Mashups can be cool. Some people overdo them, but others find a way to integrate their own creativity with the melodies and harmonies of others. The overdone mashups are the ones you hear on YouTube — the ones that are hastily created in hopes that the idea of the two or three songs together will accomplish something on its own. That just doesn't happen though. Scott Miller, or White Morning as he is known on SoundCloud and any other source you hear his work on, is — stereotypically, as it were — one exception. His creations don't attempt to elude genre, but rather combine it to create something existential and brilliant, both in tone and composition.
It's safe to say I find Miller's creative design thrilling. But who cares about safety? I deeply connect with the songs he has created — and not all of them are mashups. He's done some more remixes, instrumental experiments, and just plain piano goodness. If you connect with the melodies he creates, it's likely you'll also find inspiration in the notes and unique combination of sounds he creates for each track, from the sound bytes to the side melodies. His work is getting more and more interesting, and I'm excited to see where it goes. He just released a new song, and I was able to score an interview with him. So, delaying things no longer, here is that interview.
What is your identity outside of SoundCloud and frequencies below 430THz?
My identity outside of electronic circuits feels different compared to White Morning. I am a worship leader in Denver for a few different ministries. I struggle with paying rent sometimes. To make extra money, I work at breweries and distilleries, and on occasion, drive for Lyft as well. I live in a basement with three other guys. There are no girls in my life, and probably won’t be for a while. I feel I have a lot of friends, but very few that I’m really close to. Most of my friends don’t even know about White Morning, and I like it that way. I am also very passionate about whiskey. My favorite type is American single malts, which are just starting to emerge. But really, I’m really just another face trying to figure out this thing called life.
What do you use to create each song? I know some more modern ones are mashups, but your older work is mainly instrumental and soundtrack-based. How did those come about?
I use Logic Pro X (with a variety of plugins) for creating all my music. Instrumental and not. White Morning started in 2010 as an experimental project. I’d write for at least 30 minutes a day, and post the end result at the end of each week. They were mainly instrumental because I wanted to focus more on putting my emotions into the actual music instead of the lyrics. I did this because I found that music does a much better job at translating emotions than words. Eventually I started writing more electronic music with samples from other songs in them, sort of like mashups. That style is what has attracted the majority of my fans, and what I enjoy writing the most. Although I still have plans to get back into writing more instrumental stuff.
Who inspires you to continue creating music?
Lots of things inspire me to continue writing. One big inspiration is art itself. I often find myself moved by all kinds of art; paintings, music, films, dancing, anything really. That is why I use a lot of outside pieces in my music. I am also inspired by everyone who has taken a liking to my music. I feel so encouraged by people who can relate to my music, because they are relating to a part of who I am.
What kind of scene goes through your head when you listen to a song like "Chimeria" after creating it? And for you, what's the goal of creating music?
When I finish a song, it becomes a timestamp in my life. It takes me back to what was happening in my life at that time. For example, when I listen to Chimera, I see lots of snow and lots of late nights not being able to fall asleep, trying to forgive myself for losing someone very close to me. Each song looks different to me. My goal for creating music is to simply vent. I take my emotions at that time and try to put them into a song the best I can. And it works. Every time I release a song, I feel a little lighter. It feels like journaling.
Are there any subliminal messages you're hoping to communicate in each track?
I never try to be subliminal. Although I do like to keep a mysterious aspect to my music, like how I use certain sound clips. A lot of the song names and sound clips I use have a meaning that only I know about.
You do a great job of consistently releasing new songs. What encouragement would you give to someone who's scared to just get started?
For someone that’s scared to just get started in writing music, I’d follow Shia Lebeouf’s advice: “Do it. Just do it.” And be ok with the fact that you’re not gonna be good at first. When I go back and listen to the first songs I ever produced, I want to cut my ears off. The best way to get better is to just keep writing more and more. Also, YouTube is a fantastic resource to research something you want to learn on a DAW.
Does your geographic location ever come into play in what you create?
My geographic location certainly has a great impact on what I create. I was diagnosed with S.A.D. This means that my mood changes with the seasons. Denver gets all four seasons. I am affected by the weather, especially snow. Snow is beautifully silent and destructive. Snow is always a catalyst for my creation. Denver is also a very open city. It doesn’t feel suffocating. I can drive for half an hour and find peace in a very secluded place in the mountains. Life just feels very real in Denver.
How do you connect sound bytes to a particular song? Do you plan to integrate sound bytes from the new Star Wars infinitely in future releases?
Sound clips are incorporated into my music in different ways. Sometimes I’ll just be watching a movie and hear a quote I really want to use. Other times I’ll be writing the song, and I get to a place in the song that begs for a quote. In that instance, I’m not able to continue the song until I find a quote for it. That’s when I’ll either watch a movie I like to search for a quote, or search online for a specific quote I want. I use a program that can record audio from the internet to create the sample. It’s funny you ask about Star Wars sound clips. My friends and I just finished watching the first six to get prepared for The Force Awakens. I’m sure I’ll be looking for clips to use :)
What do you think of the ethereal line we create between content creators and consumers?
I’ve never really thought about this before. But I’d say I’m definitely both a content creator and consumer. There doesn’t seem to be a line between the two for me. Consuming the content inspires my to create more content. I know a lot of artists that are scared to show appreciation for others’ art but that doesn’t really make sense to me. If I ever get to perform at a festival, you’ll also see me dancing in the crowd for other acts.
What's the desirable future for you and music, and White Morning?
I would love to get to a point where I am able to make a living off of making music alone. Whether that be making soundtracks for films, DJing shows, or anything in between. Still trying to figure out what that looks like in the broken music industry. As for the immediate future, I’d love to start playing shows soon.
What is White Morning?
White Morning is always changing. The style of music will change and so will I as I walk further into life. But one thing is always consistent; I never want to stop putting my entire heart into any music that I write under the name “White Morning”. That’s what White Morning is to me. As for others, I want White Morning to be a venue of hope.
I suggest taking in White Morning any time of day, via SoundCloud or your player of choice. His songs are available for free, and if you enjoy them, I'm sure he would love to hear all about why on Twitter. Tell him a story. He seems like the kind of person who likes stories.