Kailee Morgue Delivers Pop With a Punk Spirit in 'Here In Your Bedroom' [Q&A]
Photos: Kayla Dewees
Earlier this year, alternative pop siren Kailee Morgue returned with "Knew You," her first original single in over a year. The admitted first love song from Morgue was a noted departer that saw her venturing through a soundscape marked by unadulterated affection and the enthralling power of early '00s female-fronted pop. That vision truly comes to life in her long-awaited sophomore EP, Here In Your Bedroom.
Over the course of six varied tracks, Morgue makes good on her promise of "pop music with a punk spirit." Taking as much influence from Halsey as she does Black Flag and Goldfinger - even going as far as to name the EP after a single from their 1996 self-titled album - Here In Your Bedroom makes its way through sincere moments of vulnerability and euphoric bursts of outright pop punk.
Nowhere does this multi-faceted approach become more apparent than in "Tied Up" and "This Is Why I'm Hot." The former sees Morgue delivering a slow-burning and ominous ballad that sets her leagues apart from the airy musings of her nearest alternative pop cohorts. While the latter is an instantaneously infectious number featuring a deluge of electric guitars and an overflowing confidence that is nothing short of contagious.
We had the pleasure of catching up with Morgue over e-mail to talk about her debut album, finding her sound, and the best and worst advice she's ever received.
Ones To Watch: How would you introduce the world to the Kailee Morgue sitting across this screen?
Kailee Morgue: Honestly that's never really been the motive, so I never know how I'd present myself to the world. I feel so driven to just make the music and to show people my take on modernizing my influences, that's my favorite part of all of it. I pour myself into the music I make, and I think that's how people would get a true introduction to who I am.
From the release of your debut single, "Medusa," to the release of Here In Your Bedroom, your sound has without question evolved. How did you land upon your current sound?
My current sound definitely feels like a rebrand and it's probably gonna keep changing from here, but over the past year I definitely broadened the music that I listen to and get inspired from. I was trying to find what felt the most ME and what I could get excited listening to and making. I really found that in the more alternative/punk spirit of Here In Your Bedroom.
You cite influences ranging from Taylor Swift and Halsey to Black Flag and Goldfinger, which might at first glance be quite the stark contrast. Can you talk a bit about your widespread influences?
I definitely get inspired by all different types of music, I love listening to pop music and trying to understand what draws everyone in and feels so undeniable and then integrating other genres into that feeling like punk/ska, even if it's more in spirit than sonically. I just love exploring what can be done musically, and I've done that a lot more behind the scenes than I've been able to showcase.
Can you walk us through some of the central emotions and themes present on Here In Your Bedroom?
Here In Your Bedroom is really just a mix of random songs that I've made over the past year that might not even sound cohesive together, but they just show that exploration that I've started into other types of music, and I almost view it as a segway for something more solid. Thematically, I think the past year I dealt with a lot in my personal life, and I was depressed, grieving, heartbroken, but also falling in love again and rebuilding myself.
"Knew You" is your first proper love song. Is writing a proper love song an entirely different process? I imagine it at least requires a feeling of love.
Writing a love song felt SO hard for me to do at first because I just felt so cheesy and out of my element, but I was also entering a new relationship and I couldn't think about anything else and I was at a point of just needing to talk about it lyrically. So “Knew You” is definitely the more lighthearted side of that feeling and then you get songs like “Still” and “Wisconsin Ave” that show hesitation and fear of love.
What do you hope people take away from blasting Here In Your Bedroom on full volume?
Here In Your Bedroom feels a lot more personal than any of the music I have out, I know everyone always talks about their music being honest, but it really feels like a public diary to me. I just want people to be inspired and to feel that sensation of excitement that certain indescribable emotions can be felt or explained so well through music.
What do you hope people take away from blasting Here in Your Bedroom on full volume?
Thank you! I don't think people know how hard it is to dig from raw emotions and make it something that people want to revisit and share with other people.
What would you say is the most important thing you've learned about yourself since leaving Jack in the Box to pursue music?
I've just gotten a lot stronger, I've always been kind of a push over and very easily persuaded, and you just can't be like that when you're building something that revolves around your identity. It can break you so easily, and I've had to solidify that core of who I am and who is genuinely around me for the right reasons. I'm still learning that!
What's the best and worst advice you've ever received?
I think the best advice I've received goes back to that last question on just knowing who I am and what I want from music, you can't really manifest something when you don't know exactly what you want and if you don't believe in yourself. I think the worst advice I got was to just go with the flow because I ended up not being fully satisfied with things that I probably would have done differently if I put the effort in to saying no and being more adamant about what I want.
You just moved to LA at an interesting time. How have you been staying safe and sane during quarantine?
I have to admit that I am going a little stir crazy, I know it'll be weeks - months until things are truly back to normal. I am using this time to binge a bunch of campy horror films and getting back to practicing witchcraft that I had put on the back burner for a while. It's not too bad especially when you're an antisocial homebody to begin with!
Who are your Ones To Watch?
I think right now my ones to watch are Chloe Lilac, she is SO underrated and the type of figure that young girls need right now. Almondmilkhunni is doing some HOT shit right now, her last EP was amazing, and I've also been listening to a bunch of Lontalius lately, he always seems to describe how I'm feeling way better than I can.
Listen to Here In Your Bedroom below: