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The SoulBounce Q&A: PJ Morton Shares The Recipe To His Infamous ‘Gumbo’

SoulBounce: How are you doing today, Mr. Morton?

PJ Morton: I can’t complain. I’m pretty good. You?

SB: All good on this end. Where are you at right now?

PJ: I just got to D.C. I have a listening session tonight.

SB: Just playing the music or doing a live performance?

PJ: No, just playing the music, but there’s a film that goes along with it, so it’s kind of like watching the album. The lyrics are there, too. Pretty cool experience. I wanted to do a little bit more than just have it be a normal listening session.

SB: That’s awesome. Is there a chance we’ll see it online somewhere soon?

PJ: Yeah, we’ve talked about it. We’re putting it somewhere. We’re just not sure where yet.

SB: It’s always great when you see an artist and see the behind the scenes of them creating their craft. A lot more artists are doing that, like your girl Solange, who did that with her last album, giving us a few details on the process of creating her album.

PJ: Yeah.

SB: That leads into my first question. The first single, "Claustrophobic," was originally released in 2015, but you went back in the lab and changed things up again, not only giving it a different vibe and feel, but you also added a rap from Pell. How long do you usually spend perfecting songs or playing around with them?

PJ: It really just depends. That one, that’s one I just wanted to put it out there in 2015, just the purest, first thought. When I re-did it, it was after living with it a little while and polishing it to where I wanted it to be. It’s funny, because I really liked that first version, as well. I love the rawness of it, but I really like this new one. It really captured everything for me, and Pell took it to another level with the rap.

SB: For me, I really like the 2015 version, but I really like this one in the context of the album and hearing everything together. It really flows really well.

PJ: And that was part of it, too. When I start working on a full body of work, I try to make sure as a producer that there’s cohesion. That was a stylistic change as well.

SB: You also made some changes to “Stick To My Guns,” which was also released earlier. Not as big as "Claustrophobic," but little things here and there.

PJ: The songs that were on the maxi-single, I re-did for the album. “Sticking to My Guns” and “First Began,” when I originally released them, I had never performed them live. We went on tour as a trio and I performed them, I got a better idea of what really worked about those songs. There’s nothing like having an audience in front of you for instant gratification. For “Sticking,” I raised the key up higher and some production changes. “First Began,” I made it more like we did it on the road, giving it a little more space. I guess the best testing ground is performing it in front of people, so I got to really see what worked before going back in the studio.

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