Weaving his distinctive falsetto through atmospheric psych-pop, Toronto-based artist MorMor has made his grand return in the form of his debut album ‘Semblance’.
Written by Oli Spencer
Seth Nyquist, better known as MorMor has always had a finely tuned ear. Immersing himself in music from a young age, he has been singing and playing the piano for as long as he can remember. Wholesomely, I learnt the moniker MorMor came from the name he called his grandma - being the closest to her, his music became his way of dedicating something to her after she passed. Spanning over two acclaimed EPs ‘Heaven’s Only Wishful’ in 2018 and ‘Some Place Else’ in 2019, his music is often described as a guided spiritual journey - a glimmering balance of dreamy soundscapes and melancholic lyricism.
Speaking with him, it was clear throughout our conversation that MorMor is the kind of person who loves a challenge, using it to his advantage every time. Originally planning to record his debut album alongside an engineer from New York, soon turned into the unsettling days of the pandemic, to working alone in lockdown. Following his previous EPs, the new record expands on MorMor’s sonic palette creating a uniquely distinctive mix of fine-tuned musicality and explorative self-production. ‘Semblance’ offers glimpses into a time of self-reflection and exploring new feelings rather than running from them - and through the difficult truths of love, relationships and growth, he uncovered feelings that he couldn't have found any other way. “I hope that spending time with Semblance will offer you joy and serenity in reflection." he says on the album.
We sat down with MorMor in celebration of his recently released debut album, and spoke about his early musical influence, what song he wishes he wrote, and the journey of creating 'Semblance'.
GET TO KNOW: MorMor
How did the name MorMor come about?
I was adopted by a Swedish family, so it’s what we would refer to as my grandma… but I guess as a child I became really obsessed with the way it sounded and the way it was spelt. So when she passed away… during that time I sort of started to venture into music – I wanted to dedicate something to her. I was closest to her in my family, so I just carry that with me.
Who was the first artist you really got into? And how did you find them?
As a child I feel like my most memorable experiences would probably be on like road trips and hearing an array of music. Earliest music was probably the Beatles and the Jackson five or something.
What do you think the creating 'Semblance' has taught you about yourself as an artist?
Because I created most of it during the pandemic, I think it was just the process of making it that was a challenge. It’s a lot of dedication to create a large body of work, and I think once completing it, it really gave me confidence to be able to continue on that journey. I feel that as a writer, for me to be able to continue making art I always want to take on new challenges - whether that’s learning a new piece of equipment or altering my writing style. It’s a much more direct record compared to previous stuff, and it deals with different themes. So it revealed certain parts of my inner consciousness in ways that are new to me and are fun to explore.
What was the most satisfying song to create on the record?
Hmmm… that’s a hard one. In some ways, maybe it was ‘Better at Letting Go’. I think the purity of from start to finish and it all coming out at once was really satisfying in terms of that release. Maybe it’s not the most satisfying in terms of the production side of it because it’s pretty raw, but I’d have to say that song as being one of the most satisfying just for that pure expression.
When you look back on this time in your life, what do you think you’ll remember the most?
I think the challenge of having to create in such a vacuum. And it’s not necessarily highlighting the music, but I think the pandemic to be honest. Having to experience it on two fronts, and finding ways of overcoming and having to remain hopeful that would come to an end. I think for a lot of the time, you had to imagine a world post pandemic.
One song you wish you wrote?
I’d say ‘A Day in the Life’ or ‘Strawberry Fields’ Forever' by the Beatles. Not the most popular, but I think they're really brilliant.
What song reminds you of home the most?
Maybe ‘I Want You Back’ by the Jackson 5 - or even more so ‘The Love You Save’ by The Jackson 5.
Do you have a prized possession?
I definitely do, I bought these speakers from Electric Lady in New York and they belonged to an old mixer, and he mixed David Bowie's last album on there, so I feel like that’s my prized possession. I was fortunate enough to make the record on those. And my first EPs were also mixed on them too, so it was really cool to hear it out of the same system.
Where is the best place to listen to the album?
Definitely on headphones in some sort of vehicle. I feel like you’ll wanna be commuting, like I think driving across the country or something. I find the most joy in doing that and I always have headphones when I’m on tour. That’s probably the best experience, and getting some visual stimulation at the same time.