Formed in Brooklyn in the winter of 2014, four-piece band MORI is the latest and loudest iteration of lead singer & guitarist Mori Einsidler’s longstanding project. Flanked by Jake Goldin on lead guitar, Adam Downer on bass and vocals, and Stephen Ranellone on drums, the band draws influence from indie rockers Tegan & Sara along with alt-rock overlords Paramore and Dashboard Confessional, delivering punchy, hook-laden alternative rock/pop you can (and should) scream along to in the car.
Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Mori, singer, songwriter, and pop-rocker (the genre, not the candy). She’s fresh off from tour promoting her new EP. We talked about speeding tickets, T. Swift Songwriting 101, and what she has in store for the future!
Dominique Star: First off, are you still on tour?
Mori: No, I just got back Monday afternoon! But it feels like I left some part of my functionality behind… trying to catch up on sleep hasn’t been super fruitful. It was my first tour ever so I don’t have much to compare it to, but hell, it was super fun.
DS: Did any tour shenanigans happen or was it pretty smooth?
Mori: It was very DIY, we played in living rooms of varying degrees of legitimacy across Virginia and North Carolina. I got my first speeding ticket of my life in Virginia.
DS: Oh no! I have a friend who believes if you play Michael Jackson when you get pulled over for speeding you won’t get a ticket.
He swears by it.
Mori: Why didn’t you tell me this before the tour?! I was like, ready to use my Yankee charm on the southern cop to try and get out of it, but then it turned out to be a lady cop so that didn’t go over as planned. Womp womp. But tour was great; made new friends and saw some great musicians play.
DS: Any you want to shout out?
Mori: Richmond, VA was fun. Connor (of Dizzy Bats, my tourmate) and I played with Sleepy Jake and never-mind. They were pop punk and folk punk, respectively, and were a joy to behold (and befriend).
DS: So tell us, do you have a process for songwriting or is each song different?
Mori: Every song is different. Much like a snowflake, my dear angel face. I usually approach melodies and chords/song structures first. It gives me a sense of where and how I can build the song, where I’m coming from, and where it’s going. Which basically means I keep a lot of voice notes. If I lose my phone ever I’m kind of screwed and also very likely to be super embarrassed if someone happens upon these half-baked ideas. Generally I’ll write hooks/choruses first, then the verses (second verse first usually for some reason) then the bridge.
Mori: What’s your process?
DS: Actually pretty similar! I’m definitely a music first kind of gal, either a melody or a chord progression. So I have a fuck ton of ridiculous melodies on my iPhone, usually from when I first wake up. Often I listen back later and am like, “WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?” because I was asleep and there’s not even a discernible melody sometimes, it’s just like hoarse whispering.
Mori: Do you write choruses first too? Your hooks are so great I just assume you would, which is very silly.
DS: I actually write verses first, I’m weirdly linear about it. I can’t see where I need to get to without having the beginning. First verses are the hardest thing for me. I always struggle with how to introduce the ideas and get to where I need to be for the chorus.
DS: Ok now that songwriting nerd out is over: tell me about your favorite gig!
Mori: That’s so tough. I think our tightest show was last month, for our single release party at Black Bear. We went through a promoter for the first time in a long time (rather than booking all the acts or knowing the bands) so the lineup was totally whack and very inappropriate for us. So at first I was a little worried about the crowd/vibe but I think that just made our friends + fans more energized for our set. Plus, this was the first show we played since the release of the new single “Do you Wanna Hurt Me”, so having everyone know the words and sing along was a goddamn dream come true.
DS: Ah that’s amazing!!
I’ve only had that happen when I play covers and when you’re in the audience.
Mori: I’m such a creep. I know all your songs. It’s cool.
DS: No it’s awesome,
my mom was at a show once and she said, “Some girl knew all the words to “Say Goodbye!” and I was like, “yeah, that’s Mori!”
Mori: I remember that! Dude that is my runner up answer for best show, my birthday show was insane. You, my Philly friends came out, and we played the Buffy theme song to open so… pretty fucking epic.
DS: Oh yeah, that time I drank too much and sang it TWICE over a different song. It was just cause I knew you loved it so much. My band does not let me live it down
but yeah that was a super fun show for me too. Ok last question! What’s coming up next for you, best case scenario?
Mori: Best case scenario = we score a Taco Bell touring band sponsorship. I mean a world tour with Paramore wouldn’t suck? I’m just looking forward to continuing what we’ve been building in NYC over the past year. It’s been amazing finally finding the *right* band members. Steve, Jake, and Adam are like a dream come true. So much energy and passion and willingness to try new things. We have tons of new material written into our sets that we are hoping to record and put out soon. We’ve actually started doing some co-writing together on a few new tunes, which is new territory and really awesome.
DS: LIVIN THE DREAM 2016. Man, that even rhymes.
Mori: Dude you gotta make tees or something. Sell that ish! I also want to maybe do an acoustic EP as well the past batch of solo shows have been really inspiring to me and as a Dashboard Confessional fan of old, I think it will be cool to offer both sounds on the records.
DS: Well I am quite excited to see what you cook up next!
Mori: Same to you, my dear!
Better for You is available online here.
Dominique Star is a NYC based artist who has released music under her name for the last two years. Dominique’s influences are artists like Florence and the Machine, Fioana Apple, St.Vincent, Radio Head, the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, and Regina Spektor. You can check out Dominique’s Play Too Much session here.