We first saw El Morgan when she played with Austin Lucas in Leeds last month and she blew us away. When we heard she was going to be in Manchester and at Refuse To Lose, we jumped at the chance to see her and have a chat.
After a few Facebook messages, we were sorted. Sat in a place commonly known, in Manchester, as Vimto Bottle (due to the giant wooden bottle of Vimto on it). We chatted to Miss Morgan about her first time in Manchester, getting to play with her heroes and her possible inclusion on The Revival Tour.
Ian Critchley: How’s it going?
El: Morgan: Pretty good. I’ve been in a car for a long time, but it’s pretty awesome.
Anthony Barlow: You drove up?
EM: We got driven up here from Portsmouth today.
IC: You’ve just come off a tour with Austin Lucas. How was that?
EM: Yes. It was brilliant. It was really good. It’s really good to tour with such an awesome artist. I met him last time and he’s sort of a bit of a good mate now as well,
AB: I was going to ask how the tour with Austin came about actually
EM: Well, I’m in a band called Livers & Lungs as well and we played with Austin at The Windmill in London, in Brixton, and sort of met him then. Our friend Lloyd booked his first tour, that we played with him on. Then in Swansea, we were supposed to play with him again, but some of the other band members couldn’t go, so I went on my own. Which meant I met him one on one and…
IC: You’ve played with some pretty high profile people too. What’s it like playing alongside your heroes, as such?
EM: Pretty awesome, because you kind of look it and you go “oh my god, I love these guys” and then you meet them and they’re really cool, normal people, really down to earth. It’s like, you can only be a fangirl for so long *laughs*.
AB: You’ve played with Chuck Ragan as well, haven’t you?
EM: Livers & Lungs did, yeah. We played with him when he did the Frank Turner tour. He came and did a show for the lovers of Chuck in Swansea. He was really cool.
AB: Nice. We missed the Leeds one.
IC: Yeah, we missed his secret gig in Leeds.
EM: Apparently, that was crazy. It was so much fun.
AB: Well, it was in Santiago’s. The best place in Leeds
IC: Speaking of Chuck Ragan, The Revival Tour is supposedly coming to the UK. Do you think you’d be part of that if it did?
EM: I think I might lose my shit if I got to be apart of the Revival Tour *laughs*. I dunno. I doubt it. I can’t wait to go and see them when he’s over with the Drag The River guys and Austin and Corey Branan. I’ll definitely be at some of those shows. I can’t wait.
IC: Your music has been put into the pigeon-hole genre of ‘folk-punk’. How do you feel about the rise of folk punk?
EM: I think a lot of people get tarred with folk-punk. I really like some folk-punk. I like a lot of artists who get told they’re folk-punk. I think that if you like punk music, but you happen to play an acoustic guitar you get put in folk-punk. I get the ‘folk’ tag a lot as well, so I dunno. It’s a bit of a cliche to say this, but tags are so annoying. You know what I mean?
AB: Yeah, definitely. You’ve been compared to acts like Laura Marling and Emmy The Great as well, how do you feel about that?
EM: The last one I got was Lily Allen. It’s amazing. I’m not sure how much I’d go for that myself. I think they’re amazing, but…
AB: Do you think it’s because you happen to be female and play an acoustic guitar?
EM: Yeah, a little bit. Occasionally. There’s a lot of really amazing artists and I think people try and find the closest thing. If they’re gonna use your gender to do that, then I’m not gonna hold it against them. It’s not always that close is it. People like to say ‘oh, it sounds like this. It sounds like that’. It’s just a matter of taste isn’t it.
AB: Of course, smooth talker over here (that’s Ian, by the way) compared you to Ani DiFranco in Leeds.
EM: Yeah. Well, that’s probably the nicest thing anyone’s ever said about me. I’m not sure if I’d go with that. I think she’s stunning.
IC: You’ve been getting some pretty high praise recently, we’ve got a great quote here: “If you don’t like El Morgan, you’re a dickhead”. That one’s from Austin [Lucas].
EM: *laughs* whiskey will make you say things like that.
IC: Against Me! played on Wednesday and we went drinking with them after and well… (Here’s where Ian, not so casually, glances at me – Anthony.)
AB: Oh yeah, I started bigging up your cover of ‘Sink Florida, Sink’…
EM: You didn’t?
AB:…to Tom Gabel whilst doing shots
EM: Whoa! *laughs*. What’s he like?
IC: He’s nice. He’s really nice. Everyone involved with the tour, all the crew and everything were all super friendly. George Rebelo is now my best friend.
IC: The album Fight Or Flight is dedicated to Nick Morgan, who is that?
EM: That’s my dad. He died last July. He brought me and my sister up, singing since we were very small. We were a very musical family, so we were very close. It’s been a pretty tough year.
IC: Yeah, definitely. Where did the name of the album come from?
EM: I, literally, woke up at five o’clock in the morning and knew that’s what it was gonna be called. *laughs* It was one of those inspiration things.
AB: Speaking of names, the name El Morgan is spelled so many different ways.
EM: Yeah, I know.
AB: *laughs* Is that your fault?
EM: I got nicknamed ‘L’, the letter, when I had just started sixth form, because I didn’t like being called Ellie. I just said call me L and they went “what? like L”. It just stuck, but when you’re nearly thirty you can’t really have a single letter name. When you’re at work and all that kind of thing. It’s just El for Eleanor.
IC: You’re a big supporter of the ‘Saafsee’ punk scene. Did I say that right?
EM: Yeah boi! *laughs*
IC: Do you know anything about the Manchester scene? If you do, how do you feel the two compare?
EM: Well, I love the 255 boys. When they came down to Southsea, it was really nice to meet those guys. I’m more of a newbie to it than Tim or Jack or other members, but it’s been really nice to meet a lot of people. I look forward to getting to know a little more about it, because I’ve never been to Manchester before, so this is my first time!
AB: Serious question now. If Chuck Ragan, Henry Rollins and a shark had a fight, who would win?
EM: Chuck Norris.
AB: Chuck Norris? Chuck Ragan.
EM: Chuck Norris would win in a fight against anyone. That’s the punchline.
AB: Well don’t I feel like an idiot now.
IC: When you played in Leeds, you drew a heart on your album cover when you signed it for me, does that mean that you’ll be my girlfriend?
EM: I’m afraid not, but it does mean I think you’re very nice. I’m afraid I’ve already got a boyfriend.
AB: You’ve crushed him now.
IC: I know, yeah. I’m not coming to the gig now.
IC: We thought you and Austin were gonna drive off a cliff, so that he could write some new material.
AB: How did it go?
EM: We’re planning on it. It’s in the pipeline. We were busy *laughs*. We found other things to write songs about. I stubbed my toe, it was a bit traumatic.
IC: That song, is it on the set list for tonight?
EM: Yeah, it’s where I’m gonna get the power for tonight from. My achey foot.
IC: Finally, you said it’s your first time in Manchester, is it going to be your last?
EM: Definitely not. Unless they kick me out and don’t let me back in.
AB: We’ve not been kicked out yet.
IC: Well, not for a while
AB: There was that one night…
IC: I think that’s all we’ve got so thanks a lot
AB: Yeah, thanks for doing it on such short notice
EM: It’s alright, cheers.
Check out El on Myspace.