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Jamie "Pop" Morrison - Stereophonics
Jamie Pop Morrison
Pop Morrison
Drumming Live
Jamie
Jamie

Jamie "Pop" Morrison - Stereophonics

Drummer, Producer, Multi-Instrumentalist
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Pop Morrison
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Stereophonics

Jamie Morrison has enjoyed past success as the drummer with Noisettes and is enjoying present success as the drummer with Stereophonics. He also has an amazing philosophy when it comes to recording his many and varied solo projects where the microphone has to be the star of the show. Hit it Jamie…

Noisettes, Stereophonics, Bryan Adams, John Lord, Drewford Alabama and Ninjas & Wolves
Pop Morrison's Aston Gear
Spirit
Origin
That's a lot of drummers…

I really got the music bug through drumming. From there it progressed to falling in love with songs and bands and being a fan of music. Before I'd been experiencing music but I wasn't passionate about it until I found out how drums relate to it.

All 14 of the boys in my class were drummers, which was kinda weird. But there was one boy who was the best drummer and he'd be the guy that played first and we'd try and emulate him. He had a drum kit at his house and we'd go around there and play. I actually formed a band with him and played keyboards. We'd play Elvis tunes and that's what really got me into it.

I started working in London as a drummer and was playing open mic nights, playing with five different singers a night and running over the road to do another open mic spot. I was doing that every single night and then driving home to Cambridge. The main goal was to get asked to play with another artist and if that didn't happen, the day wasn't a success. The incentive wasn't financial, it was just to play as many gigs as possible.

I got a call one day to work with an artist who was just about to be on the Jools Holland show so the next week I was at the BBC recording. I was only 20 and my dad came along and he got talking to a guy there back stage called Charlie Francis, who happened to be REM's producer – they were playing the same show. He was just about to record with this duo and they didn't have a drummer. These kids turned out to be Shingai Shoniwa and Dan Smith and the band was called Noisettes. So my dad actually made the connection with me that would end up with me joining Noisettes!

Feel the Noise

A week after Jools Holland I was in a room with Noisettes and Charlie Francis, and a week after that we were recording. Two weeks after that we were flying to LA. We then did a show and signed to Motown Records. My goal had been to be the best session player in the world and to play with everyone and then I get this call to say 'do you want to come to LA and sign a record deal?' So I thought: 'yeah, I'll try that, it sounds like fun!' I didn't really think too much about it…

That ended up being about seven or eight years of my life. We made two albums. The first one no-one bought but we played everywhere and were the support band for everyone like Beastie Boys, Muse and Stereophonics. We got to meet all these huge bands and experience from the sidelines what all that stuff was like. We were operating on a small scale but we were making an incredible noise and causing quite a stir. The second record absolutely blew up and we had two huge hits Never Forget You and Don't Upset the Rhythm. We sold a lot of records and played on all the TV shows. So we'd started off driving around in a little van and ended up in a private jet – it was amazing!

I finished with Noisettes around 2010 and started writing and producing and working on my own musical abilities, learning Pro Tools and guitar. I was still playing drums with people, like I played with Brian Adams and John Lord from Deep Purple just before he passed away. I played with some really cool people and then in 2012 Stereophonics happened…

In Stereo

The Noisettes had supported Stereophonics in 2009 and Kelly Jones had really liked my performance. Then around the time that [previous drummer] Javier Weyler was leaving I was working with a guy who'd worked on [Stereophonics track] Dakota. We got on and when I heard that Javier was leaving I texted him and said 'if Kelly and the boys need a drummer, let them know because I'm around'. Five minutes later I got a text from Kelly saying 'I thought you were still in Noisettes!' I told him that had ended ages before so he said 'can you learn these songs and come over and rehearse in a week?' I said, 'I already know these songs, can you send me some more?!' He just laughed – I think he thought I was being cocky, but it was true as I'd been a fan of the band when I was a kid and even been in a Stereophonics cover band so I really did know those songs!

I'm still a fan and even after seven years it's still surreal. I remember going to see them in 2007 and what it felt like seeing the drum kit and amps set up on stage, so I remember what it felt like from the other side but I've had both experiences now.

You're on tour for maybe three weeks and then off tour for four, but I'm not one to sit around so always need to do something and with my own music I'm a fan of a lot of things. I don't want to be a solo artist or an Ed Sheeran but I do want to make a lot of music but a lot of it is so contrasting. It would therefore be weird if it came out under the same name so I came up with Drewford Alabama, Boi Genius and Pop Morrison and record all the different styles under those different names!

Don't move that microphone

I have an unconventional studio. I've always collected instruments so when people come around, we can jam. So the studio is based around instruments – I have a treasure trove of stuff, it's extraordinary! I taught myself Pro Tools. I've recorded in every studio in town and in studios around the world so you can't help picking stuff up and learning. I just like things to be as simple as possible, so I love using the least amount of mics possible and have a simple chain, just a mic pre into Pro Tools. I don't use plug-ins, instead I make sure the source is making the sound I want to hear. So I might change the drum if it's not sounding right.

I don't think many people do this but I have the microphone in one fixed position in the room so I have the same sound, the same space on each track of the recording so I always have the same sense of air on the recording. That means the microphone has to capture exactly the sound that I'm trying to capture and with Aston microphones, there it is, every single time. I swear by them, I think they are incredible. I'm always really excited using them with what I'm about to record. I really just use the Origin for everything and the simple reason is that it always sounds good! It sounds great, sweet, exciting but most importantly it sounds like it does in my room. So I use it on everything, absolutely everything.

Out-takes

Out-takes:

Q. If you weren’t working in music what would you be doing?
A. “I would own and run a fancy dog and cat hotel in Brazil.”

Q. What would your fantasy mic be?
A. “A mic that doesn't need a stand.”

Q. What are the 4 words you’d chose to describe Aston, or your experience with the brand?
A. “Tutti fruiti muffin cup.”

Q. What was the first song that made you cry?
A. “I Giorni by Ludovico Einaudi. It's beautiful and amazing.”

Credits

“My favourite artists include Kanye, Ludovico Einaudi, Hudson Mohawke ,Gil Scott-Heron and Cardi B.”

Stereophonics

Drewford Alabama

Pop Morrison

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