MPR News host Cathy Wurzer was joined by Bad Posture Club, a Twin Cities based duo of Maren Day and Morgan Kavanagh — two artists who met through music in high school and use their friendship to launch their latest project.
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[FOLKY GUITAR PLAYING]
WOMAN: Thinking of you, walking in me, watching you are--
CATHY WURZER: That's Walking Teacher. We're going to talk about Maren and Morgan's music here in the next few minutes and what they're listening to from other artists that's inspiring them right now. Morgan and Maren, how are you?
MORGAN KAVANAGH: We're doing good.
CATHY WURZER: Good. Good. Sorry about being honest about that admission.
MORGAN KAVANAGH: You know, you're not alone. I think the name is sometimes slightly misleading.
CATHY WURZER: But I like it, though. I like it a lot. Say, tell me about the track we heard, Walking Teacher, what was the inspiration or the story behind it?
MAREN DAY: Yeah, that was one I wrote. I, Maren, wrote. It's kind of an ode to my mom, who had a stroke in 2019. And she lives in Washington state and I live in Minneapolis, so it was feeling hard to live far away.
And she had a really slow recovery process. So this song really came out as kind of a way I could be with her or just sort of be thinking of her and send energy her way.
CATHY WURZER: Aw, I'm sorry. How is she doing?
MAREN DAY: She's doing good now. She's as fully recovered as she probably will be. But she can walk around. And she had to learn to write with her left hand, but for the most part, she's doing well. Yeah.
CATHY WURZER: Good. Good. I'm glad to hear that. Tell me the story of how you two got together.
MORGAN KAVANAGH: Well, we actually met when I was in high school at a high school choir concert and became friends. And music was always a part of our relationship. And we didn't start being officially in a band, in Bad Posture Club, until we, I guess, I don't know, when was that, Maren?
MAREN DAY: I think that was like 2016.
MORGAN KAVANAGH: 2016, yeah, was when we started Bad Posture Club.
CATHY WURZER: Wow. OK. So you've been doing this for a little bit.
MAREN DAY: Yeah. No
CATHY WURZER: OK. Do you do a combination of covers and original music?
MAREN DAY: In our performance, sometimes we do covers. But for the most part, we try to focus on original music.
CATHY WURZER: It's a lot of work. You both right?
MAREN DAY: Yeah, we do both write, although Morgan does a little more of the writing than I do, I would say.
MORGAN KAVANAGH: I often bring lyrics and sort of like the bones of a song-- like the chords and the melody to Maren, and then from there, it really expands musically. Maren does a lot of arranging. And it feels like that's how the song gets finished.
CATHY WURZER: And I like what I hear. It sounds fantastic. Can I listen to some music that's inspiring you right now? You sent us some songs before the interview, and this is a song called Grace by Kenan Serenbetz. Let's listen to it.
KENAN SERENBETZ: Surrounded by grace.
CATHY WURZER: What do you like about this song, Morgan?
MORGAN KAVANAGH: Yeah. I think my favorite part about this song is the way it captures one moment in a very beautiful and simple way. And I love that about Kenan's writing. The song, if you listen to the whole thing, it's quite short.
And there are only a few words, just really about being in a field. And I think Kenan does such a beautiful job capturing the simplicity and also the beauty of that moment.
CATHY WURZER: Do you hear similarities in this in your in your own music too, Maren?
MAREN DAY: Yeah, for me, Kenan's an inspiration because of his banjo playing. And as a banjo player, I feel like we've both found our own voices that aren't the sort of traditional old time or Bluegrass way of playing banjo. And that's what I really like about this song. And I don't think my style is like Kenan's, but I really appreciate the way he's kind of spent time with honing his own voice with the banjo.
CATHY WURZER: It's beautiful. I'm curious as to where you heard about Kenan. Who turned you on to Kenan?
MORGAN KAVANAGH: Kenan, we actually met-- he's a Minneapolis-based musician and we've gotten to collaborate a little bit with him. And we just met through mutual friends and really loved what he was doing. And so I've gotten to spend some time making music together.
CATHY WURZER: Nice. Nice. Hey, we're going to play something else you're listening to right now. This is World Without Parking Lots and the song is Last Light If I Can Pull It Off.
MAN: Can you imagine painting in the morning, then never going to work? Can you imagine leaving with no warning and never going back to keeping needless secrets.
I only use blacks and whites, dear. I'm still a little scared of all that color. But I bought some blue the other day, start with one--
CATHY WURZER: Maren, what do you like about that song?
MAREN DAY: I love the soothing piano. I'm a piano player kind of first of all. It was my first instrument. And to me, it feels very homey and familiar. And I love the simple piano and how grounding it is throughout this whole song. And this picture he's painting of painting a picture and how he kind of opens the song that way.
CATHY WURZER: And, Morgan, what do you think?
MORGAN KAVANAGH: I love about Ethan's writing, I feel like it's often very conversational, which is beautiful to me, because it's sometimes mundane or mundane-seeming-- sentences or statements. But it's really how we spend so much of our time. And I think it kind of elevates that-- the mundane into something very special and beautiful.
CATHY WURZER: I think you two picked some really excellent musical selections. I want to go back to you, though-- you both-- and what you're doing. How would you describe your style to someone who's never heard you before?
MAREN DAY: We often say that it's it's folk-based because there's a banjo-- I play banjo, Morgan plays guitar. And we harmonize vocally. And so that does have a kind of inherent folk sound to it. Although, I feel like there's a lot of singer-songwriter kind of independence or originality within our sound.
MORGAN KAVANAGH: We both really appreciate like traditional music-- traditional American music and traditional music from other places. And I feel like that's been a big influence for us. But we're also really interested in finding our own way to make songs and to make music.
CATHY WURZER: Well, I appreciate you joining us talking about what's kind of inspiring you right now in what you're doing. If we can, I'd like to play some more music if that's all right. And we want to go out to your track called Mountain. Tell me a little bit about it before we hear it.
MORGAN KAVANAGH: Yeah. I wrote Mountain not that long after we moved to Minnesota. We're from Bellingham, Washington, which I moved around a lot as a kid within Bellingham. And the mountain was this very sort of stabilizing constant. And it's also just sort of thinking about your hometown from a faraway place, and how that gives you such a different perspective on the way you grew up and the place that you're from.
CATHY WURZER: All right, well, Maren Day and Morgan Kavanaugh from Bad Posture Club, thanks for joining us.
MAREN DAY: Thanks for having us.
MORGAN KAVANAGH: Thank you so much.
CATHY WURZER: This is Mountain.
[BOTH SINGING TOGETHER]
- Mountain, you're my childhood bedroom. You look the same as the day that I left you. Same town 20 times over.
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