Morella & The Wheels Of If
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Morella & The Wheels Of If

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | INDIE

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Gothic

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May
25
Morella & The Wheels Of If @ One Eyed Jacks

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

May
19
Morella & The Wheels Of If @ Tunes From The Tombs

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

May
13
Morella & The Wheels Of If @ Yuki Izakaya

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

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Morella and the Wheels of If have released their debut album, Shipwrecked. You can download a free mp3 of a live version of “Wandering” from the album at the band’s Web site now.
And Lil Wayne was released from prison yesterday. According to People, he plans to hit the ground partying. There are strong rumors that [...]

- Off Beat


Morella & The Wheels Of If

http://www.morellamusic.com/

Old World Music For A Modern Time

The band Morella & the Wheels of If is a New Orleans band formed just two years ago and has quickly gained recognition for their haunting yet beautiful style of music along with providing their audiences with an amazing stage show. Recently I had an opportunity to interview the members of the band for Dieselpunks.


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"Morella & the Wheels of If" is certainly an unusual name. Could you help us understand how you came up with it and its meaning?

LaLa, Aeryk & Anastacia: We had two names in mind for the band- Morella or The Wheels Of If. We couldn't choose just one so we decided to combine them. Morella is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe that we all enjoy very much about immortality and magic. The Wheels Of If is a story by L Sprague de Camp about an idea of parallel universes and having different identities within one mind and trying to keep them connected with a reality of the main characters choosing. Thus you have Morella & The Wheels Of If our band which we feel is the idea that music can create a type of immortality and endless possibilities within our own realm of reality.

Would you be so kind as to introduce us to the members of Morella & the Wheels of If?

All of Us: Aeryk Laws is the composer/piano player and he is really the brain behind the band. He's been playing music since he was 5 starting with piano and then guitar and now he goes back and forth between the two in Morella and his other heavier bands. He also creates music for film & theater. We find that having someone who is classically trained on an instrument really benefits the band as a whole.

LaLa Laws - Is the younger sibling of Aeryk. She spends most of her time in dreamland so we let her write the words to the songs and she sings too. Guess you can think of her as the heart of the band.

Anastacia Ternasky - Has a real pretty face but it spends lots of its time behind the camera because she does most of our photography and then she sings real fancy. She is the spirit of our band.

Edward Payne - He likes to make stuff so he joined the band because he made his own drums out of a suitcase and we liked that a lot. He's a self-taught musician and he would be the funny bone of the band.


(Above photos by Anastacia)Your press kit describes your music as "Old-World Music for a Modern Time." That's a rather intriguing and a cryptic statement. Could you help us better understand your style of music?

Aeryk: We were born in the prohibition days of private absinthe soiree's & eclectic theater performances.

LaLa: We like it when people listen to our music and come to their own understanding.

Anastacia: Listen! Listen! Listen! Hooray!

There's something eerie and haunting yet also elegant about your songs. You've been compared to bands such as Rasputina and the Dresden Dolls. Where does Morella & the Wheels of If draw its inspiration from?

LaLa: We get inspiration from life and other artists. I often write lyrics about people for example, Vincent van Gogh, Marie Antoinette, and Bonnie Parker. Some of my other lyrics are about ideas like death, time, and love.

Aeryk & Anastacia: Romantics of all era!

There's a mix of neo-Victorian and Gothic style to your promotional images and web site. Would you label yourself as a steampunk band?

Aeryk: We don't really want to identify with just one idea but encompass many of them. We want to approach each song as a unique musical adventure, crossing boundaries of many different genres.

LaLa: It goes back to the name of our band and not wanting to be limited. But others can label us in their minds if they wish. We certainly share steampunk themes and thoughts.

Some bands, such as Abney Park and Vernian Process, for philosophical reasons make their own merchandise or choose independent labels and artists. Do you share their philosophical preference for independent rather than corporate producers?

Aeryk: Right now everything about us is handmade and we like it that way. We enjoy creating not only the music but the visual counterparts as well. For example Anastacia & LaLa handmade the bookmarks and we all made the thaumatropes and flipbooks. We like to create merchandise from the days of old that isn't always easily available anymore so we have to make them ourselves.

LaLa & Anastacia: The forgotten toys!



(Photo by louviere+vanessa)

Morella & the Wheels of If have a reputation for providing a fantastic show for your audience. Could you tell our readers what they might expect when they get to see you in concert?

LaLa & Anastacia: We have a theatrical background so there is often costumes, flowers, dancing, small props and interaction with our lovely fans. If a projection screen is available we make films to go along with our songs often with the help of our animator fr - Dieselpunks


The band manages to mix their influences and talents and come up with a gothic take on 19th century music-hall music that would be a welcome part of any repertoire for a haunted circus or macabre cabaret.

Edward Payne's suitcase drum kit is so restrained it often seems to *hint* at percussion, it keeps the music moving but leaves plenty of room for the rest of the music.
The focus is really on the piano playing of Aeryk Laws. His keyboard work is up front in each piece on "Shipwwrecked", the keys even sound a bit more sharply produced than the other elements found here.

The twin vocals of Anastacia Ternasky and Laura Laws are so entwined that it is frequently hard to tell how many women are singing. The end result is lovely, and yes, haunting.

The only issue I have with this set of songs is that the vocals seemly slightly too buried for my tastes. I want to reach over and turn up the vocals on each song... just a hair.

That being said this is a swell debut and I particularly love the tracks "Ghost Waltz", "Bird in a Guilded Cage" and I'm a sucker for the harpsichord on "Carnival Ride".

Recommended.

