Erika Morgengrau - the interview by Chris Koppers. Images courtesy of Erika Morgengrau.
Hailing from Austin, TX, the band named Morgengrau serves you the finest tunes of classic Death Metal.
Erika had some moments to share.
--- The interview ---
Who had the idea for the band's name? Morgengrau sounds German. Would you be pleased to perform your music in Germany someday?
"Morgengrau" came from lyrics in a German song which I stumbled across. As soon as I saw the word, I knew it would be the name of the band. It has the perfect blend of uniqueness, a dark sound, and depth.
As far as performing in Germany - sure, that would be excellent. However, we'd be happy to perform anywhere. There are great metal scenes all over the world and each has something unique to offer.
What is your favorite song you have ever composed/played so far?
We enjoy playing "Extrinsic Pathway" as it was the first song we created together. All of us are also very partial to "Polymorphic Communion" which is the closing track of our album. It's by far our most complex and ambitious song. Those are our Alpha and Omega...
You have previously played for several bands - How do you put your experience into Morgengrau's gigs?
I remind myself not to worry too much about the performance and to just enjoy what is happening. I've done plenty of screwing up onstage in my other bands to be very well over stage fright or worrying about what other people think. The first few Morgengrau shows were admittedly challenging for me, as I was making the transition from a vocalist to a vocalist-guitarist. Learning to deal with gear gave me a great appreciation of my bandmates and the crazy, unexpected crap that happens. It's been a character building experience.
How does Morgengrau compose songs? It is more like a democratic act, where each single member can address his/her ideas or is it more like a, let us say, a dictatorship - one takes control of this processing?
I'm the principal writer, but it's not a dictatorship in the least. I keep a very open mind about the contributions of the others, as many times they suggest something completely unexpected which takes a decent song and makes it great. Reba, our drummer, and I have fairly opposite senses of rhythm, so she comes up with awesome rhythmic things I would have never considered. Nick and Jake are newer to writing material but also make excellent contributions. Of course, there are parts where I just have to have it a particular way, but it's relatively few and far between. It's important to me that everyone feel involved and have a sense of ownership of the material.
Can you name us the three main Morgengrau attributes?
We're a serious band playing traditional death metal. Expect brutal riffing, guttural vocals and lyrical content focused on death, pain, suffering and occult themes. We are committed to remaining consistent in our approach and subject matter throughout the lifecycle of the band, however long it may be.
What are the current projects with Morgengrau?
We are recording our LP, "Extrinsic Pathway" now at Amplitude Media in Austin, where many great local acts have recorded - like Vesperian Sorrow, Sarcolytic, Disfigured to name a few. Endarker Studios in Sweden will be handling mixing/mastering. We're setting up a few gigs South Texas for Labor Day weekend as our first official Morgengrau road-trip.
Do you have a specific musician you would like to collaborate with?
Not in particular. I am involved in so many projects I don't need to seek other people with whom to do things! I have Drifter, my Iron Maiden cover band, then Morgengrau, and on occasion I session live with Vesperian Sorrow. I also have several other less brutal (think gothic/heavy metal) activities in the wings.
Picture this: Russian scientists invented the time machine and you were able to operate this magic machine - what would be your destination and year?
1989, Buffalo, NY to catch the Exodus tour at the Skyroom. My boyfriend wouldn't let me go because he was afraid I'd get hurt in the pit. It's the one show I really regret missing. If I had a second use of the machine, I'd head back to the Jurassic to discover what Allosaurus fragilis really looked like (I have a thing for dinosaurs). I would promptly be eaten by something anticlimactic like a giant centipede as soon as I stepped out of the machine. End of story.
Where will you see yourself in 2015?
On stage or at a show, banging away. The rest is one big adventure I don't worry about.
Thank you for taking your time, Erika.