On the day of the release of Morsephosis, the new EP by Kiev synth-pop duo Mr Morse, we sat down with the duo - Andrey Kunin (vocals, guitars, electronics) and Iwan Gheron (programming, electronics) - over email to ask how things have changed since their stunning debut Collapse, how they feel about the turbulent politics of their home country, and their hopes for the future.
What’s changed for you as musicians between this EP and Collapse?
We become more experienced. First of all, we have played a lot of live concerts in Kiev and other cities across Ukraine.
Secondly, we spent a lot of time trying to find our way in making music and making plans for the future. Creating music became a more important thing for us. The first album was a kind of experiment. Now we are working more on the originality and quality of our tracks.
How have the political events unfolding in Kiev affected your work or your life very much?
Material for new EP was written a long time before the protests and subsequent events in Ukraine. But it is weird how some of the lines in our songs resonate with these events.
What are your hopes for the future of Ukraine?
We want Ukraine to become a strong independent European country. However, there is a lot of work to be done. We have huge economic problems, corruption in all branches of authority. Also, we lost Crimea recently and now separatist movements can be found in a couple of Eastern Ukrainian cities. Not to mention the Russian military forces along border.
A small but aggressive part of Eastern Ukraine do not agree with the new authority in Kiev, so they demand a referendum on accession to Russia. This definitely won’t make our country any stronger. Besides, suppression of this movements will give Russia a formal reason to enter their forces to ‘protect Russian speaking citizens.’
The other eastern citizens want the government to listen more carefully to their demands. But here in Kiev we are optimistic, ready to work hard for the sake of our future and unity of Ukraine.
What role have Kiev’s artists played in the recent protests?
Some of them were trying to support protesters. There was a scene, where everybody could perform their music or poetry or just speak to people standing there.
Tell us about the influences on this album - what were you listening to while making the new tracks?
2013 was a year rich for the great albums.
Comebacks of some iconic bands: Boards of Canada, Nine Inch Nails. The long-awaited AMOK from Atoms for Peace. A great new EP from Burial, which is now our favourite one. Very interesting experimental electronic music from Oneohthrix Point Never, Autechre. And many others.
Are you working on any other projects at the moment?
We wrote a huge amount of new music last year. Morsephosis is only the beginning, we still have a load of songs from that sessions and working on them right now.
The title references Metamorphosis - is this a Kafka reference? To what degree has the concept of metamorphosis defined the new music you have made? Why did you choose this title?
Kafka’s literary works clearly made an impression on us, but has nothing to do with EP title.
The main idea behind this title was to show something that exist in constant change and uncertainty. Our first album - Collapse, had some kind of completed, static feeling. New songs are following another, more dynamic path. We don’t know where it leads us because we still haven’t decided what music we want to make. But it’s a good thing. Our minds are open and we’re drifting in this River to some Waterfall. The Morsephosis EP is like a first step in transition between the ‘green’ Collapse and a more mature and solid Mr Morse.
If anything this album feels a bit more happy / uplifting than the last one - are you guys happier as people, and as musicians?
Last time out, you released a remix package - any plans to do that for this one? Who would you like to see remixing your work?We’re interested in doing this again someday, the remixes were great. But it is not something we have firmly in our plans right now.
What are your hopes for the band - any plans to tour or play live elsewhere in Europe?
Every band has basically the same hopes. It is hard to promote a group and find concerts to play on your own. We really need a manager for the group. But we definitely want to play live in Europe and will do everything possible to make this happen.
GET INTO MR MORSE on BLACK LANTERN MUSIC:
Download the Collapse Remixes featuring Magic Daddy, VS//YOUTHCLUB and Ingen.