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Shaun Morgan


"When I’m playing music or I'm writing music it's the closest I can get to what I'm hearing in my head. It's the closest I can get to what I'm trying to express, or what feeling I'm trying to slowly chip away at inside of me."

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Shaun Morgan: When I'm playing music, I'm writing music. It's the closest I can get to what I'm hearing in my head and it's the closest I can get to what I'm trying to express or what feeling I'm trying to slowly chip away at inside of me. So that's why I don't write a lot of happy songs because there's no reason to get rid of happiness. Happiness, people hold on to and it's like clinging to it for dear life. But when I'm angry or sad or frustrated, that's when I often find myself wondering into my studio and then writing stuff and trying to get that out of my system.

Shaun Morgan: Well, I grew up on a pig farm and we had about 500 pigs and we had a couple of cattle. One of the games my brother and I would play was we would make improvised grenades out of a cow turd, which we'd pack as tightly as we could. And you stick a little what they would call... they were called Tom Thumb crackers and they looked like a little tiny stick of dynamite. And then you'd throw it up and then it explodes, and whoever gets hit by the most amount of cow crap loses. So this is the kind of stuff you do when you don't have any friends and you're out in the middle of nowhere.

Shaun Morgan:
Farm murders were starting to happen in South Africa, which people sort of know about now, but maybe not quite as much as they should. But that pushed us off the farm into the city and then basically just became a city kid. Because I was closer to all my friends at that point, then I could start playing music in bands and I could start figuring out, "Okay man, there's something inside me that's raging and I need a way to express this." And moving into the city was probably what gave me the biggest opportunity to just start playing music with other people.

Shaun Morgan:
And everyday I'd come home from school and I would go immediately, I'd grabbed my guitar and I'd write some songs and it was my way of diarizing and documenting the things that I was thinking and feeling. And some of that, man, it was real dramatic poetry. It was like the teenage angst stuff that everyone does. It was never quite Gothic, but it certainly was sometimes trying to be a little bit more Captain B. fart than a gallant poet.

Shaun Morgan:
When I was about 12 or 13 somebody gave me Nevermind. From the very first note to the very last note on that album, I felt like I wasn't alone. Like, "This dude understands me. This music is written for me." That made me feel so many things that I didn't know were inside of me. And I wanted to recreate that, and I wanted to be part of that, and I wanted to play along to it, and I wanted to be in that world. And of course the other major inspiration was that my parents were really, really mad by the fact that I wanted to pick up a guitar and pursue this pipe dream of becoming a musician. Most of the motivation, when I was really young anyway, was to piss my dad off.

Shaun Morgan:
You know, once you can play a song, it doesn't matter what it is, if it's two or three cords, but you can play that song, there's that sense of accomplishment. So then you go, "Wow, I want to get better at this." But then you get to a point when you know you want to try something new, so I started playing along to Rage Against the Machine and Tom Morello was a big influence because his stuff had a bit of a funk edge to it as well, as well as that metal and rock.

Shaun Morgan: As years went by, I started progressing to heavier stuff like Pantera and obviously couldn't play it anywhere near as well as Dime. That became something that it was somebody to aspire to as far as, "Can you play a guitar as well as that?" I've got to sing and play guitar and I've got... My pedal board gets smaller as the years go by actually because there's less shit to worry about. I just have the basics. I have the [Delay X 00:04:25] for between songs, I have the suppressor to use occasionally. I sometimes use the [inaudible 00:04:31] and then when we do a three-piece sometimes, I'll use the other two. I'm mostly a rhythm guitarist and it's almost a percussion instrument to me.

Shaun Morgan:
But my first pack of Ernie Balls was actually when they were Slinky's. But I stick with 11's and sometimes even slightly heavier. In studio, everything's under a microscope, so if these can hold up under that, then live is obviously... live is a much more sort of fast and loose kind of experience than being in the studio. But for the most part I liked the 11 to 54 across the board. You can concentrate more on the playing side of recording rather than the tuning side. So that in itself is worth its weight in gold as far as I'm concerned.

Shaun Morgan:
To stay motivated some days can be quite difficult. You often wonder, "Well geez, did I pick the right job," because it's tough, it's hard and we were away from our families a lot. The old saying, 'Be careful what you wish for,' really becomes true. And I'm by no means complaining about it, but I think as far as music inspiration goes, there's always stuff you can draw from your past and you never quite tap the well completely. I think you get to a point where like always some new experience that's there to fuel the fire. You know what I mean? And I often find that these days it's more rage than sadness.

Shaun Morgan:
Some days I'll think I'm going to write a song now and I'll get it there and nothing comes out. Sometimes you get an inspiration when you're in the shower and literally you'll be like, "Okay," so you sing this melody in your head because you don't want to forget it. And you run up the stairs and you sit down and you try and get it down as fast as possible. To try and prod it into being awake and try and get into a studio and say, "You're going to write stuff today and it better be good because your career depends on it." That's difficult. So I wait until it sort of comes from some random place. Yeah.

Shaun Morgan:
Those songs that I wrote originally, sitting by myself in my bedroom, then morphed into me showing some guys five, six years later, which then morphed into me being signed. I'm just sitting there tooling around, trying to get out some teenage angst and it became something that turned into all of this.