Wednesday, August 23

Morrownow, a student band, rocks into LA music scene

Up-and-coming '90s-influenced quartet works hard to increase popularity and recognition

Morrownow, including third-year political science student Jason Tapia (left back), is a '90s-influenced, student rock band working to make a name for itself in the Los Angeles music scene. (courtesy of Ryan Guzdzial)

Morrownow, including third-year political science student Jason Tapia (left back), is a '90s-influenced, student rock band working to make a name for itself in the Los Angeles music scene. (courtesy of Ryan Guzdzial)

Christine Rendon / Daily Bruin

Correction: In the original version of this article published on Nov. 3, Josh Cary’s name was misspelled.

In low-lit music venues of the L.A. night scene, and more recently at the Westwood Brewing Company, up-and-coming L.A.-based rock band Morrownow jams to the tune of its ’90s-influenced melodies.

Among the motley quartet, third-year political science student Jason Tapia spends his time balancing both the books and time on stage.

For Tapia, being a student and moonlighting as a musician has been difficult.
“(It’s) hard. Had to ditch these guys a couple of times. … I work, too, getting through papers, reading … and also having class,” Tapia said.

Tapia, who has been involved in several bands, said the organization and talent of this band is smoother in comparison to his previous string of musical acts.

“This is definitely the most serious project I have been in,” Tapia said. “It’s hard to get a group together, where everybody’s good at what they do. … Musically, it’s been more productive, we’ve been writing more consistently.”

The band was conceived following vocalist and guitarist Josh Cary’s project “Courting a Fall,” an album based upon the angst of young adulthood and a long-term relationship he was in. Previously, Cary collaborated with high-school friends Bryan Ducre and Tapia to create a piece of what the band is today. More recently, Tom Pharo, bassist and vocalist, joined the musical team, lending his voice to the foursome that now performs on stage.

“For me, I don’t go on the stage even really looking around to canoodle with the guitar. I go up there, and I rock,” Pharo said. “I don’t need to throw the guitar up in the air, I keep it simple, but I rock pretty hardcore.”

Despite the band’s bond, the quartet still struggles to find an audience in what is an otherwise geographic musical jungle in Los Angeles. Morrownow’s manager, Brent Kim, spoke of the band’s frustration in navigating the divisions in the sprawl of Los Angeles.

“Los Angeles has an interesting … music scene in general, certain areas they really split genres into different areas. … It’s really hard to push ourselves into … one solid genre,” Kim said. “On the Sunset Strip, all of the music there is kind of classic, old school. … And then you have the east side of the city, like Echo Park, Silver Lake, emerging new styles … indie, hipster.”

The members’ difficulty to completely identify with one solid genre hinders them in terms of recognition, yet the band claims its organic music writing process is what catches its musical act in limbo. Recently, the band has released an EP “Ourself” and is branching out toward all sorts of musical sectors, including the college arena and an upcoming appearance at The Cat Club on Nov. 19.

“I think college kids are more hip now. … People are more creative and want more creative sounds to that,” Pharo said.

In addition, the band attributes its natural flow of creativity to the pre-existing friendship among three of the members. The musicians are more readily able to bounce shared memories off of each other while brainstorming new sets. According to Tapia, the bond among them gives him more liberty to be brutally honest with co-members while writing.

“Being friends also helps me tell them their ideas suck,” he said.

But for now, Tapia and the other three members of Morrownow find themselves using their natural music abilities for the set that’s sung on stage.

“When we write a song, I don’t think we really know where we’re going with it until we end up finding ourselves there,” Cary said.

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