From the very first notes of Glass Sky, the anxiously-awaited debut album from UK dream pop outfit Morning Myth, it's clear that you're about to embark upon a dreamy and magical journey that will transport your entire being to a utopia of musical enchantment. Lush waves of magnificent, shimmering guitars and exquisite, blissful vocals create a gorgeous and warm sonic fabric that delicately intertwines the ten tracks of this stunning album. A modern-day Cocteau Twins comes to mind as the listener sets sail upon this sonic voyage.
Morning Myth is the musical collaboration of guitarist Ross King and vocalist Aimee Herbert-Smith, who were brought together at the start of 2018 by a mutual admiration for Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, John Martyn, and Fleetwood Mac. It was just over a year ago that Morning Myth presented the first taste of their music with their hazy, gentle-paced debut single, "Murmur," a lovely track that immediately captivated my attention. I had already discovered Aimee's voice and songwriting under her moniker as Mere Child. The emergence of Morning Myth provided yet another musical avenue in which to hear more of Aimee, in this context presenting her own vocal interpretations of Ross' beautifully-layered, atmospheric compositions. In June 2018, the duo released four of their compositions in the form of their debut EP, Everything Is A Photograph.
Glass Sky effortlessly flows from start to finish - it's seriously one of those albums that you must listen to in its entirety from start to finish to properly take in the entire musical journey. It's a crisp, fresh soundtrack for any season, with clear influences of iconic bands like Cocteau Twins and The Sundays, with subtle elements of John Martyn and Fleetwood Mac. While every track on Glass Sky is stunning, my two favorites are "Human Love" and "Jewel of the Sky."
SoundThread Music Blog had the opportunity to chat with both Ross and Aimee about the birth of the Morning Myth collaboration, the new album, and get a glimpse into what's next for the band.
[STMB]: Congratulations on the release of your debut album! How did the Morning Myth collaboration come about? I'd been following Aimee with her Mere Child project prior to the first Morning Myth releases.
[AIMEE]: Ross got in touch over SoundCloud asking if I'd be interested in a collaboration. After hearing an acoustic version of "Murmur" on his SoundCloud page it was a no brainer. What a songwriter!
[ROSS]: I was actually looking for a singer for a different project back in 2008 and I first discovered Aimee’s voice whilst trawling through MySpace - I think she was singing in the folk-rock band Laveer at the time. I loved her voice so I got in touch to discuss a possible collaboration but, unfortunately, as we were both busy with our other band commitments, things didn’t progress far beyond exchanging a couple of emails.
Fast forward 10 years to 2018 and, once again, I was searching for a singer (on SoundCloud this time) for the Morning Myth project and I stumbled across Mere Child’s music. Again, I was bowled over by that beautiful voice so I sent Aimee a message asking if she’d be interested in a collaboration. It wasn’t until a year after we’d started working together that it suddenly dawned on me that it was the very same Aimee that I had contacted back in 2008! (I recently informed Aimee of this fact and it blew her mind!). Some kind of fated serendipity at work!
[STMB]: Is there any significance or background to the name Morning Myth?
[ROSS]: The name was taken from a poem by Sylvia Plath. I love her work and the name just seemed to suit our sound somehow.
[STMB]: The music you create is gorgeous, polished, consistent and beautifully atmospheric. What do you each contribute to the creative process?
[AIMEE]: So far the songs have been all written by Ross, with a general melody for the lyrics. However there have been adaptations on some of the tracks, with vocal improvisations and new sections added in places.
[ROSS]: Thanks! I currently write and record all the music in my (very basic) home studio. I always write on the acoustic guitar and then build up sounds and textures by adding instruments and applying various effects. I’ll usually have a melody in mind when I compose a piece of music so then it’s a case of working out the lyrics to fit the melody. Once I’m happy with it, I’ll send the finished instrumental backing track and lyrics over to Aimee along with a rough video of me performing the song acoustically which she’ll use as a guide to create those wonderfully rich layered vocal harmonies. Then Aimee will email me back her ideas and the song is born.
Working with Aimee is a dream come true. She instinctively knows what the songs need in terms of dynamics and feel. As you know, Aimee is a fantastic songwriter in her own right and we will definitely be incorporating more of her compositions in future Morning Myth releases.
[STMB]: How does a Morning Myth song transition from its initial seed or idea to its final form?
