Sen Morimoto

Sen Morimoto

Sen Morimoto wanted to hone his songwriting craft and editing skills after taking a more free-form and experimental approach with his 2018 debut album Cannonball!. “I think a lot of this album is me thinking about the structure and arrangement of a song, as well as being lyrically concise and working out those muscles,” Morimoto tells Apple Music. “I'm coming to realize that I'm not a minimalist. When I sit down to work, I keep going until I have a pretty full sound. For this one, it was more challenging figuring out what to remove than adding things.” In Sen Morimoto, the self-taught Kyoto-born/Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist wanted to be honest to himself about recognizing the capacity in which he plays every instrument he knows. “As I get older, I feel less and less the need to be intentional about the kind of style I'm playing in,” Morimoto says. “Let's say I play guitar the way that I learn to play Wilco songs, or play the saxophone the way I learn how to play Sonny Rollins songs. So I think, 'What if this Wilco-y guitar had a Sonny Rollins saxophone over it?'” Here, Morimoto walks us through some key tracks on the album. Love Money Pt. 2 “‘Love, Money Pt. 2’ is a continuation of a song called ‘Love, Money’ that was on an EP I put out years ago called It's Late. 'Love, Money' was this song about questioning why you need these things that you grew up thinking you need, or what your image of love is and what your understanding of richness is. 'Pt. 2' was a continuation of that. I feel like that's something that I continue to question throughout my life constantly, like how am I perceiving love or how am I defining love for myself. And also, what role does making money, and eating to survive and surviving under capitalism, affect your own artistic and business endeavors. It's an ongoing internal dialogue that never ends.” Woof “Some days I feel like shit, and I don't want to force myself to be positive or force my negative energy on anyone else. I can just be alone and be okay with feeling like shit because I'm not going to pretend. I'm learning that for myself. I just wanted to make a song that reminded me that sometimes you're just down and it's okay; you don't have to always be invincible.” Deep Down (feat. AAAMYYY) “‘Deep Down’ was definitely my pop challenge to myself. I love making complicated chord progressions. I love exploring how songs can change keys without you noticing or changing the time signature without feeling off-kilter. I was talking to a friend about music and he suggested I make something with two chords. And so I tried it. That song pretty much ended up being a few more chords than that because I couldn't help myself. But for the first little while, it's just a couple chords. It was really fun to then be able to focus more on groove, and I think that's why it feels like it's a highlight on the album.” Tastes Like It Smells (feat. Lala Lala, Kara Jackson & Qari) “It’s such a weird song to me. It didn't make sense at first. It's almost like a musical-sounding, or dark and operatic. It's like a little too dramatic. I like that the lyrics are not so modern, or almost like anti-modern and medieval-sounding. I thought everyone did a really good job of bringing their own element to that song as well. I think that song I probably spent the longest on in terms of sound design out of any of them.” Daytime but Darker “‘Daytime but Darker’ is one of my favorites on the album. It's really short, like a minute-and-a-half little bop. When I started the instrumental, it was a cover of a song called 'Pot Head' by Daniel Johnston that I really liked. I always loved the melody, and the lyrics are super, super fun. He says, 'You ain't got no body and you're just a head. You're just a pothead.' I thought that is such an interesting play on words. Eventually, I felt like changing it enough. I scrapped the cover vocals and wrote new lyrics and new melodies. He has this childish imagination in how he phrases things, like a funny misunderstanding of how literal a word actually is.” The Things I Thought About You Started to Rhyme “I've always been super superstitious since I was a kid about the most random things. I'm not super religious, but I had heard someone say that they believe in God for the good things. I thought that was so funny. I guess I feel almost opposite. I feel I believe in God for the bad things. I'm worried about God in case I'm doing something wrong, or I'm not grateful enough for the things in my life. So I try to be grateful.” You Come Around “‘You Come Around’ is also inspired by a Daniel Johnston song. There's video of him performing a song in someone's living room. He's just got a microphone and he's doing this big Pete Townshend windmill fist guitar with these hits that are happening as he sings, 'It's a hard time.' It's these two big hits, and the drums and the guitar hit it together. It's pretty different than that song. It's kind of a jazzy thing while adding cool elements like that. There's a lot of stuff throughout the album where people hear different influences and get confused about the genre. I thought it could be jazz and Daniel Johnston at the same time.” Jupiter “‘Jupiter’ couldn't go anywhere else on the album but at the end, because it's kind of reflective and it doesn't really make sense to reflect if you haven't reached the destination yet. I started the instrumental and the chorus back in 2015. It was a nostalgic and fun play on words on the 'Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider' limerick from everyone's childhood. I wanted to make you think or look at it in a different way as you've experienced life and you see all the kind of funny coincidences and callbacks to your childhood. Sometimes you see something that reminds you of when you were little, and then you suddenly feel that gap of time. In your daily doings, you don't feel that. You just do your day, but then something reminds you of the space in between now and when that first happened. I was just trying to capture that feeling about memory.”

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