Published on March 11th, 2016 | by TLV News0
Local Musician Morgan Pennington Snags “Townies” Hat Trick
Morgan Pennington holds the distinction of being TLV’s only triple-crown winner in our recent Townies Awards, having won Favorite Songwriter, Vocalist, and Barista. While not slinging espresso, Morgan fronts local band And the Echo, bringing their unique brand of atmospheric, synth-based, darkly melodic pop music to enthusiastic Mississippi audiences. The band, consisting of Morgan and producer Winn McElroy, has been hard at work on their first LP, which they will be promoting with a slew of shows, starting April 21st at Proud Larry’s, and leading into a CD release party during Double Decker Festival weekend. We sat down with Morgan in the studio, to ask her about her process, her day job, her inspirations, and her idea for a hot new “Local” festival.
So, congratulations on the triple-threat showing in the 2016 Townies Awards. Were you surprised to win in three different categories?
I’m always surprised to win anything like that. It’s so nice to feel appreciated for things that you never really expect to be appreciated for.
What’s the story of how you first decided to try a more electronic, synth-based sound with your music?
Well, it started when I went in to Winn’s studio to record an acoustic EP. Then one night he played around with one of my tracks and added lots of synth and electronic sounds to it. He was nervous to show me at first because it was so different than the music I intended to have on my EP. I ended up loving it! Shortly after that we started writing songs together.
Who are some of your influences?
I love almost anything from the 80s. Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, and Devo. Madonna may be my biggest influence. I have always loved Madonna since I was a little kid. She is just a pop Goddess.
What changes would you like to see in Oxford’s music scene?
I think everyone does a pretty good job at being supportive of each other’s talents. One thing I would love to see, though, is a music festival that could really showcase all of the different talented local bands we have here in Oxford. “Local Voice Fest”… that has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
If you could perform with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and what would y’all do?
I know they haven’t always been in the electronic genre but I would love to perform with Tegan and Sara. Super typical, I know. But I think their music is hella fun to sing along to, and they’re always funny when they perform. I also would love to sing with Karen O. Or even get to stand next to her. Or just be in the same room. That would be enough, haha.
How has the transition from performing as a solo artist to being in a band influenced either your performances or the way you approach your songwriting process?
When I was doing solo music, everything I did was just me. It was always nerve wracking playing solo because it was all up to me to give a good performance. Some musicians prefer it that way. They like not depending on other people. I, however, prefer having a full band. It’s nice feeling like each performance is a team effort. Winn writes all of the music now, and I am solely responsible for coming up with the melody and lyrics. We work really well that way.
What do you strive for in an And The Echo show? What sorts of experiences are you trying to create for your audiences?
I strive for people to feel like they got to see something special. I want them to feel how excited I am to get to perform for them. It also wouldn’t hurt if they walk away with a song stuck in their head.