The Hush Sound enjoying newfound freedom and fun
The Hush Sound co-headlines the A&R Music Bar Wednesday, June 5, with Hockey. River City Extension, Genevieve (from Company of Thieves) and Lucas Carpenter open. Tickets are $20. Visit promowestlive.com.
The Beat caught up with Greta Morgan, singer/keyboardist/songwriter for The Hush Sound, following a sound check and at the start of a five-hour or so break before show time.
She planned to put the time to good use, reading and getting coffee and maybe making a purchase at a local Barnes & Noble.
Morgan and her mates have mastered the art of making the best of time off.
In 2009, the Chicago-based quartet was an emerging darling of the indie-pop scene, offering up songs quirky and charming, when the members decided collectively that there were other things they wanted to get done and they were young enough yet to do them.
The time apart was beneficial all around. For Morgan in particular, who started jamming with co-founder Bob Morris when she was just 14 and was 17 when the band's debut CD, So Sudden, was released, it was an opportunity to become a better musician and a better writer, she said.
"I read that the choreographer Martha Graham said, 'In order for a dancer to have freedom, they must first have discipline,' and that's what I found in those years," she explained.
"I've made more records and done hundreds of shows, put in so many hours, and I feel like I have some of that freedom."
The friends never totally abandoned The Hush Sound, playing shows annually -- or more often -- in their hometown while pursuing other options, be they other bands (Morgan in Gold Motel, Morris in Stamps) or finishing school. The topic of a full-time "reunion" was often broached, but the time never felt right.
"Being in a band, it's like being one-third friend, one-third creative partner and one-third business partner. You have to have all of those three, and it seemed we only had one or two at any point in time," she told The Beat.
"It always felt like we picked right up where we left off, but when we'd talk about playing and touring together again, there would always be a project or a semester that needed completed."
According to Morgan, it was when the band stopped trying to have fun that it started to have fun.
And when she and Morris stopped trying to write songs that sounded like The Hush Sound, the songs began to sound like ones they wanted to make with The Hush Sound.
The newfound freedom and fun have found their way into the band's live shows, increasingly so as they've been out on the road together once again.
"Our playing is more spontaneous, and the banter ... It's like a comedy act," she said, adding, "We're like a bunch of siblings, goofing around and picking on each other."
There's a certain spontaneity within their set lists as well, fueled by social media and the band's desire to engage its fans.
"We get lots of requests on Twitter and Facebook, songs that maybe we hadn't been playing as often. But when you hear someone tell you they've been waiting five years to hear a certain song, you want to do something that people are going to enjoy."
Morgan hopes audiences will enjoy the new songs The Hush Sound is releasing as well. The band has two new singles -- Not a Stranger and Scavengers -- and Morgan hopes to continue the pattern.
"If I was a fan, what I would want is less music more often," she explained.
She said the band has a few more songs ready to record this summer, and then will determine whether to release them or save them for a full-length CD.