Recently we got the chance to interview Adam Cohen. Adam is the lead singer of the band, The Morning Sea. He founded the band which describe their style as Gotham Americana. The band is releasing its sophomore album, Mal De Mer at the Rockwood Music Hall on February 12th!
Check out our interview with Adam Cohen
upfrontNY: How did you get involved in music?
Adam Cohen: I was about 12 when I first picked up a guitar, and I started writing songs shortly after.
When I moved to NYC years back, I started playing open mics and gigging at small spots around town, just getting my music out to whoever was willing to listen. Sometimes that meant playing for a room with 3 people in it. But it also meant getting to meet some great musicians and becoming part of a scene that I think is still very electric and alive, in spite of the sometimes crushing financial burden this city places on people trying to forge an artistic life.
A few years ago, The Morning Sea came together and we put out our first record, and that really started to open up a lot of doors in terms of musical growth and exposure.
upfrontNY: How did your experience at French Woods grow your passion for music?
Adam Cohen: French Woods is an arts-focused summer camp in upstate New York which I went to as a kid. It was this sort of mystical spot where I was able to first start understanding myself as an artist, and where I first started recognizing that music was something I might want to dedicate my energy to. I’ve been very fortunate to have been part of a number of inspiring artistic communities since I was pretty young, and that was one of the earliest. Several now well-known artists were nurtured there. I won’t name-drop though.
upfrontNY: Can you tell us about your new album Mal De Mer?
Adam Cohen: “Mal De Mer” is the culmination of a few years of work. It’s an exciting evolution from where we were as a band when we put out our first album, “Strange Captive”. We’re really proud of the end result and are psyched to finally get it into peoples’ ears.
I suppose I’d describe it as a broken heart record. Each song documents the end of some relationship, which sounds like a major downer, but I think as a whole, the album touches on something deeper than just some broodingly cynical take on the idea of love. Songs about love and broken hearts are a bit cliche. But I think the reason for that is that there’s no more relatable and universal theme. Love and death. These are the things that get our blood pumping as human beings. So this is a record about the ups and downs and devastating complications and inevitable endings that we suffer in love.
Next record maybe we’ll tackle death. The most inevitable ending.
upfrontNY: Do you have a favorite song from the album?
Adam Cohen: That’s a hard one. It’s like asking me to pick a favorite child.
I wrote these songs at different times in my life, and each one carries its particular meanings and associations, for better or worse. I think these songs work really nicely together as a complete piece, and I’ve come to start thinking of them in that way. Though I suppose at different times I’ll start to have an affinity for some songs over others. As I imagine sometimes people do with their children. (Note, I have no children and have no idea if this is true).
At the moment I’m listening to “Alexandra” a lot, which is the first single off the record. It’s a big, burning rocker of a song and people are responding really well to it so far, so I’m feeling good about that one. We made a music video for it which you can check out here:
upfrontNY: The band will be celebrating the release of the album at the Rockwood Music Hall. What is your favorite part about playing in NYC?
Adam Cohen: NYC can be a hard place to live and survive, particularly as an artist, if you’re not willing to work your butt off. And even then it can feel a little thankless. But for someone like me, who lives for playing and watching live music as much as possible, there’s no place like it.
We’ve been really lucky since we formed as a band to play some amazing venues around New York. Places where I had been going for years to see other musicians that I loved were suddenly asking us to come play. That’s a pretty great feeling.
Rockwood is one of my favorite of those places. I’ve been going there for a long time and I think it’s a crucial venue in terms of keeping the independent music scene in New York alive and breathing. So we love to play there and are psyched to be releasing the record there.
upfrontNY: Over this summer the band went on tour in Europe. Do you have an experience from the trip that really stands out in your mind from the tour?
Adam Cohen: The whole tour was a standout experience. Europe was magic. That sounds melodramatic, but it’s true.
One seemingly mundane but actually essential element was the coffee situation in each town. Coffee is very important on the road, in particular when you are running on two hours of sleep, and that two hours of sleep was on an overnight bus, and you haven’t showered in three days, and you have to make it to a gig later that day and look and sound at least mostly alive. You can tell a lot about a society by the size and strength of its coffee.
upfrontNY: What do you want people to know about you and your music?
Adam Cohen: I want people to know that we work really hard on our music and we fucking love making it (can I say fucking on the internet?). And we hope that when people hear it they will feel that love and they’ll love it back. And if they don’t, we’re going to keep making it anyway and hopefully one day they’ll feel the love. We’re very persistent.
Learn More about The Morning Sea!