[ROSS]: It’s quite a straightforward process really. Every song begins with the acoustic guitar. I never have a preconceived idea of how I want a song to sound - it’s just whatever happens naturally. I almost always use alternate tunings on the guitar - something that I picked up from folk guitar luminaries such as John Martyn, Nick Drake and Bert Jansch. It allows me to discover beautiful and unexpected chord shapes and chord progressions, which gives the songs their distinctive sound and feel. I’m a sucker for a warm chord! So really, the song structures and melodies are dictated to me by the tuning I’m using.
[AIMEE]: Ross writes the tracks, sends me over an acoustic version with a rough idea for the melody, and we kind of go from there. It's been a really great process for me, I'd never worked like this before and it's taken on a whole new life of its own. The way I approach it is to have just one listen to the initial track melody/idea Ross has sent over. Then I play the audio file (without lyrics) and start coming up with a selection of harmony ideas. I don't know why I work like this, but it's been quite organic, and has certainly helped me get a real feel for each individual song.
[STMB]: Your sound and production draws comparisons to Cocteau Twins, in particular. Bands like Cocteau Twins, Slowdive and Swallow played a big influence on my musical tastes. Are they one of your primary musical influences or inspirations? Are there other particular musical influences for your music?
[AIMEE]: Liz Fraser has always been a huge influence for me, and when I first heard some of the tracks Ross had written, it was clear we had some clear musical influences, hence why I was so keen to collaborate. I think we both draw from a very similar musical background, with John Martyn, Cocteau Twins and Fleetwood Mac definitely at the forefront.
[ROSS]: Absolutely. I spent my teenage years growing up in the 90's listening to bands like the Cocteau Twins, Slowdive and The Sundays. They were the soundtrack of my youth and are a big influence on our sound. I’ve always been drawn to the dreamier/folkier side of pop - everything from the Everly Brothers to Fleetwood Mac. Folk musicians and singer-songwriters from the 1960’s and 70’s are also hugely influential, particularly on my guitar playing. Artists such as Nick Drake, John Martyn, Bert Jansch, Joni Mitchell and Judee Sill.
I’ve always been interested in merging the blissed out soundscapes of dreampop and shoegaze with the rootsy sensibilities of acoustic music. I find that mix very appealing. I love the way John Martyn effortlessly combined the acoustic guitar with his spaced out echoplex explorations. His track "Small Hours" is sublime - a stunning piece of acoustic/ambient music that still sounds as fresh today today as it did when it was recorded. Bibio is another artist that I admire who seamlessly blends acoustic and electronic music to great effect.
[STMB]: I hear that an upcoming music video is in the works to accompany the album release?
[ROSS]: Aimee has been hard at work making a video for our track "Human Love" (she also made one last year for "Beyond the Blue"). Making videos can be a frustrating process and it’s a bit of a learning curve for us but we’re happy to have a stab at it. We’re both graphic designers by trade which is handy as it means that we’re able to keep the artwork side of things all ‘in-house’ so to speak. So all the photography and design for our releases are all done by ourselves.
MORNING MYTH "HUMAN LOVE" (Official Music Video)
[STMB]: Is there any particular song on Glass Sky that embodies the overall theme of the album from your perspective?
[AIMEE]: Well, "Halo" is the track that I would say has the overall sound and feel that embodies the album... But, for me personally, it has to be "Murmur." I swing between favourites, but this one is very special to me, as it was the first track I recorded with Ross. It's so beautifully written, the pace of it, and the sentiment.
[ROSS]: I think I’d have to say "Murmur." This was the first song that Aimee and I did together back in 2018 not long after we first met. I remember the hairs on the back of my neck standing up as I listened to the initial ideas that I got back from Aimee. I recall thinking (probably with a massive grin on my face).. yep, this is gonna work out just fine! That track pretty much encapsulates the tone and feel of the album for me.
[STMB]: What is next for Morning Myth?
[ROSS]: Well we’re already working on new material for the next album which will be released sometime in the new year. Live shows are certainly a possibility, it’s just a case of working out what the context would be. i.e..whether we’d perform acoustic stripped back versions of the songs as a duo or maybe get other musicians involved.
[AIMEE]: Well, we're well under way on album two! I've also been writing a lot recently so there's plenty in the Morning Myth pipeline!
Thanks to both Ross and Aimee for providing all the insightful responses!