Glenn Morrison is a major rising player in the global dance music scene. Hitting number one on the Beatport sales chart, remixing the Pet Shop Boys and New Order’s Bernard Sumner, signing tracks to EMI, Azuli, Positiva, Armada, Hope and Great Stuff, and receiving acclaim from the cream of the world’s top DJs (including Sasha, Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, Justice, Nick Warren, John Digweed, Laurent Garnier and Sven Vath).
This week, Glenn Morrison adds another credit to his name with the release of ‘Late Nights, Early Beginnings‘ – the latest sample collection from Zero-G which delivers inspirational samples that cross numerous dance genres.
We got in touch with Glenn to find out more about the man behind the music and how he produced the library.
Hi Glenn, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. First up, please could you summarise your musical background?
I had a very formal background, practicing and learning classical music from the age of 4 through the Royal Conservatory of Music. Around the age of 15 years old I started to learn and get into electronic music, and by 20 or so, I started to learn how to produce, engineer, and master records. Lately I am learning a lot on the craft of sound design through my good friend and production partner, Matt Lange.
It’s difficult to pigeonhole your music into a specific genre – how would you describe it?
It’s always changing and evolving as I grow as an artist. Right now I’m very much focused on my artist album which is going to be essentially pop dance incorporating a lot of live instruments and vocals.
What inspired you to create a sample library?
I have a deep respect for Zero-G as a company, and when Dom [from Zero-G] and I started speaking about the idea of one, the excitement of doing one got a hold of me. It was a two year affair because I’m so busy with my tour schedule and my production work that I had to always do this in my spare time, but I’m more than happy with the end result. I think it crosses a lot of genres and also gives my fans something different then what they may be used to.
How does the sample library reflect your own music?
There are tons of ethereal tons and atmospheric melodies in this library which, in effect, encapsulate the tone of my own records over the last few years. A lot of my fans always ask about how I came up with this riff or that riff, and I felt like if I just made a sample library with a whole folder for them then they could have fun with it as they please.
This library was two years in the making thanks to your touring commitments and production work, as a result of that, was the finished collection quite different from what you initially set out to create?
Surprisingly not actually. I saw this library grow organically and in a weird way, once everything was said and done, I felt like there was sense of cohesiveness throughout the whole library. Even my drum samples had that grainy, warped feel that I’ve come to expect with the Zero-G brand as a collector myself over the years. I feel like this library sits perfectly in the Zero-G brand and in my opinion, they are one of the most forward thinking sample libraries in the world today. I’m privileged and excited to be working with them on this.
Matt Lange is one of my closest friends in the industry and also my right hand man for my productions at the moment. He excels in areas I lack and our work together has been nothing but extraordinary over the last year or so. Matt has extensive knowledge in sound design, has done many sample libraries already for Wave Alchemy as well as his own company IsoRhythm, and having him feature on my library made so much sense. His guest folder is stunning as well, using samples of bees and tree bark ripping to come up with drum samples. He is without question one of the most advanced and most forward thinking electronic musicians in the world today.
As for Luis Junior, he is a friend of mine from Spain and a terrific producer. Having records on the acclaimed Bedrock label and his approach to writing records made me think of asking him to do a guest folder. He has a very hypnotic goa-inspired approach to making records, much like one of my other friends, Henry Saiz. Something in the Spanish blood I suppose!! Luis has made a library that fits with his current style of brooding, deep, dark progressive techno music. This will definitely appeal to those that love that John Digweed style type house music.
How do their contributions to this collection differ from your own?
I’ve kind of touched upon it in the last question but essentially my library really shines in the melodic content whereas Matt has taken the bull by the horns with incredible sound design to create drum hits and drum loops which will appeal a lot more to the techno and groove based musicians. Luis finally compliments the library by adding a more hypnotic approach to house music aficionados.
There is a huge choice of dance-based sample libraries out there, what is it that separates ‘Late Nights, Early Beginnings’ from the masses?
Great question. I was VERY particular on how I wanted this library to be made. There are a million sample libraries out there that have no soul, nothing to really make the buyer go “wow”. Sometimes you buy a library and it’s not even recorded in 24 bit and the samples aren’t even levelled off properly with enough headroom – it’s such a joke. I wanted to make sure that people were getting tons of creative content that couldn’t be found anywhere else. I routed tons of my riffs and atmospheric tones through my analog gear and the signal chain is just so unique, resulting in tons of character on the samples. You can view my full gear list through my company Alpine Mastering at www.alpinemastering.com
In addition to your DJ career, you’re a classical pianist who has also produced music for high profile commercials, including Chanel, L’Oreal and Mercedes Benz, plus audio for video games. Is having such variety in your career something you’ve always strived for and is there a particular direction you’d like to head into?
Absolutely. I need to feel free as a musician and I have so many ideas all the time. My team and those who work with me closely understand and respect that. I never want to be pigeonholed into doing one sound or approach; I see so many tired dance acts that just seem they are stuck on loop, doing the same thing over and over again. I always want to be at the cutting edge of electronic music production and most importantly, I want to be happy and free with making music that I love – that is the reason why I’ve gotten into this business in the first place and I intend on keeping it that way.
Are there any particular plug-ins you find yourself turning to time and again when producing your music? Does it differ between your own music and the material you produce for TV and video games?
I’m a bit fan of the EastWest products by Nick Phoenix; also I’m a fan of Spectrasonics Omnisphere but mostly I am in love with my Eventide Eclipse hardware unit. For effects it is second to none. And of course my Moog Voyager, Alessis Andromeda, Nord Rack 3 are all favourites of mine to create really nice atmospheric pads and textured synth riffs.
Finally, what can we expect from Glenn Morrison as we move into 2012?
2012 will be my biggest year yet. I am working on my artist album right now in conjunction with Sony ATV, and I am beyond excited to show you all the music. It is a new chapter in my career and besides the constant worldwide touring, production, ghost writing, and mastering work, I am thrilled to have this album drop next year. I am also thrilled to finally have my library for Zero-G ready for release now as it coincides with everything perfectly.