The Mobros: True Sound, Higher Meaning.
The Mobros: True Sound, Higher Meaning.
“If you are not embarrassed by who you were last year, then you have not progressed enough this year.”
- Kelly Morris (Guitar / Vocals)
The Morris brothers epitomize the evolution of Rock n’ Roll which the South was previously famous for during the mid-1950’s and 60’s. They channel a modernization of R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough, while extracting influences from Quincy Jones’s time with Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury’s flare and showmanship. I went to The Mobros home and sat down in their mattress walled recording studio to catch up with the dynamic duo. I learned about their new album, Characters, which is four years in the making.
Do you have any internal conflict being raised Catholic, going to Catholic school, and shooting the music video for Carrie Anne in drag?
Kelly: I am not really a religious person. As a kid I was following the faith but then I got tired of following superstition. Before I even went to Catholic school I wanted to get it out of my life. I felt like it was taking me down this path that was fictitious and I saw what it does to other people. Why am I following something that is written by another human about the unknown? I think I wanted to get away from it. I saw that denomination had segregated our whole species. We have killed each other over it, over something we cannot even explain, we have deemed it unexplainable. So how is it we are preaching it to the masses.
That being said, some people in my family didn’t like it. Even my Dad was uncomfortable watching it, I am not even sure if he liked the video at all. He knew how much work it was to put it together so he respected it. No one should ever make you reluctant to pursue your art or what you believe in.
Patrick Morris (Drums / Vocals): Our Dad’s side is Irish Catholic; his mother is from Ireland. Our Mom is from Trinidad which was conquered by the Spanish making it very Catholic. My mother's side is devout Catholic but very spiritualistic, it is different in the Caribbean.
Pat: We are trying to cover both music and visual art at the same time. We are trying to portray an emotion through music and I think how we shot Carrie Anne was the best way to do that.
Tell me about the unreleased song and music video for Don’t You See?, which is the track that follows Carrie Anne on the new album.
Kelly: The process kind of works in osmosis, I started writing it about the emotion of the last day of high school. It is the last time you will wrestle Jake in the hallway, push him down, or mess around with him. One last time you are going to flirt with Katherine. It is the last day of this life you have been living for four years. It’s like the last day of the enclosed world you call high school. It is that sudden realization: this is the last time all my friends and all of these people will be in the same building ever again.
Pat and I are the main characters parading out of school and we are realizing 'Wait, what’s next? What are we going to do now? Who am I and what’s my identity in this new world?' Then we are presented with two paths in life. To the left is the moral path, where you go out and you live normally and separately across the world. The other path is the sacred hearts path where you go through a ritual and your class becomes a spiritual tribe in the forest forever. Pat, me, and a group of friends decide to take this path and in the video you will see us get consumed by the forest through a ritual and become spirits of the forest.
I started making this about the emotion of the last day of school, then I realized there was this other part about it: what if we made a scenario that all these characters stay together? They get stuck in this world out in the forest and we have the beginning of the realm of eternal spirituality.
How does the album develop from here?
Kelly: Sacred Hearts is the next track. It starts when we are in the realm of the eternal forest with all these characters. It is about eternity, because eternity even exists now. If you look at the whole universe, you are essentially stuck here. Whether or not you believe in an afterlife, the material part of you, the microbial part of you will remain here forever.
Have y’all recorded the entire album yet?
Pat: Most of the album is written and recorded, but the thing about working with analog equipment is that it goes on the fritz. Not a lot of people know how to work on tape machines, especially in the South. Luckily, we have a friend in Asheville we were able to drop it off with.
Pat: Carrie Anne took a year just to figure out the sonic signature for the drums. We have been working on this album since 2014.
Kelly: I broke the tape machine because I was so addicted to getting the sound right. It was kind of like torture. If you are OCD in anyway you will keep yourself in a room without food or water until it is done, because you know you will be able to live and breathe afterwards.
Kelly: It’s like a marble stone and you are chipping away at it; You see the Statue of David, you see Peter in there. There is an old Greek narrative that the statue already exists in the marble. I say fuck that. That’s not true. You have to create it. You have to be the architect. This song did not exist before I created it. It may have existed in my mind, but before I create it, it does not exist.
It took a year to get one song right, why are you recording with analog?
Kelly: The guitar sounds more aggressive on tape. It sounds like an Appaloosa stallion that is fighting its rider. You are this rider that’s on this wild, bucking stallion that you just found in the woods. It is untamed. You don’t want to tame it because it's beautiful the way it is. The analog sound is perfect for this sonic sound that were trying to go for. The guitar and drums sound a way that is impossible to recreate digitally.
The Morris brothers are a true talent who strive to write with depth and passion on topics they deem most important. Katy Perry’s producer once approached the duo with promises of fame and fortune; however, there was a caveat, relinquish themselves from writing their own music. Thankfully for us, they opted not to sell their soul to the Devil. They have since toured for half a decade booking close to 300 shows a year, mostly without a manager. Now they have slowed their roll and call Charleston home as they work through year four of recording their new album, Characters.
Be on the lookout for the release of the new album with the supported music video “Don’t You See?” coming this month.
Written By: Sanchez Tortuga / @Sanchez_Tortuga
All Film Photos ©2018 Taylor L. Czerwinski & 9 To 5 Magazine