Throughout his career, Morgan Page has hit plenty of milestones. The globally-acclaimed DJ and producer has two Grammy nominations to his name and his 2015 album “DC to Light” debuted at #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and #3 on the Dance/Electronic Albums chart. As a DJ, Morgan Page has graced festival main stages and clubs all over the world, from Coachella, Electric Daisy Carnival, Electric Zoo and Ultra to Marquee NYC, New City Gas, Avalon Hollywood and THE LIGHT Vegas, where he currently holds a residency. Radiating his signature musical brilliance, his new single “Fight My Way” is sure to conquer airwaves this summer. With Moses Keenan’s catchy vocals paired with magical chords and grand synths, the track offers a smooth balance between power and tenderness. Have a listen embedded below.
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Sean Ritchie: I know you’re from Burlington, Vermont, a beautiful city — the state as a whole, too. Talk about what makes it special to you. Where would you suggest a first-time visitor to go?
Morgan Page: It’s good timing, because I just got back from there. I was there for a couple of weeks. I grew up there and I’m really the only native Vermonter in my family. Everyone else kind of moves to Vermont and they fall in love it. The natural draw are the mountains and the scenery, and that’s what I grew up doing. I grew up being outside and snowboarding there during the winter. The remoteness is a big draw for people that want to get away from cities.
Every year I go for Christmas for a week, and in the summer I’ll go to take a break from the [Los Angeles] traffic. For me, it’s this ying-yang effect of getting away from the [bustle] of the city and resetting. That’s what I do. I go just outside of Burlington. It’s fun to see the more rural parts of Vermont, but in Burlington Church Street is a big feature. By the lake there’s a lot of sailing. My biggest draws in the summer are Ben & Jerry’s, mountain biking and anything that’s not a typical LA thing to do.
SR: To bring it back a bit, I wanted to touch on how you were first exposed and got started with music. How were you inspired to pursue it as a career? Talk about that process becoming where you are today.
MP: A big thing was growing up in a fairly remote area, I grew up in a log cabin out on a dirt road, and radio was still pretty influential. I got into electronic music because of the college radio station at the University of Vermont. That led me to want to produce music. There were no MP3 or blogs at the time, so it was very hard to discover music otherwise if it wasn’t on the radio. I just got really interested and started making my own music on computers, and eventually started deejaying at that station. Guys weren’t showing up for their slots, so I started filling in for people’s radio shows. That lead to interning at record labels in the summers in New York City, and those internships led to record deals. Everything was kind of step-by-step process, but it really all started with radio.
SR: That’s fantastic. I know you said that being in a remote area was part of radio exposing you to music, but were there other factors where your upbringing helped you to hone your skills?
MP: I was an only child, so I had to entertain myself. If I was living in a regular, suburban development and had cable TV there would be more distractions. I had to find ways to occupy my time. Everything was a long commute; even high school was a 40-minute commute. So, you either got into sports or nerdy things like technology. I got a little into both. Technology really got me though. You just know at an early age that something is really speaking to you. First, it started with technology, and then with music. Luckily, I was able to intertwine the two into what I do for a living.
SR: To fast forward, I just had a chance to listen to your new track “Fight My Way” featuring Moses Keenan that just came out in June. Talk about your thought process behind that release. How has it been received so far since it came out?
MP: It’s still pretty new, and we just dropped the acoustic mix. It kind of taps into the familiar vein of songs I’ve done before, where there’s no real melancholy feel to it. There’s some organic elements, but also EDM stuff in there as well, so I can play it live. It’s mellower than some other tracks I’ve done for sure. If you listen back to “In The Air” and “Longest Road” there’s some emphasis on organic instruments and songwriting that’s conversational, you’ll hear a lot of that in the song. I like those kind of lyrics more than abstract metaphors that you hear in some of dance music.
I thought Moses had a very cool, different kind of voice. He had this new, very fresh kind of voice. That was a cool thing to really highlight in the song. He’s really young and just getting started. That part excites me, when there’s a new singer and people haven’t heard his voice before. I like to really highlight that in my productions.
SR: For sure, well I’m a fan of the track, it’s cool to see you working with a younger artist just starting out. Now, to bring it into travel, how does music and travel really fit together in your life?
