Interview: Kailee Morgue on her new single, 'Siren'.
Since releasing her debut single ‘Medusa’ last October via Republic Records, Kailee Morgue has since gone on to release her debut EP (which saw her work with New Zealand’s own Joel Little on ‘Unfortunate Soul’), collaborate with Whethan (on ‘Do You Feel This Way’), and share the angsty and self-aware ‘F**k U’, in which she states there’s, “No happy ending for you and I.”
Her latest single ‘Siren’, for which she self-directed the accompanying music video for, is a taster for Morgue’s upcoming debut album - and if it’s anything to go by, it’ll be intriguing and distinctive, much like Kailee.
Coup De Main took a trip to Griffith Park with Kailee Morgue last month in Los Angeles, where we talked about the album, her songwriting process, and the importance of awareness around toxic relationships…
...it’s so overrated to think that fighting all the time is normal. I feel like that’s so normal in our modern relationship ideas, and there’s a better way to talk about things without arguing. If somebody really loved you, there’s not an excuse for doing something that would hurt you.
COUP DE MAIN: We’re excited about your new single ‘Siren’! What was running through your mind when you were writing that song?
KAILEE MORGUE: The actual instrumental is so weird, it’s very off-putting and creepy, but at the same time very sexy. I kind of started writing it about something completely different, I started writing it about indulging in your vices and guilty pleasures, and then it somehow turned around where I was writing about the mythological creatures of sirens, which is kind of weird because I have ‘Medusa’ too, so it just tied in I guess.
CDM: Have you always been drawn to writing about mythologies?
KAILEE: Not always. When I first started writing, it was originally just purely for communication, because I didn’t really know how to talk to other people, or really even just communicate how I was feeling, because I was going through so much mentally that I would just do it through music. I just started writing about myself, break-ups, all that teenage stuff, and then once I passed a point where I wasn’t really doing that stuff anymore, I wasn’t holding everything in, I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going to try writing about stories, and things that are outside of myself,’ so it wasn’t always just about me. ‘Medusa’ was the first time I ever tried doing that, and it was awesome. <laughs> I had no idea people were gonna like it.
CDM: I guess it’s easy in songwriting to write about your personal experiences, but it’s harder to write about another perspective.
KAILEE: I’m pretty empathetic, so I’m getting into that world of writing about things that I haven’t experienced, and that’s been really fun too, so it’s not always so personal.
CDM: Is ‘Siren’ lifted from your upcoming debut album? What can you tell us about it at the moment?
KAILEE: What I can say is that there’s a lot going on, we’re still not sure what’s gonna be on it, and what’s not going to be on it. There’s sessions that I would go into to make music where I was like, ‘Okay, I kind of want to do something where I almost sound like I’m rapping,’ and then the next day, ‘Oh, I want to do something which is fully acoustic.’ So you’re really just going to see a big world of me experimenting. I feel like I wanted my debut album to be like that, so you’re not like, ‘Oh, it’s going to sound like this.’ It’s going to sound like a lot of things, so you’re not ever getting bored, and so there’s a lot to experience.
CDM: Is ‘Headcase’ gonna be on your debut album too? I know it’s one your fans are very excited about!
KAILEE: Yeah. That one is going to come out for sure. It was pushed back because ‘Siren’ just came into the world, and I really wanted to get that out and have a nice visual for it, but ‘Headcase’ is definitely coming.
CDM: I really love ‘F**k U’ - do you think there’s a certain moment in a relationship when you know there’s, “No happy ending for you and I”?
KAILEE: I don’t know if there’s one specific moment where you just kind of know, but I feel like if you’re questioning it, that’s already a sign. That’s one thing I’ve learned with my new relationship. When I wrote ‘F**k U’, I was still in that toxic relationship, and I feel like that’s what gave me the courage to leave. I didn’t really know all that stuff was-- I knew it was happening, but kind of putting it out there and throwing it into a song, I was like, ‘Wow, I’m not happy.’ I think if you’re in the right relationship, you’ll know that it’s not toxic. If there’s any sort of question, or any sort of sign, then you should take it.
