them but I still love them though. I love just taking the acappella and reshaping it around current production. There is a bunch of stuff I made before-hand that people are like ‘why don’t you play the stuff you did in 2001?’ That was a long time ago. A lot of people don’t know it but I did the deep underground stuff for a long time. It was fun but I got bored of it. Once I started doing vocals I said ‘this is it’.
Just looking over your discography, I think it would be fair to state you are a connoisseur of good vocals. So what do you look for in a vocalist?
The first thing is tone or timbre, Lissie and Angela Mclusky have this amazing tone, and after that it is how they are singing the scale and what is their melodic sensibility. Then how are they crafting the lyrics? Does that singer sound like everyone else or does that singer sound like them?
So you’ve worked with probably over 30 vocalists over your career. Do you have a favorite?
Have you ever thought about doing your own vocals for a song?
I’ve done them on a couple songs but people don’t know because I don’t credit it. Because it would be weird to do Morgan Page featuring Morgan Page. So I did vocals on ‘Missing’ and ‘In The Dark’. But I want to do it more. I think I want to build up my singing voice more. I sing every song at the shows. The thing is you don’t have to be a perfect singer. You can just find your voice as long as it sounds like you.
So off of favorite vocalist, you’ve collaborated with a lot of producers over the year. Who is your favorite producer to work with?
It has been really refreshing to work with Steve James like I mentioned earlier. He is super young and has a different ear for things and we are able to go back and forth on things and build something better that is not just one plus one.
So are we going to see a follow up collab to ‘Candles’?
Yes, we are working on something right now.
Do you have any upcoming albums or other collaborations you want to share about?
Yeah so there is a collab with Jayceeoh and Kaleena Zanders that we are finishing up now. I’m going to play it tonight. Its cool and its very different. I’m playing guitar on it and Kaleena’s vocals are very kind of like ‘Take Me To Church’. You know, black diva vocals. So its very different from the usual singers. People might not recognize it when they hear it but its got my chords and melodies in there. So that will probably be an Armada release.
So talking about the concept of maybe an album, I don’t really see a reason to do an album right now. But maybe grouping the songs together, previously released songs with some new ones in between. I think the hard thing now is that everything is kind of a single so there is always this pressure for each song to be a blockbuster and there are some songs that I have that are more mellow and are not such single focused tracks. So right now there is more music that I have done than we have time to release. So I’m trying to figure out which songs to release when. We are scheduled up to the middle of next year.
Is there anything else you’d like add to our readers?
I have a side project mpquicktips (mpquicktips.com) that people should definitely check out. Thats my tips for music producers that I have compiled over the 15 years i’ve been making music. and its on twitter as @MPQuickTips. Its over 600 tips for producers and its free.