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Artists on Trial: Morningglories





Artists on Trial: Morningglories

(Photo by Roshelle Hudson)
 
Morningglories is one of the newest bands in Kansas City. A four-piece with talented, experienced players, the group is evolving as a garage punk/pop force with thunderous grooves. The band’s primary songwriter, Alex Dunsford, talks to us a bit about what Morningglories has up its sleeve.
 
The Deli: Down and dirty: 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?
 
Alex Dunsford: Punk rock garage pop—kicking out the jams.
 
The Deli: Give us some background on the band.
 
Dunsford: Morningglories is me, Alex Dunsford, Tom Hudson playing the drums, Meredith McGrade also playing guitar and singing, and Steve Gardels playing bass. It's fun to have Steve back on bass and out from behind the kit; it's been a long time since we've played together guitar/bass. The last time was probably the short lived but profound jam sessions of Methamphetaminefield.
 
The band is about groove-centered rock ‘n roll. The rhythm section does all the work, and Meredith and I layer over those rhythmic hooks with harmonies and sounds. But we all like to play with some speed and intensity, so it takes the outward form of garage punk. I want to make music that has a lot of physical drive and makes people feel like moving around and having a good time. I want to distill pure enjoyment down to a distorted waveform and wash people over with it.
 
The Deli: You recently released your three-song EP debut, Wilderness Songs, in June. What should people expect from it?
 
Dunsford: You can expect the songs and style that define this first stage of the band's existence. I love this record because we made it immediately upon forming, before we even played our first show. Working on recorded music is one of my favorite parts of being in a band, and I think it really shaped the way we play together to start on this type of project from the very beginning; even when we were still writing the songs, we were planning them out to be recorded.
 
We captured a really raw and exciting moment in our time together—the irresponsible and irrational exuberance of a new project, before any serious obstacles can make it too real. I think that mindset of optimism and rock n roll magic comes through on the record. We had so much fun making it. Johnhenry Grothaus actually plays bass on the recording, before he moved and Steve became the final piece of the puzzle.
 
We owe a lot of that experience to Duane Trower at Weights & Measures Soundlab, who not only is a brilliant recording and mastering engineer, but has created one of my favorite environments to work in. The space seems to have a natural bristling of energy that makes it very satisfying to make music there. Lots of YJ's coffee may also contribute to that.
 
The Deli: What shows do you have coming up?
 
Dunsford: We play next at Vandals Summer Kamp Fest, which is looking to be one of the coolest parties for punk and independent music that we've had in a long time. They're hosting 19 out of town bands, from different states all over the region. I'm incredibly impressed and very happy about all the effort that so many people in so many different music styles are putting out to make Kansas City a music hub and destination spot. It couldn't happen without the strength of the local music community, though, to keep the lights on when the touring bands are away.
 
After that, on October 17, we'll be playing at Coda with The B'Dinas, who just released their first full-length album, Fruitcakes. It's probably too much of a pun to describe it as “delicious,” but it contains some tunes that should be a part of your life. The B'Dinas have some of the best musicians in KC right now, and if you've never seen them, you'll be impressed.
 
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
 
Dunsford: Supporting local music is not only about attending shows but about the personal relationships you form with the other people who are involved. The scene needs to exist 365 days a year, not just during the festivals and events, so encouraging and being helpful and positive to each other is how we sustain ourselves day to day, so that we have the strength and inspiration to make things happen.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?
 
Dunsford: Katy Guillen, Claire Adams, and Stephanie Williams of Katy Guillen & the Girls; Ryan Shank of Outsides (everybody in that band, really, they're all good); Josh Berwanger of his namesake band, Steve Tulipana of everything ever, and Britt Adair, Caitlin Curry, Breaka Dawn, and George Magers from The Bad Ideas. There's no way to list everyone who's making great music right now. It's a good problem to have.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?
 
Dunsford: James Kelly (WIFE, Altar of Plagues), St. Vincent, Josh Homme, the one and only Valient Himself, Josh Freese, Steve Earle, Brent Hinds and Brann Dailor, Carrie Brownstein, everyone in Fucked Up, Laura Pleasants.
 
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
 
Dunsford: Hot Snakes, Valient Thorr, Queens of the Stone Age.
 
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why? 
 
Dunsford: Steve: Ozzy, George Harrison, Joe Strummer, Keith Moon.
Alex: Kirk Hammett, Thurston Moore, David Gilmour, John Fogerty.
Meredith: Joan Jett, Jimmy Page, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith.
Tom: Thom Yorke, John Bonham, David Bowie, Dave Grohl.
 
We couldn't come to a consensus, so we're going to have to use more than one mountain to put all these faces up.
 
The Deli: What other goals do Morningglories have for 2014?
 
Dunsford: Our goals for 2014 are to write and rehearse new songs. Our set at Summer Kamp will have new material, and at Coda we'll have even more. I never want to play the same show twice. We'll also be planning some out of town gigs in the region, and starting to lay the foundation for more recording next year.
 
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
 
Dunsford: Obviously the Facebook page, the workhorse of the web crew. What's more interesting is our Bandcamp page, where the EP Wilderness Songs is available for pay what you want download. I'd love to see more people on the page with the music on it than liking a facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/mglories
 
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
 
Dunsford: Fender guitar saddles aren't all the same size. Make sure you measure the screw spacing before you buy new ones.
 
Morningglories is:
Alex Dunsford: guitar, vocals
Steve Gardels: bass
Tom Hudson: drums
Meredith McGrade: guitar, vocals
 
 

Morningglories will be at Vandals for the Summer Kamp Fest this Sunday on the indoor stage at 9:45 pm. You can see them and 30 other bands for only $10 each night. Facebook event page.

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