Rising Stars [Issue
Morel Gets Lucky By
As radio playlists
get less imaginative everyday, artists that push the envelope, mix genres, and
challenge the mainstream are growing fewer by the minute.
electro-pop band Morel, brainchild of the Washington DC-based, multi-hyphenate
Richard Morel, is creating the kind of music that cant be
easily pigeonholed, labeled, or ignored. And thats the way
Morel likes it.
Morel made a name for himself as a producer and a remixer, frequently
collaborating with Deep Dish. Hes scored club hits with remixing
New Order, Depeche Mode, the Pretenders and others. Recently, Morel
turned his sights on starting a band and making his own music with
the 2002 release Queen of the Highway.
Spending as much time strumming a guitar and singing as he did behind
a mixer, Morel shook up his core audience of dance music fans. Likewise,
on his new disc Lucky Strike (Yoshi Toshi Records), and with
his side-project Blowoff, Morel continues to expand his eclectic
In the studio and onstage, Morel toes the line between the world
of rock and that of dance music. I have a five-piece band
as well as the studio stuff, explained Morel in a recent phone
interview. The more organic songs I write on guitar, and then
I sort out the songs with the band and we record them that way,
whereas the more electronic stuff evolves in the studio where the
computer is the primary collaborator.
Morel sees new technology as helpful to all musicians. Today
if youre not taking advantage of whats out there as
far as electronics, I think youre kind of missing the boat,
Morel comments. Ive always thought that the best music
pushes the envelope of technology and musicianship, even back to
For Morel, good music goes beyond labels and genres. As a
kid, radio was different than it is now, he said. It
was all mixed up. It wasnt like you had a rock station or
an urban station. There were one or two FM stations that played
album cuts and they would mix up the Temptations with Led Zeppelin,
and it didnt seem weird. Thats what music is. Now everything
seems so much more segregated, which Im still mad about.
Lucky Strike freely adds ingredients from multiple genres,
which may have some fans scratching their heads, even if they cant
resist nodding them to the beat. The majority of the cuts seamlessly
blend rock and electronic sounds. Morel splits the difference on
the song Ill Do What I Can Not to Touch You, which
can be found in two distinct versions on the disc.
I try to alienate everybody, Morel joked. I think
that audiences and music fans are so much smarter then people give
them credit for. Theyre gonna deal with it (blending genres)
in the same way that their record collection is made up of Sasha,
Primal Scream, U2, and, I dont know, Limp Bizkit.
Unlike many other artists in all genres, Morel is always looking
to avoid becoming repetitive or predictable. If theres
somebody youre a fan of, they always make that record that
you have a hard time with, said Morel and I have to
say why am I having a hard time with this? I cant expect
them to make the same record over and over and over again.