Interview with T.E. Morris (Her Name is Calla)

The leader, vocalist and founder of the British band Her Name is Calla (experimental / dark-core / post-rock / music-noir), Tom Morris  will perform in Kyiv and Lviv with his solo project - TE Morris. In our interview you can find out how his solo project differs from the music he writes in Her Name is Calla band. 
AZH: What are you, Her Name is Calla doing right now, rehearsals before the tour or having some rest? which is the situation with new album? Are you happy with the audience’s feedback?
Hey! Rest? Not really no. It might seem like sometimes we're being pretty quiet, but we're busy all the time. Thom has a business making Ipad applications and lectures at a University. Mike works full time at an office for the moment, Sophie looks after her Mum as well as having an Ebay business selling loads of craft work things. Adam and me both play solo quite a lot and record quite different music to HNIC. Adam is starting to do that more and is starting to think about a tour. I've been out on tour on my own a few times now and had quite a few EP's out. I'm busy putting together my own label now and just releasing/touring full time. 
We are currently working on a new album in Her Name is Calla. I think it should be out in the first quarter of next year. I think the feedback from the previous album has been tremendous. We've got a great fanbase and they are very loyal to us and always have been. I could maybe go on about sales and downloads and circulating into a wider audience, but I've just had a nice bottle of wine and in a good mood at the moment. Ha ha!
We're hoping to do some bigger tours in the new year, both as solo musicians and much bigger, longer Her Name is Calla tours. We really want to start visiting a lot more countries.
AZH: Besides the music artworks for albums are really enjoyable, who is the author? Do you consider that beautiful artworks should be an integral part of a release?
We put a lot of effort in our approach to the overall sound of our records, it makes sense that the artwork should be treated the same. We're lucky enough to have some very talented friends who can paint, draw and photograph very well. There's been different set ups and artists for a bunch of the releases, but The Quiet Lamb was something where a number of artists took part. People from all over the world. We asked around if people would be interested and a lot of folks got in touch. In turn we selected an artist for each track of the album and asked for their interpretation of the given song. We think we ended up with an album with some really great and diverse artwork.
Her Name is Calla

AZH: HNIC are announced to be participants of Denowali Festival? Could you tell us more about this event?

Phew! Wow, it'll be great. You really need to talk to Denovali records about this as they are the masters in control. But the line up is crazy! Sophie and I are staying for the full three days. I'm hopefully organising a smaller stage where there will be some acoustic sets, small ambient sets, and maybe some video and music/film improvs and things. The food was great last year too. I loved it, all cooked by our label mates Kodiak. 
AZH: Do you plan to play there with your solo project?
Yep. Maybe just a few small sets on my own or with some of the other guys backing me up. We'll see what happens.
AZH: Could you draw any parallels between HNIC and your solo project?
I guess the songwriting and lyrics kind of come from the same place within me. But I think the overall sound is a lot different. In HNIC we're able to be quite diverse with our sound and be as big sounding as we want. With my solo music I purposely want to take a stripped back approach; to leave a lot of space within the songs. At least for the time being….

AZH: How could you describe your music (solo project) for the people who hadn’t heard it before?
I think that there are folk elements within the songs. Ideally I'd ask people to come to a show or listen to a few songs. People normally make their minds up pretty quickly if they like something or not. I don't really know how to do anything else, and I'm very lucky to have an audience of people spread across the world that want to hear the songs that I write for Her Name is Calla or just for my own records. The songs on my solo records are very sparse, rarely any layers. Just guitar and vocals.  


What influences you? Any sources for inspiration?

Wow, erm…I guess i'd have to say my past experiences. I find that I write about the past more as I've had time to dwell on things and maybe understand them more. But I am trying to write non-autobiographical music now; to write about the future and such things. Even though I try, I normally find it hard to write about current situations. Maybe because it's too close to home, or maybe because I don't have a very good understanding of current affairs or day to day life. I'm not very good like that. I'm easily confused. I'm trying to look inside myself less, as historically that hasn't ended too well for me.
AZH:   How about movies? Have you watched Lars von Trier’s Melancholia?

Yeah I like his films, but I haven't seen that one. It's about the end of the world right? I'm a big movie fan. My girlfriend and I watch at least half a dozen a week, and I watch more on my own. Mainly sci-fi and horror. A lot of westerns too. I love Clint Eastwood films a lot. Unforgiven is one of my all time favourites. Have you ever seen Fearless with Jeff Bridges as well? Jesus. Amazing.

AZH:   After all tell us what do you know about Ukraine, heave you ever been there?

Nope, I've never been. I'm really looking forward to it. My girlfriend Olya is Ukrainian. She'll be looking after me for the week i'm there. I'd be totally screwed without her. She came on my last tour for about five or six days. She's kind of my tour manager in that respect. Feel free to replace "tour manager" with "babysitter", as I'd be totally fucked without her. She'll be making sure that I eat and get the right trains and to the venues on time. Ha!

by Taras Khimchak
photo: Gоsіа Lеwаndоwskа




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