Monday, January 21, 2013

Tailorbird: An Interview with Morgan Locklear (MOG)

Hello, Everyone!

This is actually my first cherry-popping post here. Jenn, Sue, and Elli have been meticulously keeping it up to date for every single reader and follower we have. We appreciate every single one of you and your support. We also thank you for reading and recommending Gabriel's Inferno and Gabriel's Rapture by Sylvain Reynard to your family and friends.

My writing today has a purpose. I've been given an honor to interview Mr. Morgan Locklear on the trailer inspired by Gabriel's Rapture that he composed and directed:  Tailorbird

Credit: YouTube, Michael Blakeley, Morgan Locklear

Please read on:

Hello, MOG. First of all, please allow me to thank you for agreeing and taking the time to do this interview.  Let's start off with how long have you been involved in the music composing industry? 

I've been playing music since I was a teenager and I play piano and harmonica like Billy Joel, but never at the same time.  (I could never get past the headgear).  I've been producing albums with various bands since 1998.

How did you come to know Sylvain Reynard and his writing?

I was working on a first person zombie novel and having a little trouble getting into the narrative.  I prefer writing in the more omnipresent third person style, so my wife suggested that I read Twilight because it was written in first person.  I was intrigued, and knowing that the novel was about vampires only fueled my interest.  I was going to be writing violence as well and was keen to experience it through a character's eyes before I tried my own.

I inhaled the series in a week or two, but found that instead of inspiration for my zombie book, I had a new idea for a story that took place in Paris during the Bohemian Revolution. It was about a female vampire that falls in love with a young and very human musician.  My wife told me that if I wanted to turn it into a work of fan fiction (using the names of Twilight characters and posting to FF websites), I would receive comments and critique.

I liked the idea, but wasn't instantly sold. To entice me further, my wife read to me (out loud) the first few chapters of a story written by another man sailing the seas of estrogen in Twilight fan fiction.  It was instantly funny, smart, and sassy.  Like her, I knew it was written by a fellow...fellow.  (it was the term "Angelfucker" that convinced me).  I figured if he was brave enough to do it, I could too.  Even then, everyone called him SR.

When I posted my first chapter a week later (fan fiction moves fast) he just happened to be one of the first people to review.  I instantly took it for bro support and we began exchanging review emails as we completed our respective works.

That was awesome! So, I have to ask. Did you ‘squee’ when you saw a review from SR? 

I came as close as a man can get to squeeing.  He was particularly complementary to my descriptive narrative style and my attempts at humor.  His reviews were always light and always uplifting. 

Okay. I’m going to move this interview along. What's the inspiration for Tailorbird? And how did you come about penning the lyrics for it?

After SR published Gabriel's Inferno, I saw him tweet about suggesting songs for a playlist to help interact with the story.  I immediately loved the idea and since his story is a feast for the senses, I contacted him and asked if I could offer an original song to accompany the release of his second book, Gabriel's Rapture.  He’d already heard an album I released and he was kind enough to be excited about the idea.
He felt that a love song written from the Professor's perspective would be desirable and I was thinking along those exact same lines.  I then began thinking about how a man as strong and guarded as Emerson would express his feelings for Julianne.  It seemed to me he would want her to know that nothing he had - not any possession - mattered to him as long as he had her.  "Say the word, I'll leave everything behind" is the first line of the chorus and Tailorbird came as a brainstorm about a rhyme that would make the chorus a pair of couplets.  It fit so nicely and complimented the wonderful and resilient nature of Julianne that I never looked back.

When I had a handle on the song's structure, and a finished chorus, I contacted SR again and asked if he had any particular phrases he might be pleased to see in the song.  I usually don't get much when I ask for feedback on custom jobs, but he responded with three famous lines in the books:  "And now my blessedness appears," "Brown eyed Angel," and "I'm glad I was your first."

Hold the phone for a minute! I didn’t know SR was involved in this. What a sneaky lot! I guess he’s hung out with that Snarky Narrator a little too much. Okay, back to famous did you feel about them?

I loved the lines at once!  He practically wrote the first verse for me.  Within a few minutes I sent back:  

And now my blessedness appears 
A brown eyed Angel with a Devil's thirst  
She eases all this Dragon's fears 
I'm glad I was your first 

He liked it and we were off like bottle caps.  I didn't send him anything else until it was all done.

Wow, that was quite a process. Do you mind sharing his feedback on the trailer? 

SR was very generous and contacted me right away to thank me and tell me how much he liked the video.

So, after you finished writing the lyrics, how long did it take you to put the video together?

I enlisted the help of a friend to help record the music and another friend to help with the video, and we had the whole thing in the can in about two months.  We shot first at the local Performing Arts Center, and then at two outdoor locations a few days later. We held a third and final shoot on a soundstage a few days after that.  The special effects were dreamed up by my co-producer, Michael Blakeley, and I was very happy with the end result considering there was limited time and a nonexistent budget.

I was expecting a soft beat/rhythm number instead of steady fast because my perception of Gabriel is that he's brooding, old soul. The man wears a bow-tie, argyle socks, and owns a chain watch, to list a few. Any particular reasons for this?

If it were just up to me, it would have been even faster. Well, not about...boomier...yeah, boomier.  That thing would have bounced like an Awol Nation track!  The story features juxtaposition and I wanted to capture that feel in the song.  The clashing of tones and ideas, if done right, can be like discovering a new cooking recipe. I found the books deliciously complex so I seasoned the music to compliment it.

