Photography by Allison Padilla
On their new album Pale Lemon, Sacremento’s So Stressed are taking on a new genre. With a background in heavier, noisy rock n’ roll, the band decided to make a pop album. Morgan Fox, who does vocals and plays synthesizer in the band, tells us that they decided to go the pop route because it more closely reflects what they listened to. On Pale Lemon, So Stressed tackle themes such as love and happiness through downtempo, melodic indie pop. Before the release of their new album via Ghost Ramp, we were able to talk with Morgan Fox about his crafting lyrics, changing genres, and finding inspiration in Young Thug.
What makes you most happy? How do you translate that into your music?
Nothing makes me happier than spending time with the person I love. She is amazing, and being with her is amazing. I have never experienced anything so good, enjoyable, and fun. It doesn't matter if we're traveling somewhere or trying something new or cooking dinner or even just reading in the same room together. Nothing compares. It's the best.
I try my best to take the grand and important feelings I have for her, write them down, and sing them. It's not the easiest thing in the world for me, because my feelings can be so big and I'm not the best wordsmith. But I do what I can to translate how I feel and what I think. It's nice when the music matches the tone of the words, but that's not at all essential to me. I'll sing about being in love in a thrash-y, noise song just as much as I will in a quiet piano ballad.
Why did you decide to explore a different genre on this album? Does it reflect how you were feeling?
We wanted to make music that reflected the stuff we listen to. Making and playing rock n’ roll songs can be fun, but we don't really listen to that. We thought it might be fun to write pop songs. It was something pretty different from anything we had done in the past, even though we have always been interested in incorporating pop components in our music through verse, chorus, verse structures and melodies. We just tried to go much further in that direction with this record. We wanted to see what would happen if we tried to make something listenable.
What inspired the album? What were you reading, watching and listening to at the time?
I was listening to quite a bit of Young Thug while we wrote some of it. I really, really like a lot of the vocal melodies he comes up with. Maybe that had some kind of influence. But there wasn't anything that I can think of that I consumed during the writing or recording process that consciously inspired the record too much. It was just us trying to do something we hadn't done before; make something we'd enjoy listening to.
What is it like to work with Ghost Ramp (Nathan of WAVVES label)?
Everybody at the label is really kind and patient and encouraging. They seem to trust us and what we do. They're always open to whatever weird ideas we might have and support us a ton. It's always great to get to hang out with them. They're good buds.
Was there a time (in recording or in production) where you felt especially good about how the album was going?
We recorded the album with our dear friend, Pat Hills, at Earthtone Recording Company. We've recorded all of our stuff with him and it's always really fun. He is so good at what he does. He's able to take whatever wacky ideas we have for something and help us make them happen. Recording with him is such a good time and we're always really happy with how things turn out. It's tough not to feel good when we're working with Pat.
I think one of the highlights of recording this album was when we had our friends, Davia and Karlos, play on a few songs. This was the first time we collaborated with other people during recording. It was really fun, and they both added really neat stuff that we wouldn't have been able to do ourselves.
What is next for So Stressed?
This record, Pale Lemon, is coming out sometime in June. I'm excited for people to hear it. It's definitely my favorite thing we've done. Other than that, I'm not sure. I hope more cool stuff happens.