We recently had the chance to interview Morgan Kibby of M83, who has recently started her solo project under the name “White Sea.” Her debut In Cold Blood is set for release on May 20th via Crush Music/SONGS?.
Northern Transmissions: You said your new album In Cold Blood, “couldn’t be more self-reflective or personal if you had tried.” Were you going through a tough period while writing it?
White Sea: Indeed I was. Loss is a curious catalyst for a lot of life events. Self-reflection, growth, pain… I suffered a classic larger than life breakup and because I dealt with such a raw and painful hand in the experience, I somehow lost any ego-fear of being judged in life and ultimately my work. So I let it all hang out in my writing. Ultimately the event culminated in “In Cold Blood.”
NT: The record was inspired by a number of various films, as well as singers including Donna Summer and Prince. How does film inspire your music?
WS: Visuals help me formulate metaphors and a verbal palette for emotions. Being able to contextualize my emotional experiences in a physical way through adjectives, expressions, descriptions… I feel it makes my writing richer and more visceral. Terrence Malick is a huge visual inspiration for me because he uses very little dialogue, but his images tell such strong stories and points of view. I take a lot of inspiration from seeing things and then being able to use those visuals to contextualize my own narrative.
NT: You have quite a bit of experience in production and mixing. Are you a bit harder on yourself when you’re in the Studio? Did you have some outside help on the album?
WS: I am extremely hard on myself. I think the older I get the more I realize I have to learn, and as a result my process is frought with more and more questions pertaining to taste, vision and skill level… That being said, this record is my baby from start to finish. I’m it’s mother and it’s daughter. I had some incredible additional production help on three separate songs from two master producers (Mark Ronson and Greg Kurstin), but cumulatively those sessions only added up to about four days total with other people. This is a very true expression of who I am as a writer and producer from top to bottom.
NT: A Magazine in Los Angeles described you as “LA’s Renaissance woman of pop,” does this quote bother you a bit?
WS: Absolutely not. I think it couldn’t be more accurate! I dabble in many things (production, remixing, writing, vocalizing, scoring, filmmaking) so for me this is probably the most accurate description of who I am and who I aim to be. My creativity is definitely not bound to one specific craft within my creative realm, and I find I naturally gravitate towards expressing myself in different musical mediums. It keeps me keen to learn, inspired and on my toes creatively.
NT: Did you feel compelled to head out on your own, after having so much success with M83 and mixing other artists?
WS: It was a natural progression. After all, M83 is Anthony’s baby as White Sea ultimately became mine. I have the last word with White Sea, that is not the case with M83. I definitely wanted to challenge myself and try to see what I was capable of writing and producing on my own.
NT: Given the opportunity, is there anyone that you would really like to collaborate with in the future?
WS: Top of a long list… Prince. James Murphy. Jay-Z. Nils Frahm. St. Vincent.
NT: Which five albums continue to inspire you?
WS: Joni Mitchell-Blue
LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
Max Richter – Memory House
Nick Drake – Everything he ever wrote…
Outkast – Every album