CDM: Along a similar vein to that song, you tweeted back in April, “Genuine love should never hurt, it’s not going to be perfect but people romanticise abuse and toxicity so much, and someone that truly loves you wouldn’t go out of their way to hurt you.” Why do you think that is such an important message for people, and particularly young people to learn?
KAILEE: I think a lot of people think that if you’re in a relationship that it’s healthy… I mean, you are going to disagree and have arguments, but it’s so overrated to think that fighting all the time is normal. I feel like that’s so normal in our modern relationship ideas, and there’s a better way to talk about things without arguing. If somebody really loved you, there’s not an excuse for doing something that would hurt you - a lot of people would just go back to somebody that’s cheated on them, and I know it’s hard to leave those situations, I just wanted to put it out into the world that there’s never an excuse. If that person is going out of their way, that was a pre-meditated decision to do that.
CDM: What was it like working with Joel Little on ‘Unfortunate Soul’?
KAILEE: I love him! That was one of my first sessions that I ever had. I didn’t really know exactly what I wanted to do - and that’s still how I am, like, ‘I have no idea what I’m envisioning today, I’m just gonna go for it.’ He really gave me a lot of freedom to do whatever I wanted, and it was really great. We wrote some other songs that you may hear, which were all him letting me explore whatever I wanted that day.
CDM: You’ve shared in the past that you want to “start making more songs that don’t have 'he' pronouns cause I hear that too often,” is this something that you’ve taken care of with songs on your album?
KAILEE: Yeah. I have some that obviously have the 'he' pronoun because I have a boyfriend, and I’m genuinely writing about him. But there’s some songs that there’s no pronouns, you’re not going to hear ‘he’ or ‘she’ but you know it’s about somebody, and then there’s some where I want to put some ‘she’ pronouns in there, because it’s part of me. I definitely want to make that apparent in my music that I’m not always just talking about men, or my boyfriend.
CDM: It’s been really awesome to see you open about your pansexuality on social media, especially as a lot of people just see that you have a boyfriend, and just assume you are heterosexual.
KAILEE: Yeah! I get that a lot, people are like, ‘I thought you were gay,’ and I’m like, ‘I am.’ People just assume that if you’re not dating a girl you’re straight.
CDM: As well as your ‘Medusa’ EP this year, you’ve released a few different collaborations - how does that process differ to working on your own music?
KAILEE: I think it’s a little different, just because when I’m doing my music, there’s no direction, I just have no idea what’s going to come out of it. That’s when it’s purely creative, it’s not like I’m like, ‘I have to write a song like this.’ But when I’m doing those collaborations I get a little bit more insight into what other people are writing about, and it helps me step out of my own zone, and have a new perspective, and step into their world.
CDM: I really love the outro part in ‘Do You Feel This Way’.
KAILEE: It’s funny, when I was about to come out with the song, they were like, ‘We don’t know if we should keep that,’ in communication with my team, it is so different to the rest of the song. I was like, ‘No, we gotta do it,’ to me it shows that it’s purely art, and I’m not just putting out this song for streams.
CDM: You’ve played a couple of live shows, and are gonna go on tour with Poppy later this year. What have the live shows been like for you so far?
KAILEE: I’ve only have played two, so I don’t have too much insight into what the crazy show life is like. I definitely have that instant flush of adrenaline, it’s so exciting because I’m seeing people that listen to my music, and connecting the faces with all the support that I’ve had. They’re not crazy big shows, so after the show I get to walk down and meet everybody, and that’s probably the best part so far of this journey, meeting everybody. I’m so excited to tour too, because I haven’t travelled the country anyway.
CDM: You can do touristy things in the day, then go play your show at night.
KAILEE: Yeah! I’m gonna be exhausted, but I’ll try.
Kailee Morgue’s new single ‘Siren’ is out now - click here to purchase, and watch the music video below…