Artist of the Week: Glenn MorrisonFebruary 19th, 2009
Canada’s finest EDM talent appears to be concentrating himself to multiple things in only just a second. He divides his attention between running his Morrison Recordings label, producing fine tunes like ‘No Sudden Moves’ and ‘Contact’, creating soundscapes for videogames and movies, plus entertaining the crowds with his mix of warm, melodic proghouse and bigroom clubsounds. But there’s more, for Glenn Morrison also has a master degree in his pocket. And even though the music industry plays a big role in his life, he looks back upon his university years with a great sense of nostalgia. Glenn: ‘I have nothing but great memories from university, and I am a nerd at heart.’ Time to found out what this successful nerd is all about!
The piano man
The fascination for music was there from an early start. Glenn grew up with high-level piano lessons, and pointed out his sense and talent for music. Being a teenager, it wasn’t always easy on him. Practicing, performing and creating were part of his daily life, as he competed on the national stage from a young age. Some may describe it as being lucky, gifted with talent or something close, but to Glenn it was mostly a matter of hard work. Glenn: ‘Well, I wouldn’t say anything was lucky! Aside from the whole classical piano world (which is a whole different world in itself), I worked so hard, day in and out, to learn the music, learn how to function in an ever changing industry, and most of all, have fun at it. Sometimes it’s really hard on me, but when I make a great record or play a great show, everything floods back and I remember why I’m doing this.’
Having this thing for music also resulted in a new love, perhaps even the love of his life: Electronic Dance Music. Or shortened: dance. Glenn: ‘I remember the exact point when it hit me actually. I was 14 and at a huge house (as in high school) party. There was a guy in the basement playing on some equipment that I had no clue what it meant or was, and it sounded incredible! Classic techno records I remember, from Bush Records, and one track in particular (my friends will laugh when they hear me say this), ‘Gent – High Fly’.’ This new enchantment opened up a whole new chapter in Glenn’s life, both personal and business wise. He got the chance to get in touch with the business side of music industry by working as an A&R for Toronto’s Release Records. It’s around that time, that Glenn started working on some of his own stuff. Glenn: ‘I started producing only a couple years ago. I was heavily involved in the music industry before I started producing and creating music, so for me I was very fortunate to have a lot of friends who were producers that would help teach me the ropes and tricks in the early stages. I started sending out promos and had lots of great support, so I’m very grateful for that.’
Taking so many of his time, dance sort of took over from where his musical journey began: classical piano play. In reply to the question whether he regrets ‘giving up’ on his other career, Glenn explains that he didn’t really gave up on anything. Glenn: ‘That’s a great question actually, I’ve never been asked that before. I love electronic music so much, in all its forms, so for me playing classical piano was a precursor to playing electronic music. I still practice every once in awhile, mostly work from my old repertoire, and I love it. For the moment though, electronic music really occupies most of my time.’
Speaking of time, to this young, inspiring guy, there’s not enough hours in a day. In 2005, he started his own record label, Morrison Recordings. Glenn took all the knowledge he acquired from his work as an A&R and lectures at University and went for one of his dreams. Glenn: ‘Around that time in 2005 I was just finishing up working for Release Records here in Toronto, and I wanted to get to another level of experience and development in my own musical career. So for me it made sense to start a label, and put forth a type of sound that I believed in. It wasn’t a matter of a lack of music out there but more so me just wanting to do something unique and tangible, something I could hold onto, metaphorically speaking.’
A nerd at heart
So, what’s more to know about Glenn? Well, if you take a look behind his super DJ image, you’ll actually find a nerd at heart. With the start of Morrison Recordings, Glenn also started to produce music for videogames and movies. Exactly, a nerd’s dream come true. Glenn: ‘I just love videogames and that’s really how it all started, haha! My friends and I play the Xbox360 all the time; Call of Duty, FIFA, Tiger Woods, it’s great. Making videogame and computer music for these big companies was really fun, because it’s music making with no boundaries. No rigid 4/4 dance structure, just ambient soundscapes and trip hop grooves. I absolutely love working with these templates, the latest one I was doing work for was Blizzard Entertainment’s forthcoming ‘Diablo’ computer game. It was dark, with a surrealistic type of soundscapes, and so much fun.’ Besides being a videogame junkie, Glenn’s also a very studious person. But he’s got to admit that music has taken the better part of him. Glenn: ‘I took a deferral actually because the music industry was treating me so well! I was supposed to attend Harvard in September of 2008, but I really want to see how far I can take this. I would love to have music as my full time job and career, it’s everything to me. And I am very studious. I loved going to university. I studied law and critical theory in my final years, and early on I studied some English and psychology, all at University of Toronto. I had such an amazing time at university, I loved my professors so much and they were such inspirations to me in how I conducted my business, both professional and personal. I have nothing but great memories from university, and I am a nerd at heart.’ The only thing missing, is a pair of glasses. Or would he wear them in his spare time?
In 2008, Glenn decided it was time to team-up with Armada Music, and so the Morrison Recordings label became part of the Armada family. Glenn: ‘Reactions so far have been fantastic! I love the Armada team, they are such good people and also very professional, so the collaboration has been a golden horseshoe so to speak. We have released some great records and releases together, and many more to come. The next release on the label is a record called ‘Pan – Standing By My Side’ with remixes by Gutterstylz, Lemon Missile (aka 16 Bit Lolita’s), Ormatie, Mike Hoska, Fred Numf, and the Original. It’s a terrific package.’ When it comes to his own productions, there’s another exciting project coming up as well. Same goes for his DJ adventures. Glenn: ‘I have an amazing tour coming up this week in South America with Armin, and it will be nice to get out of this cold Toronto weather and get down to South America and the summer for a bit! There will be a huge EP of me for the Winter Music Conference time in Miami. Big room melodic club bangers with vocals. That’s all I’ll say for now, but they are absolutely brilliant I feel; I’m very proud of them.’
And we’re proud to have a top guy like Glenn with us.
More info about Glenn Morrison at www.glennmorrison.com
Glenn Morrison – February 2009
Check their Exclusive Armada Mix here!
There’s nothing like Musetta’s typical sound. Right after the beautiful ‘Red Star’, Glenn Morrison is presenting a new jewel from this Italian duo: ‘Nicotine’. While the bitter taste of nicotine forms the center of attention in this track, it’s the beloved, soulful voice of Marinella Mastrosimone that captures the senses. Glenn Morrison took the honor to transform this ambient pearl into a progressive banger with a mysterious touch, while Todd Mackenzie calms it all down into an enchanting chilled version. Last but not least, Tyler Michaud and Manuel de la Mare gave it a bit of a housy feel, with a summer-minded, dreamy break. As you can see, all favours and flavours are represented.
If you love the Musetta sound, you’ll surely put these on repeat!
1. Nicotine (Original Mix)
2. Nicotine (Glenn Morrison Remix)
3. Nicotine (Todd Mackenzie Mix)
4. Nicotine (Tyler Michaud & Manuel de la Mare Remix)