photo : Jennifer Link
interview : Mike Kieffer
Paul Morin is a music contributor who has been with Auxiliary Magazine from the start. He writes music reviews, in-depth features on topics ranging from the state and development of musical genres to the aspects and trends of the music industry and music culture, and interviews and features on artists and bands. He has an extensive and varying background in music: playing guitar and bass in various bands since he was fifteen; having formal training in a variety of instruments, music theory, and vocals; having managed both corporate and independent music stores; and having worked as a field marketing representative for TVT Records. Currently he plays bass for the indie band The Mordaunt Sisters.
What do you do at Auxiliary Magazine?
I write music reviews/articles and occasionally interview musicians.
How did you join the magazine?
I honestly don’t remember who approached me about the idea (I was friends with all of the editors of the magazine), but I’ve been around since the start. I have a degree in writing and a passion for music, so it made sense to me to put those together and see what I could make of it. I believe my function at Auxiliary is to introduce people to music they probably wouldn’t normally look at; to convince the indie kid that there is a lot of great goth and electronic stuff out there and conversely to convince the hard-core goth or raver that there are some interesting things going on in the indie community, for example. I’m an old-school goth-punk at heart (Elder Goth or “Grampire” as I’ve heard behind my back), but I still follow current trends in music, and cross over into various scenes regardless of whether my clad-in-black wardrobe is accepted or appropriate. Life is too short for me to just settle for one style of music; some people get by with a little bit of understanding… I want more.
What moment in your life turned you into a music junkie?
My mother was a classically trained pianist. When I was a baby, she would put me on top of the piano and play to me. I think she played a lot of Beethoven, or at least that’s how imagine it, and having no concrete memories of that time, I can make up whatever fiction I want. I did find the sheet music to “Moonlight Sonata” in her piano bench, which lends some evidence to my claim. There is something Clockwork Orange/Pavlovian about that, and I always wonder how much those moments colored the rest of my life (both in terms of the type of music I appreciate and what I appreciate in life in general). I was programmed young and never looked back. Music has always been a huge part of my life.
You have the power of time travel, what one live performance past or future would you attend?
I would have liked to have been around the Southern California punk scene in the late 70s. Or Manchester when The Hacienda was in full swing.
What music related things do you do outside of Auxiliary?
I’ve played guitar and bass in various bands since I was fifteen and have formal training on both instruments as well as piano, trombone, music theory, and vocals. I also managed music stores for ten years (both corporate and independent stores) and worked as a field marketing representative for TVT Records. Currently I play bass for a Buffalo indie band called The Mordaunt Sisters.
Do you think the fashion drives the music or the music drives the fashion?
As much as I want to be able to say fashion is not important in music and that all that really matters is the music itself, it’s not true. The minute you step out on a stage or into a studio for a photoshoot, you are offering yourself up as an object of art, and people are going to react to that in conjunction with the music you are playing. A lot of musicians try to shy away from this argument by not doing anything, but even that sends a bold statement; that I’m not going to pretend I am such-and-such or so-and-so. The least fashionably conscious members of society still wake up and make fashion decisions every day; am I going to wear the red flannel or the blue flannel today? Or, as a girlfriend once joked to me as I was standing in front of the closet, “which black T-shirt am I going to wear today?” Whether the decisions are conscious or subconscious, done with a lot of intention or very little, it’s still projecting an image to everyone out there the minute you show those decisions to other people. Ultimately, I think the music is the most important factor, and I don’t really care what someone looks like. I may think, “well, he dresses like a tool,” but if the music is good, I’m really not going to care what he looks like. And on the flip side, someone may look great on stage, but if he or she can’t play their instrument, I’m not going to buy the album.
What band is your all-time favorite?
Depends on the day or the mood, but I’m probably most obsessive about collecting Joy Division and Factory Records junk.
70s soft rock. I blame my father for this one. My parents divorced at a relatively young age, and my father was a swinging single, white-collar, suburban male in the 70s, so I have a lot of early memories of driving around in my dad’s Camero listening to AM-radio junk on 8-track. Like my mother did earlier in my life, my father was also subconsciously programming me. I hear “Dreamweaver” by Gary Wright or some godawful Yacht-rock song, and it’s like hypnosis; I’m dragged back against my will to a time and a place. My brain knows it’s bad music; I process that this stuff was made for the lowest common denominator of human-kind, and yet, I can’t help it. My feet start tapping along, and I’m smiling.
Jimmy Buffett. “Margaritaville” in particular makes me want to break anything I have to in order to make the pain between my ears stop.
When you are at the clubs, what does it take to get you on the dance floor?
Love, music, wine, and revolution.