Morning Fuzz are an indie rock band from Long Island, New York and have just released their long-awaited new album Wherever We Go. They first hit the New York music scene in 2009 when frontman Frank Fussa and bassist Chris Johanideesz formed Morning Fuzz out of the ashes of their previous band Ultra High Frequency. Since then, they have gained a reputation as a strong live band and continued to release new music primarily singles. In this time their integrity has never wavered and the idea of a big new album (ever since their 2013 debut Chasing Ghosts) was always on their minds. But it was during the dark days of the pandemic in 2020 and the restrictions that were subsequently placed on their lives that they halted the recording of Wherever We Go. Today, some three years have passed, but it was all worth the wait, as Frank Fussa (vocals and guitar), Chris Johanidesz (Bass), Michael Culler (guitar) and Dan Leonardi (drums) find themselves custodians of a terrific album.
In short, the album feels like a 11 track compilation of what Morning Fuzz do best. From the surging rock of Love to Hate You to the lush instrumentation of Strange Nights, you can’t help but be impressed by their new body of work. If you ask me it stands arguably as the band’s best outing. With that in mind I recently caught up with founding member and band frontman Frank Fussa. Here is some of what we talked about.
Wherever We Go serves as your new album. What is the biggest progression since 2013’s Chasing Ghosts?
A lot has changed since Chasing Ghosts. I would say after a long drag of drummer changes, exclusively releasing singles and some stagnate periods, the biggest progression was Dan joining the band on Drums. He was the missing piece we longed for. Our chemistry clicked right away and we set out to write and record this record.
How have you generally gone integrating the new material with the old stuff?
As we were writing new songs, we would slip them into our set list with the older songs in our live show to see what worked and didn’t work so we can tweak them. By the time we released “Wherever We Go”, we probably have already been playing more than half of the songs live already.
Frank, when you first joined Morning Fuzz, how did your time in previous bands prepare you for what has come?
It wasn’t much different. Chris and I were in a band together for a long time before this so right when that ended, we started Morning Fuzz. We already have recorded and released records and have been touring for years so we tried to take that experience into the new band.
You and the guys have been together for some ten years now. Is there ever any conflict in the band?
Thankfully no. We have been close friends for so long that we are family. I think the best way to go about things is being open and upfront right away. This way you work out what issues there may be and no resentment builds up in the future.
What sort of pressure did you feel as you entered the studio to record Wherever We Go?
We didn’t have much pressure going in to the studio besides trying to get as much done everyday as we could to utilize the time. We did a lot of pre production on the songs and recorded demos in advanced. We made sure we had all of our parts and everything ready to go before heading into the studio to start recording.
I recently commented on Twitter how much I loved the band’s guitars and melodies. You and Michael Cullari (and co) form an incredible guitar tandem. How do you find the perfect balance?
We just try to make sure that we are not stepping on each other or any other instruments going on. There’s also a lot of vocals and harmonies going on. So we stay in our lanes until there’s open space to maybe put a little lick here and there while the other guitar part compliments it or keeps it full with chords and stuff.
Also our guitar tones blend pretty well together.
How would you say you approach the guitar, say compared to Michael?
I approach the guitar mostly with songwriting and singing in mind unless I’m coming up with a guitar line or solo.
Mike approaches it more with a picky and driving guitar riff style which makes for great melodies and layers especially during versus and chorus’s.
Don’t Wait Up is such a cool song? How did it come together?
Thank you. Those short simple songs are always the best haha That chorus popped up in my head one day and I started playing around with the chords and the verse melody just came out. When we started working on it at band rehearsal, the song just came together fast and very naturally. That song is only 4 chords so the dynamics were important.
What’s the most personal song on the new album for you?
That’s hard to pick because they all are. I would prob say the most personal one is Give Me Electric or Last Night, Today’s Dust.
Can you tell us a little more about arguably my favourite track from the new album called Strange Nights?
I bought this new acoustic guitar and when I got home I literally took it out of the box and just started playing that opening riff. It came out of excitement. After we recorded the first demo, the vibe brought out some nostalgic emotions that made its way into the lyrics.
What inspired the look of the Vigo music video?
We wanted to do just a simple performance video with cool lights and stuff. The look started to take on a space vibe. When we sent the footage to our friend Joe Carella who does all of our music videos, he worked his magic and captured all of that.
Finally, I have to ask what’s the story behind the album title?
The album title was taken from the last line in the bridge of Vigo “we don’t run and we don’t hide Wherever We Go”.
We don’t know what the future holds, what tough times may be lying ahead, or where we are going. We have to try to be in the moment, not take anything for granted and stay strong Wherever We Go…
Wherever We Go is out now via Bandcamp and Apple Music. Listen on Soundcloud and Spotify. Watch on You Tube. For more information on Morning Fuzz including tour dates check out their website. Follow on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.
Great interview, Robert. Long Island, N.Y., is about a 2-hour drive from my house in central N.J. When I first came to the U.S. in 1993, I went to grad school for 2 years on Long Island and still remember that area pretty well! Anyway, while reading your interview, I was listening to the first few tracks of Morning Fuzz’s new album. I like what I’ve heard thus far!