With their debut EP, Los Angeles-based band The Morning Yells are already drawing comparisons to Wilco and Fleetwood Mac. Siblings Laura and Phil Stancil are joined by Curran McDowell and Trevor Smith with all five contributing to songwriting and easily jumping from piano to guitar to bass. Their new EP Proper Wilted was recorded with Mark Rains and finds the quartet adeptly covering a variety of genres all highlighted by their heavenly harmonies. Here, the members talk about the album, weigh in on drinking at gigs, and much more in their Essential 8.
What’s the story behind your album’s title?
Our guitarist, Trevor Smith’s best friend Louis lives in England, and in England they have a saying for when you’re having a particularly good buzz… “Proper Wilted.” I don’t know, it made us laugh, and we thought it had a sort of ring to it. Especially pronounced in a British accent, which we tend to talk in anyways with each other, for some reason. ‐ Laura 2.
When/where do you do your best writing?
Usually when I’m driving in my car, snippets of songs or melodies pop into my head, or complete songs just the way they should be come to me on long drives. Also, about ten minutes after I try to lay down to sleep for the night, songs start to get real busy all the sudden in my head. ‐ Laura
What’s the best advice to give to a musician just starting out?
Write a lot, play a lot of shows, and try and connect with other musicians. Keep yourself busy, and not too far down the road you’ll no longer be just starting out. Also, make some goals and timelines for what you want to accomplish. And finally, put on a helmet and brace yourself, because music will kick your ass.
What’s your dream venue and why?
The Greek Theater in LA. Everyone we love has played there. The scenery and ambiance are incredible, and somehow the sound is still good for an outdoor venue. It’s definitely a bucket list item for us.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
Adam Granduciel from War On Drugs. His records sound incredible, and his knack for 80’s heartland rock and spaced out shoegaze influenced guitars are right up our alley. I’ve also always had a dream of collaborating with Brian Wilson and George Martin. I guess in that scenario my collaborating would probably just be sitting in the corner watching them work. RIP George.
Which song of yours gets the best crowd response?
Sad Eyed Boy, but we still don’t really know why. Lots of sad dudes out there! That’s the song that gets people coming up to us after the show and doing the whole ‐ “duudee, Sad Eyed Boy…” It’s one of the band’s favorites as well.
Is drinking at gigs a positive or a negative?
Ahh, there it is! Depends on what time we play. If it’s early in the night, a drink always helps. If we play a late set, the drinks may leave us a bit loose. It’s a balancing act for any band I’m sure. Also we have a few extra dynamics going on ‐ Laura and I are siblings ‐ Dangerous. Also, Laura and Trevor are romantic together ‐ Also dangerous. End of the day we like to have a good time.
Favorite thing to do on a day off?
Laura likes to get out of town and take a nice hike, Phil loves to surf, and Trevor and Curran tend to find themselves hustling a pool table somewhere in Los Angeles. Also anytime we have a day off we’re generally still doing something related to music ‐writing, demoing, booking shows.
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