“I could be described by whatever…and I’m okay with that:” A conversation with singer-songwriter and KCPR alum Beanplant
Liv Collom: I’m with the illustrious Beanplant, AKA Drew Morrison. How are you doing today?
Drew Morrison: Thank you. Thank you. I’m well, I’m well, just hanging in there. How are you?
Collom: I’m doing, I’m doing well. Thank you. Thank you so much. So you just put out a second EP, “Birdwatching” … The first EP was “Doing Things While Brushing Your Teeth.”
What’s changed for you since this first EP came out and now the second EP? What have been some of the differences so far in putting those two out?
Morrison: I think there’s a couple of primary differences. I think the subject matter is very different. The first EP that I put out was very much a classic breakup EP. I was really sad getting out of a relationship and that was a good vessel for me to put my energy into…
[Now] I feel like I have a little bit [of a] better grip of how to play instruments and how to play something other than like G and C on my guitar. Nothing wrong with only playing G and C, but I didn’t want to make every song that I wrote on guitar G and C. I’m trying to play guitar more frequently and make different sounds.
Collom: It’s really cool to listen to the two and track your development as an artist. It doesn’t always have to be this development thing. It can just be you, you know, messing around and having a good time.
Morrison: Yeah, I try not to think of it as a linear progression to where I’m getting better and better with every release. I think it’s a different thing… like I don’t think one is better than the other. I just think this is new.
Collom: It’s great that although your art changes and your process changes, it’s nice to have that constant with you. As a musician myself… I’m kind of the same way. I felt a lot less inspired in quarantine, but … I’m sure it’s going to come back soon or change or what have you.
Morrison: It’s been interesting dealing with finding that balance… I’ve heard it get referred to as waiting for lightning to strike. Where you’re just waiting for inspiration to come hit you and then trying to do whatever things you could do to create that inspiration. That’s something I’ve been trying to navigate for the past few weeks, especially just like, ‘How do I get this feeling more often?’ I have no idea.
Collom: That’s a really interesting way to put it… I feel like as artists or as creators, we want to get hit by something. We want to get hit by emotions. But it’s kind of hard to just speak that into existence…
How do you get that feeling more? That was a cool question you posed there.
Morrison: Thank you. Yeah, it’s all about the balance. I think for me personally, and potentially other people, part of the reason is a lot of people have been having trouble creating any sort of art, especially music, during quarantine, because you’re not really having these life experiences that you would be writing about. You’re not having this inspiration, these sources of emotion… So it’s been like, ‘What do I write about?’
Collom: It’s a totally different experience. There’s only so much that can come out of doing the same thing, living the same day since March in kind of this “Groundhog Day” style.
Speaking of inspirations, what are some things that inspire you to write or who are some artists who you look to for inspiration?
Morrison: I don’t really know when inspiration is going to come to me or when I’m going to have that feeling… so I have my phone on me consistently. I have a little journal or notebook that I try to write most of my lyric ideas and I just essentially carry that with me – like pretty much everywhere that I go. If I had this idea floating around and I catch it and put it in place, maybe [I can] revisit it later.
As far as inspiration from other artists go, I think my biggest inspiration to create music in general has been Beat Happening because they were this band that is absolutely doing the most DIY way possible… That kind of made me realize I can do that, too. Anybody can do that if they want to….
Collom: It’s kind of a tricky balance… some artists kind of embrace labels or genres, and they’re like, ‘Hell yeah! We’re a punk band; we’re a DIY band, DIY or Die!’ But some are like, ‘We do not want to be pigeonholed. We don’t want to fit into a box.’
How do you feel about people labeling your music or coming up with these kinds of notions? How has that been for you as an artist?
Morrison: I honestly don’t mind it at all… It makes it a little bit easier to understand. I don’t think I’m doing anything crazy experimental. I feel like I could be described by whatever conglomeration of genres you want to use, and that doesn’t bother me.
Collom: That’s really cool. It’s kind of this – I don’t want to slap words again onto your creative process, but –
Morrison: Slap away.
Collom: It definitely ties into that DIY ethos of doing it anywhere. Doing it any time with what you’ve got… What are the ways you think it’s going to change after this pandemic, after quarantine? Like obviously we can’t have live shows, but do you think that DIY ethos is going to carry out more into the future?
Morrison: That’s interesting. I haven’t thought about that aspect of it. I’ve just been thinking about how because artists aren’t touring right now. You’re assuming that people are writing … like, trying to write right now because they can’t tour.
My hope for a pandemic is like, boom, everybody’s releasing an album and everybody’s touring. I’m going to go to a show like every day for months just because everyone’s going to be going nuts post pandemic. If we ever get there. Who knows.
As far as this strong DIY ethos, I feel like it might have to come back because so many venues are getting shut down… They’re not allowed to be open and they’re getting no aid, so they’re going to fail just naturally. I really think that hopefully spaces are going to open up and emulate what those venues had in the past. Whatever form that takes… I think that the DIY ethos is strong enough in a lot of people that they will make it happen. I’m optimistic.
Collom: It’s really wild, like a lot of venues that I grew up going to or have played at, have closed due to the pandemic. You know, I feel tired of living through history a little bit. I’m like, I’m 20 years old!
Morrison: Dude, for real!
Collom: I’m too young to experience all these closures and all this stuff. But, you know, it’s definitely interesting, seeing the power of people when the “higher ups” do not care. All you have is each other at that point.
Morrison: Yeah, I think so much of the things that I like align myself with are grassroots organized, community based and kind of from the ground up, like people making the things they want to make.
I think that people have been very supportive of artists. Maybe that’s just me putting my lines on it. But from what I’ve seen, I’ve seen a lot of support for both artists and the community just bringing people up. I feel like people are being a little bit nicer now, which is good … And I hope that there’s a lot of people that try to do that in the future – just mak[ing] the scene better for everybody, because that’s what’s worth it.
Listen to the full interview below!