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The Map Room

The Map Room

Friday 28th June, 2013 9:14AM

The Map Room is Auckland duo Brendon Morrow and Simon Gooding who today release their debut self-titled album. Largely written whilst the pair were travelling through South America, we put a few questions to Simon about their travels, influences and of course the new album which they celebrate the release of at Lucha Lounge tomorrow night...

How did you two meet?

We meet while studying audio engineering in Auckland, and ended up as room-mates completing our second year together over in Australia.

What first drew you to making music?

We had both been writing a few tunes separately for a few years, then once we started playing together we found that we shared common musical influences and a general writing style / sound.

What musicians have been most influential on your sound?

We both love bands like Radiohead and Grizzly Bear, and have had various phases of obsession with bands like Spoon, The National and Deerhunter. The minimal, crisp production of Metronomy's album The English Riviera was a particular production influence for a few songs on our record.

I understand a key element to your music is travel, more specially your recent travels through South America - what is it about travel that is so inspiring for you?

Travel was a great way of breaking the routine of everyday life and I think provided us with some different and interesting lyrical content. Our idea was to head to South America and have a great trip and also write the songs for an album. It was interesting that once we returned home to New Zealand, we realised that a lot of the songs had a bit of a theme of strange encounters and weird feelings of displacement.

What are some of your travel highlights that contributed to this album particularly?

As we were moving around fairly quickly through some pretty crazy places, it was always great when we had a few days in one place. One of those moments was in a tiny little coastal town in Peru called Paracas, where we stopped for a few days to work on songs. I remember we got a lot of writing done there, and finished a few songs that had been lingering around for a few months, in between wandering about this strange empty town full of large pelicans and friendly Peruvian folk.

Another cool moment was a live radio show we played in Bogota, Colombia. We met a local DJ in a bar, who invited us to come on the show the following week. We showed up thinking that we would play a song or two and have a quick chat, but it turned out we were the focus of the whole show and had to make our way through an hour of fairly intense spanish conversation live on air. Luckily our spanish was ok at this point, and we played a few of the new songs we had been working on.

Tells us about the writing and production of the album?

The majority of the writing was finished while we were away on our 14-month trip, and a few extra songs came together once we were back in Auckland. Then we began recording them in various studios around town. Brendon and I both work as sound engineers, so we had access to some great studios after hours. This meant the recording took quite a while to complete, but also didn't cost as much as it usually would and allowed us to be pretty pedantic and obsessive about the sound quality. We were able to record and mix the album entirely between the two of us, and then handed it over to Tom Coyne at Sterling Sound to put the finishing touches on.

The cover art for is beautiful...

That was a photo one of us took during a Peruvian festival at a school we worked in. It basically involved finding a suitable dead tree, tying all sorts of colourful treats and gifts onto the branches, and then the adults put it up in a hole in the ground. The next phase was all the kids ran around it singing, and then they took turns trying to chop it down with an axe. It was quite the spectacle, and certainly didn't seem like the safest celebration, but it was awesome to watch the tree come down eventually and the kids swarm all over it!

How is your live show coming along - you play as a four piece right?

The live show is going good, we were lucky enough to recruit a great rhythm section of Andy Keegan on drums and Jared Kahi on bass and vocals. Both of these guys fit perfectly into our sound and have spent some time learning lots of the parts from the record. We have started writing new material with them also, it's been a nice change writing with their creative input.

Do you enjoy the live performance aspect music?

Yes we have loved performing recently, and especially now that we have the extra members the songs have adapted and changed to the new setup. We are particularly enjoying playing our new songs too! What have you got planned for the album release tomorrow night? We can't wait for the release show on Saturday, our friends Little Lapin and Grand Rapids are opening, and it should be nice and cosy at The Lucha Lounge. We will also have physical copies of our album for sale on the door.

What else have you got planned for the year ahead?

Once the album is out, we are looking at booking a tour of the main centres in a couple of months. We will also work towards releasing an EP of new material later in the year, we just need to write a couple more songs and then we'll start the recording process all over again!


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