My music partner and engineer, Brian Egan, talked me down but we still used an old Roland drum machine for the big hits at the bottom of each measure in the chorus.  I kept trying to turn it up, but he defended his sound board like Shaquille O'Neil.

I’m just going to pretend I know what “an old Roland drum machine” and “big hits at the bottom of each measure” meant. (Parenthetically, it should be noted that I’ve made a note to Google “drum machine” and “big hits at the bottom” ...whatever they may mean).

In term of choosing actors for Julia and Gabriel, did you personally know either one of them? Did you have to go out and audition?

I have a feeling that if you google "Big hits at the bottom" that you are going to get a lot more than you bargained for.  Before I get to the actors, I'm happy to clarify that a drum machine is like a keyboard but only plays rhythms. (Roland is the best brand).  Also, in a song, you can count 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4...and the big sound that I like is on the 4 count.

About the talent; I actually didn't know either of them beforehand.  I found the professor through a theatre friend, his brother, and since his face is never clearly filmed, I just needed a solid frame and an easygoing guy.  Finding the girl was a bit more involved, but I started by bluntly stating on Facebook that I was looking for a real babe to play Julianne.  Once the specifics of hair color and eye color were addressed, I got my girl after two phone conversations and an face-to-face interview (complete with her grandmother in attendance).  Actually, it was her grandmother who initially contacted me.

Oh, my God! Really? Seriously?! Okay, I have to laugh at this..Hahaha...I think it was hilarious and I could imagine what was transpired...

"Hi, Mr Locklear. I saw your FB ad for a babe.  I have one for you! Of course it's not me; it's my granddaughter. Here, I'll give you her number. Wait, you're not a serial killer or a kidnapper, are you?" 

Were you surprised to have received about 3000 views of Tailorbird in YouTube?

That's a pretty modest showing in my opinion, but I'm proud of the song and very happy with the way the video turned out.  I actually hoped to make a bigger splash to direct more people over to SR's novels.

What usually inspires you to create?  Do you draw a lot of your ideas from books, other music, your everyday life?

My Muse has always been my wife, but I'm practiced enough to branch out and find other objects to write about.  However, my knowledge of heavenly love and bodily bliss come from her and can always be expected to steer my pen.

I do find myself inspired by music, in fact, Iron and Wine has influenced Tailorbird a great deal.  I almost always write while listening to music, mostly the Beatles and Pink Floyd, but sometimes I put on punk vinyls when I'm writing saucier stuff.

SR often says he thinks a lot about his readers as he writes. Were you considering GI/GR readers also when you were creating the videos?  What elements of the books did you want to emphasize?

I thought of the readers (and author) almost exclusively as I wrote.  I even included a long ago reference to a nickname the professor had among the very first of SR's fans.  The line goes:  

And I've used sinful words so well
How I wish I could take some back
When Heaven's hiding inside Hell
My heart's on the attack

Also, there is a whispered line from the Divine Comedy that can just be heard during the "solo" portion of the song.  I wanted to have layers of mystery and coded messages throughout the piece.  There are many more.

What are some of your favorite books and music?  

I think that Jeffrey Ford is one of the best writers who ever lived.  He has almost a dozen books and I've got them all.  (Still reading).  I also read a post-apoplectic adventure series from Gold Eagle Books called Deathlands.  It's my guilty pleasure.

;-) I almost wanted to ask “Oh, your guilty pleasure is not your wife?” Bad manners. My apologies. I think everyone has a guilty pleasure. It’s almost a must-have in order to get through the day. 

What are you listening to now?

My current favorite albums are: Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto, Animal Collective's Centipede Hz, Smashing Pumpkin's Oceania, and lately, the Ting Ting's.

Well, I’m sure I could have asked more questions, but I can’t hog the post all to myself. :-) Would there be anything else you’d like to share with Argyle Empire followers, SR’s readers, and perhaps your own fans? 

Just that there's enough room for everyone to succeed and if we all stick together and support one another, we can all take joy by the bucketful.

That’s all, folks! Again, I’d like to thank MOG for the interview, and all of you for reading. It’s been a great pleasure! 

Behind the Scene Pictures!

Hard at work
From Left to Right: "Gabriel", Michael Blakeley (co-producer), "Julianne" and MOG (in blue shirt).

"The second picture is of the Gabriel's Rapture ticket given to Julianne in the video. It was hand drawn by an artist friend of ours and has found a happy home in my copy of GR." (MOG's wife aka Jenn who is not the actress playing Julianne)


Ana DirtyDraco said...

OMG, what a wonderful interview!!!
I can only say that I found the video when I first saw it innovative and different in comparison with other fanvids, behind I felt a vision something different. Now, I know what it was.
Jenn and Morgan Congratulations! you´re a couple full of wit, talent and creativity (I also just found out recently that you are a couple)
Thanks to my friends from Argyle Empire for letting me know a little more each day the great GIFamily. You are great ladies.

Elena said...

Thank you Coco and Morgan for this wonderful interview!
I love the song and the music video. They're both really well done and they perfectly convey the uniqueness of Gabriel and Julia's beautiful and touching love story.
Great job!


Unknown said...

Morgan and Jennifer continue to amaze year after year with new projects of all kinds. When they sleep is a mystery to us. I am thrilled to watch over the years to see the plays performed in, music cds produced, books published not to mention the kids they raised and continue to raise as they create new and exciting projects.

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