Psychedelic pop-rock band The Morning After Girls may be new to the U.S. but they’ve already made their mark on the Australian music scene. After recording and developing their sound for a number of years in Melbourne and Sydney, founding members Martin Sleeman and Sacha Lucashenko decided to make the move to New York City. In the wake of their relocation, they began to collaborate with current bandmates EJ Hagen, Alexander White, and Anthony Johnson. A few years back, The Morning After Girls toured as openers for alternative sensation, The Brian Jonestown Massacre; this year, the band will make the leap to headliner after the release of their new album, “Alone.”
Recently, I talked via e-mail with TMAG member Martin Sleeman about his new album, the band’s decision to move and their bizarre show in Cleveland.
Steph Freitag: How did the members of your band meet?
Martin Sleeman: Shortly after settling into our residences in NYC, myself and Sacha were introduced via a friend of mine to Alex White. Through Alex, we met EJ Hagen and shortly after, through a chance meeting on the corner of West 157th and Broadway in Washington Heights, I met Mr. Anthony Johnson. We shared coffee, life experiences and the rest is fast becoming history.
SF: How would you describe the band’s dynamic?
MS: The band’s dynamic is based around a very strong mutual respect of the very things which give life its beauty – human nature, love, loss, tragedy, relationships, which is then all mixed in with a very, very heavy hand of humor.
SF: What’s it been like working on “Alone”?
MS: It was one of the most uniquely enduring experiences of mine and Sacha’s lives. We went everywhere that a soul can go whilst sharing something that means so much to one’s self, both personally and within our relationship together. Working on this album gave us both some of the most acute experiences of the dichotomy of being together alone, and alone together, that we’ve ever experienced.
SF: How would you describe its overall sound?
MS: Right now, you and the listener; I’m much more interested in how you would describe the sound. Honestly, I’ve always thought that attempting to describe “sound” is a paradoxical action. Sound is unique, like most senses of beauty, because at its very core, it defies written or spoken language. Listen to it, feel it, share it.
SF: What are your favorite lyrics off the release?
MS: Quite simply, every single lyric on this album is my favorite. Every single word.
SF: Has your sound and style changed since your debut album?
MS: Again, that’s up to you. I’m not qualified to answer that, because it’s just not how I operate. The moment I think about these things, that’s the moment I compromise what I love about this part of my life. To be fair to you, though, time, as our senses experience it, does change things like sound and style, just by virtue of ambition and a strong desire to be inspired by new experiences.
SF: When you write a song, which comes first—lyrics or instrumentals? What’s the creative process like?
MS: It’s different every time. There’s no set rule. I really love the times when we’re initially discovering an idea that we both believe in. I may bring an idea or a song to Sacha, or vice versa, or it may happen in the rehearsal studio. Whenever or wherever it is, though, it’s always an extremely exciting moment when you look at each other, without the need for words, and just know…
SF: Why did you decide to relocate to New York?
MS: It’s always felt very natural when we’ve spent time in New York. Our hearts and our souls have always been reflected so easily and effortlessly here.
SF: What do you miss most about Australia?
MS: The things that are unique to Australia. In the main, Australians are beautifully relaxed, down-to-earth people. It’s a lovely country.
SF: If you could tour with any artist, who would it be?
MS: Old Kool.
SF: What is your favorite Australian band/artist?
MS: Three Month Sunset.
SF: What has been your best memory on tour?
MS: There are too many… But today, perhaps, a look on Sacha’s face at around 4:30 a.m. after a very questionable show in Cleveland, Ohio.