by Matt Conner
Ross Godfrey was ready to relax. So was his brother, Paul, for that matter. The two brothers behind Morcheeba spent the better part of 15 years experimenting with electronic and trip-hop elements, recording six albums and touring the globe to make a living. As Ross states, it was time for a break.
After selling six million albums, the Godfrey brothers had earned that right. Thus after the cycle for 2008’s Dive Deep, Ross says Morcheeba took some space to find out who they were as people. After all, the creative life is a cramped one inside studio space, tour busses and on the stage. If anything, it’s amazing they lasted as long as they did.
“Our lives are very intertwined,” Ross says. “We spent most of our young adult lives together — working together, touring together, recording together. We’re all very identified with the band, so we’re all interlinked in a very strong emotional and spiritual way. When we decided to have a break away from each other, that was very healthy because we needed to have our own identities and do our own things and discover who we were as individuals not part of any band.”
Yet the ambient beauty of a Morcheeba record kept calling, especially the chance to reunite with longtime vocalist Skye Edwards. The East London native left the band in 2003 to record two solo albums but insisted on making another full-length with the Godfreys after the release of Dive Deep.
Ross says that everyone grew as individuals during their time away, which made the reunion both exciting yet apprehensive. If the original line-up was going to actually record again, Ross explains, they were going to keep any possible creative tension as far away as possible.
“When we got together, there was a lot of baggage and emotional feelings, both good and bad,” he says. “It was a nervous time actually and we weren’t sure how it was going to go. We just didn’t want to add any extra pressure to that, but it wasn’t because it was volatile. We just wanted the music to be a really fun, positive, nourishing experience as opposed to something edgy and experimental. I think you can hear that in the music. It’s very relaxed. It was full of love for the music and each other.”
Blood Like Lemonade was the end result of those relaxed sessions, the band’s seventh album and one that sounds completely within Morcheeba’s comfort zone. After years of experimentation and exploration, Ross says the trio was ready to just live at the center of what they do best and let the music take care of itself.
“We’ve always tried so many different things and we love to experiment and stuff, but this is the first album where we didn’t want to experiment,” says Ross. “We just wanted to make a Morcheeba record that was in our comfort zone — one that we knew Morcheeba fans would appreciate.”
While thinking of the fans in some ways, Ross believes it was even more important to somehow regain the innocence from the first couple of albums like Who Can You Trust? and Big Calm. The time apart allowed the trio to do just that.
“It felt like it was the first album we’d made again. It was that weird cycling feeling of when we first met 15 years ago and started making music without anyone else being interested – just doing it for our own pleasure and nobody looking over our shoulder. On this record, we just got together and made it ourselves and then found a distributor for it. We didn’t really have anybody listen to it before we finished it.”
Now that everybody is listening to it, Ross is thankful for a market like Denver that “understands what we’re trying to do with the music.” He says a country like England is easily broken with a handful of gigs because of its size and population, but the United States is something else entirely. For that reason, Morcheeba tends to hit the states in just a few pockets and stick to what works — just like their latest recording.
“Whenever we play Denver, we always have great audiences,” he says. “People will forward me links to reviews that we’ve gotten there, and they’ve always been really great. I really like the Ogden Theatre and I’m really excited to come back and playing. It’s supposed to be a good night out. People should really enjoy themselves.”