MP: I’ve probably been on an airplane a good third of my life, so I have to find ways to make use of that time. It’s very easy to just watch movies, do nothing and blow that time. I listen to a lot of podcasts and audio books while I’m traveling. Every time I go to new cities it inspires new ideas. It helps to break a routine and get you out of a familiar troth. I love to just continually travel. If I have a couple gigs somewhere and it’s not a full tour I just call it a “play-cation”. I’ll go to China, play two shows and then go hang out in Singapore for a few days. That’s not exactly a close flight, but when it makes sense I like to stay in one region, even if it’s six hours away in Asia. Sometimes we wrap tours around stuff like that.
SR: That’s a great way to make the most out of it. One of our objectives at SCP is to bring people together while traveling. Our thought process behind that is if people interact with others, they become less foreign and more accepting. I think music has a lot of parallels with that, because artists are constantly bring people from all over the world together in one location. They don’t have to speak the same language, music is that real commonality. Talk to how special and important that is to be a musician with that power.
MP: It’s been really eye-opening, because I’ve had the opportunity to tour places like India, China, Australia, South America and South Africa. It’s really crazy to see how songs can travel, develop legs and speak to people in different countries. I think part of the fun is seeing how songs resonate differently. It’s very humbling. It’s cool to be in the arts and entertainment rather than a traditional business. It definitely factors into when I’m making music, like trying to simplify the lyrics so they translate or focusing more on the melody. I’m always thinking about how it’s going to work in different places. It’s an honor to make music and bring people together.
SR: It’s cool that you have that in mind. When you do have some down time and are looking to get away, are you more of a beach guy, up in the mountains somewhere or are you looking for a city atmosphere?
MP: It’s funny, because my wife likes to do the beach, because she can disconnect. I like to do more active things. I want to keep moving. I’m not really a “sit at the pool, have a drink” kind of guy. I just go crazy. It’s good for a day, maybe, then I just go nuts. I have to keep it active, but I’m not an adrenaline junkie either. I’m kind of in between the two. I wouldn’t do skydiving or something like that, but the first thing I’ll do when I get to a city is go for a run and try to find nature somewhere. Sometimes it’s hard in urban areas. It’s pretty impossible if you’re in places like Jakarta. Even if it’s not a touristy city I like to go run and explore. The worst thing to me is sitting in a hotel room.
One of my favorite resorts is Aman, they don’t advertise at all and they’ll buy up hundreds of acres of land just for the hotel. It’s almost like a little park in itself. I just love it, and they’ll take you out on activities. It’s really expensive, but it’s worth every penny. They memorize stuff like your name, like a lot of luxury hotels. They’ll find out what kind of foods you like and they’ll recommend things. You also don’t see any numbers on the bill until the end of the trip. One of my favorite ones is Amangiri on the boarder of Utah and Arizona. That’s my favorite kid of travel.
SR: Wow, not seeing the bills could be a bad thing. I always love to ask well-traveled people if they have destinations that they haven’t been to, but still want to see. What are three on your list?
MP: My big one is France. I’m actually planning a trip there right now. I’ve never played any shows in France. It would be interesting to see Turkey, maybe not now, but waiting a little bit. A lot of Europe I’ve neglected to see. I’ve toured more often in India and China than I have in Europe. It’s bazaar considering I make electronic music. I just go where the demand is. The Galapagos Islands are on the top of my list — Iceland too. There’s an Aman resort in Bhutan that I really want to go to that’s high up in the mountains. I like the weird, slightly dangerous, exotic places.
SR: I know this is a tough question having played in so many venues, but what is one of the most beautiful ones you’ve played?
MP: That’s actually pretty easy. I’d go with Red Rocks [Amphitheatre] at number one, Coachella at number two and the Gorge [Amphitheatre] at number three.
SR: Lastly, to wrap this up, what do you have coming up surrounding your music in the next couple weeks and months as we move through summer?
MP: It’s doing weekend tours — two or three shows a week. I’m working on new singles and the “In The Air” radio show for Sirus XM. It’s really just getting used to the new music release schedule with streaming. It’s pretty different now putting out a single every couple of months and following that up with mix packages. It’s a whole different pace versus sweating the album for two years.