the AU interview: Morgan Evans (Sydney) talks Thredbo, fans, award shows & new music

CMC Award winner, Morgan Evans is playing at the Snowy Mountains Country Music Festival this March. 2014 was a stellar year for Morgan, and 2015 is set to be even bigger and better. Mallory spoke to the musician about Thredbo, fans, award shows and new music.

I hear you’re going to be performing at the Snowy Mountains Country Music Festival in Thredbo this March?

I am. Yes. I love that part of the world for skiing and snowboarding. I’ve actually been down there a couple of times when it hasn’t been snowy and it’s just a beautiful place so I’m glad there will be country music down there as well, which will make it even cooler and it’s always fun to play.

What can people expect to see from your show?

Songs from the album – the EP. I’ve just come back from Nashville actually and I’ve got my head into writing at the moment, so we’re trying out a few new songs on the road – which is always exciting and nerve wracking but we shall see how people react to them. Above everything else, we haven’t played too much this year until last week and then right through until the Snowy Mountains Festival so I’m really excited to get up and play some music.

What’s it like performing in such a unique venue like Thredbo?

You always feel bad at some venues like that because last time I found they had the stage set up at the bottom of the ski field. They don’t ski at this time of the year, but from the stage you’re looking up over this mountain range – it’s almost a better view than the crowd playing. But I mean, it’s just cool. It adds to the excitement. As you start driving out on that winding road into Thredbo, it’s always exciting and you get to play music at the end of it which is what it’s all about.

Will you have time to see any of Thredbo while you’re there?

Absolutely. Yes. The guys from the band are really hardcore mountain bikers so they’re super keen to get up and ride some trails and stuff like that the next day. But we will try and make some time. We’re driving down there so we’ve got our own car [and] can just take it at our own pace.

Sometimes artists don’t ever get the chance – they’re just in and out of the gig so fast.

Being on the road, you get it all the time. So often you get there and you have the sound check and then you have to get ready for the show and then you do the show and then you have to pack up after the show. Before you know it, your time is over, but we’ll try to squeeze in a couple of hours the next morning.

There’s a great line up for the Festival. Who are you most looking forward to seeing perform?

They’re all sort of friends of mine on that bill. Adam Brand’s on there, The McClymonts, I’ve known them all since we were all 15 at school – so it’s always good to catch up with those guys. Catherine Britt, another Newcastle girl, I never see her in Newcastle so I’m sure I’ll see her down there. It’s just good to hang and catch up for us so there’s that aspect to it as well.

Do you prefer large festival gigs or small intimate gigs?

You can’t have one without the other, I don’t think. As far as I’m concerned, as a songwriter it’s just really nice to sit down somewhere like Lizottes in Newcastle, like we’re playing this weekend and everyone is sitting there listening to every word you’re saying. And then it’s pretty awesome to get up on a big stage to thousands of people all singing the same song too! I write music for both situations, and maybe that’s the measure of a good song too, if it can stack up in both situations.

Festival gigs must be a good platform for people who may not have heard you before too?

Absolutely. I think with country music there’s a real community of people as well, so to see or meet someone that just discovered you at that Festival because they’re a country music fan, not necessarily ever heard of you and then they like a song or they like the set, then that’s always a huge benefit. Especially when we’re never the biggest band on that bill so it’s always great to play to other people’s fans.

Do you have any memorable fan experiences?

The most memorable fan experience you can get is when you see someone singing the words back to a song you wrote. That’s the greatest feeling that I can think of to do with playing music. I think the most important part of music is the expression of a feeling or emotion and then the connection with someone else that feels that. I think that’s the desire to fulfill that when playing on stage and you totally get that when you make eye contact with someone singing the words and every time that happens it’s the best moment ever.

What’s it like attending attending so many award shows?

The Country Music Awards are always fun. The CMCs will be huge this year! They’re really exciting. I’m just seeing it all come together because I’m hosting them… it looks like it’s going to be pretty awesome. Got some big international artists playing and it’s up in Brisbane this year too which will be new and exciting.

What’s it like hosting the awards?

It’s a nerve wracking job. I figure if you over prepare you can go with the flow. I hosted the Golden Guitars in January as well, so that was my first experience of it. The first thing I did, I was so nervous! But after a little while, I sort of settled into it and it’s okay, but I’m sure I will be extremely nervous up there again and then hopefully I’ll settle into it again.

Who have you most enjoyed touring with?

The Taylor Swift tour is one that I’ll never forget because we were playing such a small venue. The atmosphere in there was insane! – for that reason I’ll never forget that tour. Then there was the Alan Jackson tour we did as well, which it was a year before last and we just got to go around and play all these massive places like Rod Laver Arena and Acer Arena and all these places you go and see your favourite bands play. There’s a buzz involved with that for sure.

How would you sum up 2014 for you?

It’s the best year I’ve ever had! I brought out my first album and people seem to like it which is an awesome feeling. All the messages you get on Facebook, you see when they buy it and it goes on the charts, when the radio plays it, and when people like you actually want to talk to me it’s a cool thing, all because of the music you made. It was an awesome year – by far the best one yet and the start of this year has been pretty amazing too. I guess I’m just trying to make the most out of every single moment.

What can we expect from you in 2015?

Hopefully the best shows we’ve ever played! – make every one better than the last. Most importantly the new music that I’ve started work on. I’m most excited about that. It’s just interesting to see where it will all go musically at this point.

So you’re working on a new album?

Yeah, writing it and working on it and it should come out this year for sure. We’re aiming for an album to be out this year and hopefully a single sooner than that.

Lastly, do you have anything to say to the fans?

Thanks so much for all your support so far. I can’t wait to see you down there in the Snowy Mountains and play some music for you!

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