Seether Frontman Shaun Morgan Talks New Album + More – Interview

2017-05-12

Story by Anne Erickson

Seether main man Shaun Morgan chats with Anne about the band’s new album and more

The gents of Seether are back with a hard-hitting new album, “Poison the Parish,” which sees Shaun Morgan and the guys returning to their heavy, introspective roots. The album, out today (May 12), is a commentary on today’s society, which often seems to value “likes” and “thumbs up” symbols on social media more than substance and hard work.

Musically, “Poison the Parish” rips from start to finish. From moody, mid-tempo, artsy-sounding tracks to in-your-face, un-apologetically heavy songs, “Poison the Parish” is a true testament to Seether’s versatility and legacy as a band.

Shaun Morgan was kind enough to speak with Anne about the new album and how the inspirations for the new songs came from a very real place.

Morgan and the guys of Seether are currently on a North American tour to promote “Poison the Parish.” Find tour dates and information via Seether.com.

Anne Erickson: I really love this new album. I feel like Seether is embracing heavy music with this album, much like with the early records.

Shaun Morgan: Yeah! I think at the end of the day, we were on a label for many years that tried to push us into a more alternative and pop direction. We lost track of the music that we really loved playing, and we definitely really enjoy the rock. So, when we moved to Concord, there was this whole positive support base behind us, and everyone’s really behind us and really believes in us and they have this real passion for the band. It just so happened that that’s the way the music started going, and I started really enjoying the way it made me feel to write this kind of music again, and I got excited again about music. That’s why I ran with this. I needed to explore that side of us. That’s the stuff I would write as a kid, and it initially got everyone excited about the band. So, it certainly wasn’t intentional in the beginning, but as the songwriting progressed, that’s the way it went. I love it. I think it’s fun to write the heavier stuff, because it’s just a lot more fun to play as a band. It’s the head-bopping, toe-tapping stuff that I like to play. I’m really excited about it.

The album’s theme revolves around a youth culture that just wants to be famous and thinks social media is the most important thing in the world. Can you expand on the motif? 

Essentially, I’ve spent a lot of my time sort of morose and self-absorbed when it comes to lyrics, and that’s been fine. It’s sort of the way I like it, but this time, it seemed I couldn’t necessarily just maintain that focus all the time, and the more I saw stuff happening around me and the more I see things in the media and the more I see who and what is being held in such high esteem—the Kardashians and the “Housewives” and the “teens and pregnant”…  Using the “Poison the Parish” analogy, they would be the preachers, the ones that are on the pedestals and pulpits of Instagram and Facebook and Twitter, and they get up there and feed all this crap to the kids, and the kids are just lapping it up. I think that that’s dangerous, and I think that with the youth being the parish, I think that it’s quite sad to see.

I think it’s almost an alarming state of affairs. It’s just my little attempt to say something about it. It’s becoming quite bad. I have a teenage daughter who is quite influenced by all these things, so I very much want to make it clear my stance on this kind of stuff—that her value is not placed on likes and little thumbs up symbols. Her life is a lot more than that and has substance.

“I’ll Survive” is one of my favorite songs off the new release. What’s it about?

A lot of the songs, at least the ones that are more introspective, are basically me dealing with 15 or so years of being completely drunk or high all the time and coming out of it. It’s been about two years now that I’ve been clean. There’s this whole clarity that you have with coming out of the pain, and a lot of it is dealing with that. Because it can be hard sometimes, too. Sometimes it feels like you’re not the fun guy at the party anymore. It was just sort of me talking to myself and, in some ways, trying to convince myself and in other ways trying to point out all the reasons it’s better to be this way and to not become a statistic at the end of the day. I mean, a year and a half or two years ago, I was in a really, really rough place. I came pretty close to not being there anymore. I think having reached the point where I still had love in my life, it was important to change some things and come out the other side, and it’s one of those songs where I think in a lot of ways I’m just giving myself a pep talk there.

Who’s the person who has had the most influence on you in or life, or who you most admire and respect?

Wow. That’s difficult. There have been a few people. My brother gave a lot to my life, and my dad gave a lot to my life. My daughter is really important to me. I respect all those people. I think as far as influences go, I’m influenced musically by, originally, the Beatles and Nirvana and all those kinds of bands.

I don’t know if there has every really been one person where I say, “Okay, this is why I do what I do.” But I do think that maybe back in the day when I was a kid, you’re a teenager and you have this goal and dream to be a musician and be in a rock band and have this career, and everyone tells you that you’re never going to make it. I think when that happens, you kind of get inspired by the people who say that! (Laughs) Over the years, and at the end of the day, the most inspiration was my dad. He was the one who eventually believed in me and was my biggest supporter for a long time.

Photo credit: Marina Chavez

Follow reporter Anne Erickson on Twitter @AnneErickson.

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