Interview with Songdog (Lyndon Morgans)
Songdog is a Folk Noir band formed in 2000 and composed today of two members, Lyndon Morgans (songwriter, lead vocal & guitarist) and Karl Woodward aka “Pod” (Piano, guitar, harmonica).The band has released eight studio albums to date and has performed at many festivals and countries around the world (Japan, Canada, Spain, Russia, Netherlands, France, England, Belgium).
<<Psychodysleptic ambience and eroticism on a background of melodic Folk and dark poetry. (This is how the universe of the Welsh band Songdog could be defined…)
1)How important are social networks to you? Are they essential or could you easily do without them?
I realise how important social networks have become these days, especially if you’re an artist trying to publicise his/her work and connect with your audience but I’m not really a very social guy and I’m crap at all that stuff. I’m useless at curating my image on social media. I feel a bit lost in this atomised, polarised, techno-hedonist culture we’ve built ourselves. Anyway, I don’t go courting personal connections, maybe I’m just too shy.
2) What are the main themes in most of your songs?
The passing of time, lost love, sex, death, ageing, psychic overload — all the usual themes that any serious writer will find himself/herself addressing in the end. No fluff, I’m allergic to fluff in songs.
3) Which artists or bands have influenced you?
My biggest influences are any great songwriters, including the Great American Songbook guys before my time. But I’ve grown up listening most to Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Scott Walker, Jim Webb.
4) Are any of your songs autobiographical?
Ultimately, all my songs are autobiographical, even the ones where the character singing dies in the end! They’re autobiographical in the sense that even when I’m inventing a story the emotions expressed and a lot of the detail I use to colour in the tales are drawn from my own memory, comes directly from my own experience even if I encode plenty of it or have some fun with it. It’s all essentially me. I’m sure that’s true of any artist.
5) Who are your reference authors, writers ?
When it comes to prose writers there are three I admire most — Samuel Beckett for his unflinching take on the human condition, James Joyce for his humour and the fact that nothing in life is too small or insignificant to escape his attention, and Marcel Proust for the way he analyses art and life, love and memory, his pen is like a scalpel.
6) Do you have other activities and passions apart from writing and music?
I like painting —- looking at it, not doing it, I have no talent whatsoever in that direction. I wish I could’ve met and known Andy Warhol. I love the work of Robert Crumb. And the cinema. As a kid I loved westerns and still do. Poets — Baudelaire, TS Eliot and Philip Larkin. I love lots of stuff.
7) You are sometimes compared to the Australian singer Nick Cave, known for his dantesque universe? What do you think?
It’s only in the last five or six years or so that I’ve really got to know Nick Cave’s work but I really admire the stuff I’ve heard and bought. He’s a writer of beautiful songs and has created an artistic universe all his own, something all writers should aspire to. Most of all I love him for his seriousness as regards his art.
8) Which festivals in particular would you like to perform at?
I’m not sure we’re really a festival type of band. Because of the kind of music we play I think we work better in theatres or spaces where people have come to listen. We’re about nuance, not gymnastics. We once played one of the smaller stages at Glastonbury and it rained.
9) If you were offered the chance to do a cover of an artist or a band, which one would you choose?
We’ve covered a song by Bob Dylan and another by the Clash, both at the request of one of the British music magazines for their cover-mount CD. Years ago I did my version of a Jim Webb song online. Maybe I’d try ‘Stars’ by Janis Ian. There are so many brilliant songs. Or ‘Nothing Rhymed’ by Gilbert O’Sullivan.
10) Which bands or artists would you like to collaborate with?
Paul McCartney. Do you think he’ll be my friend on Twitter or something?
11) Which album are you most proud of?
With each record you do the best you can at the time, that’s all you can do. Once a record is finished and I play it in the car a few times I don’t really get to hear it again. I like them all as we finish them but then I’m always focused on writing the next one. I liked the current one, A Happy Ending, last time I heard it.
12) What are your best and worst memories of your experiences with your band Songdog?
I suppose the best times are when we’re playing and are really on top of the music and the audience has come to listen, and everything just drops into place. It isn’t always like that! One of the highlights has to be Bruce Springsteen liking one of our songs he’d heard and contacting our record label to ask for our albums. The worst times must be long drives in bad weather to places where there’s hardly anyone to play to or the gig turns out badly in some other way.
13) How did you live through the coronavirus pandemic and the many confinements?
I was lucky, I was able to work throughout the whole thing, writing, rehearsing and then recording another album. “A Happy Ending” came out the very week the lockdown started and our record-launch gig got cancelled, but after that I just got lost in the music. And there’s a big wood behind my house, I could go walking for hours every day and never see a soul.
14) What do you think about the new artist generation of the Folk Rock scene?
I think there’s a lot of great new music being made on the ‘folk’ front. The artist who impresses me the most lately is Aldous Harding, a singer-songwriter from New Zealand. There’s a touch of class to everything she does and humour too, even though she takes her art deadly seriously.
15) What are your future projects?
A new album coming out later this year — October 28th — called “Of Gods And Men”, and we’re rehearsing to start playing live again, it’s been so long. And I’ve been writing songs for the record *after* the next one….
Many Thanks to Songdog and Corrinne Frazzoni (Songdog manager)
Interview released by mail via https://mobile.twitter.com/_songdog
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