Radiohead had an ex-Bond Girl’s mansion. Johnny Cash had California’s Folsom Prison. The Foo Fighters had David Grohl’s garage. Morning Wars had 125 Clarendon, the house where they wrote, recorded, mixed, and mastered their latest EP – Long Way Down. With only a Macbook Pro, a few guitars, and a midi keyboard, this is how these four Syracuse students did it.
Trevor Chesler, bassist, reflects on the initial stages of the title track. He states, “I wrote the lyrics for ‘Long Way Down’ at a pretty low point in my year. I had a lot of stuff going on and I needed to get all of it off my chest. This song is all about growing up and transitioning through all of life’s phases. It sort of captures all the thoughts and feelings that we had poured into the release over the past year. It was also the first song co-written by our newest member Ben Friedman.”
Chesler continues, “We wrote a huge bulk of the song in one afternoon and took it to Marc immediately and he added all the dope synths and gospel vocals to it. Later in the production cycle, Mintz came up with some incredible guitar variations which made everything just pop with Cali surfer rock vibes.” He refers to this process as Morning Wars’ creative peak during the drafting of the album, something they’re all incredibly proud of.
But not all the tracks were met with such enthusiasm. The fifth song on the EP, “Breathing Underwater” took some convincing. Eventually, all the members agreed that it deserved a spot on their catalogue and it caught some influential eyes. Soon after the release, it received placement on Spotify’s Fresh Finds playlist, converting strangers to fans and fans to loyalists.
“It took about a year to make from inception to completion,” Marc Ramos, the lead vocalist of the group, notes. He continues, “We really wanted to have it released before we graduated back in May, but I knew that if we rushed the process, we wouldn’t get the results we aimed for in the beginning. We took our time.” And it shows. From self-reflective tracks such as “Runaway” to romantic odes like “Hold on Me,” this EP encapsulates the turmoils of life, love, and longing. While Syracuse University and a hallowed college residence played a large role in Morning Wars’ creative processes, the aforementioned themes are timeless.
With the conclusion of this project, Ramos regards their greatest challenge as an artist’s constant struggle to be their own. He states, “Having self-produced all of our music, I sometimes found it challenging to ensure that we weren’t just another carbon copy of a pre-existing band, but I found that if you write music that is true to who you are, that sense of genuine musicianship will shine through no matter how you sound or what you write about.”
And with that, the boys of Morning Wars have let us into their creative process, made us fall in love with the individual tracks as well as the project in its entirety, and of course, left us anxiously awaiting the next release.