- Sepiachord


Zum Auftakt ein paar Worte über das neue Album „Shipwrecked“ und die Songs darauf…

LaLa: Shipwrecked war der erste Song, für den ich den Text geschrieben habe, und Aeryk hat dann dazu die Musik komponiert. Aeryk komponiert schon seit vielen Jahren Lieder für Klavier, also habe ich mir nach diesem ersten Song die Lieder angehört, die er bereits fertiggestellt hatte und dann angefangen, einfach Texte zu schreiben, die dazu passten. Wir sind alle fasziniert von Erzählungen über Künstler und historische Personen wie Vincent van Gogh, Marie Antoinette, Edgar Allan Poe, Bonnie & Clyde, usw.. Wir schreiben auch Songs über unsere eigenen Erfahrungen aus dem Leben in der dunklen und geheimnisvollen Stadt New Orleans: Gedanken und Ideen wie Tod, Träume und Liebe.

Woher stammt der kuriose Bandname „Morella and the Wheels of If“, und wessen Idee war er?

Anastacia: Unsere Band begann ursprünglich als Trio (Edward an den Drums ist etwas später dazugestoßen). Alle drei schrieben wir mögliche Namen auf, die uns gefielen und strichen die Liste dann auf zwei Namen zusammen. „Morella“ ist eine Geschichte von Edgar Allan Poe, in der es um Unsterblichkeit und Magie geht, und „The Wheels of If“ (dt. „Die Räder der Zeit“) eine Geschichte von L. Sprague de Camp über Zeitreisen und unendliche Möglichkeiten. Wir fanden, dass die beiden Ideen in der Kombination unsere Vorstellungen über unsere Musik einfingen. Musik kann ewig weiterleben und besitzt eine Art Unsterblichkeit, und es gibt unendliche Möglichkeiten, was man im kreativen Reich der Musik machen kann. Musik ist wie ein Zeitstempel. Ob du noch hier bist oder nicht, die Musik lebt hoffentlich weiter. Da ist unser Bandname!

„Old World Music for a Modern Time“ heißt es auf eurer Website. Darüber hinaus – wie würdet ihr jemandem, der sie nicht kennt, eure Musik beschreiben?

Anastacia: Wir ermutigen die Leute meist dazu, sich unsere Musik einfach anzuhören, weil es uns sehr schwer fällt, uns auf eine Beschreibung festzulegen. Manchmal werden Worte wie „Steampunk“ oder „neo-viktorianisch“ verwendet, um unsere Musik zu beschreiben. Hier ist ein kleiner Schnipsel aus einer Beschreibung, die uns gefällt: „Klavier-getriebene Koffer-Drum Grundrhythmen und zwei ätherische weibliche Stimmen im Vordergrund versetzen dich in eine längst vergangene Ära. Morella erfüllen Theatralik mit weiblichem Gesang und erschaffen so eine absintherfüllte Traumwelt.“

Beschreibt bitte einmal den typischen Ablauf Eures kreativen Prozesses von der ersten Idee bis zum fertigen Song.

Aeryk: Die Inspiration ziehen wir aus unserer Umwelt, von Künstlerkollegen, aus Träumen, Wein etc., und das ist dann der zündende Funke für eine Idee oder die Empfängnis eines Stückes. Seine Geburt kann entweder zuerst durch den Text oder auch die Musik eingeleitet werden. Dann werden allmählich weitere Elemente wie Harmonie und Percussion hinzugefügt. Normalerweise machen wir eine sehr grobe Demo-Aufnahme von dem Song während der Ideenphase, dann basteln wir monatelang daran herum, bis wir so zufrieden damit sind, dass wir ihn ordentlich aufnehmen. Das Stück entwickelt sich aber kontinuierlich weiter, auch nachdem wir eine endgültige Fassung auf Tonträger gebannt haben.

Welche Künstler (Musiker und andere) würdet Ihr als Eure wichtigsten Einflüsse betrachten?

Alle Künstler beeinflussen uns. Wichtigste Einflüsse…

Aeryk: Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, Mozart, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Acid Bath

LaLa: Meine Bandkollegen beeinflussen mich mit der Kunst, die sie außerhalb von Morella erschaffen. Ich liebe Musicals, weil sie für mich alles haben: Kostüme, Musik, Tanz und Schauspiel. Wenn wir auftreten, gestalten Anastacia und ich die Show bevorzugt sehr theatralisch, und manchmal bringen wir professionelle Tänzerinnen mit, was mich in die Zeit zurückversetzt, in der ich mir Musicals anschaute. Einige meiner Lieblingsmusicals sind Fiddler on the Roof, Dancer in the Dark, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Wizard of Oz und Der Blaue Engel. Wir haben sogar kürzlich einen Song geschrieben, der von Der Blaue Engel inspiriert ist.

Anastacia: Ich liebe Songs aus den 50er-Jahren von Künstlern wie Sam Cooke, The Shirelles, Peggy Lee, Buddy Holly etc.. Ich mache auch die Photographie für die Band und lasse mich von Photographen wie Julia Margaret Cameron, Bellocq und Jerry Uelsman inspirieren, um nur einige zu nennen. Außerdem sind meine Träume für mich eine wichtige Quelle der Inspiration. Viele Bilder und Ideen fallen mir ein während ich schlafe!

Edward: The Roots, Beastie Boys, John Bonham, Charlie Watts von den Stones, Trommler beim Mardi Gras und anderen Paraden und Polka!

Gibt es auch aktuelle Bands oder Projekte, die Euer Werk beeinflussen oder Künstler, mit denen Ihr gerne einmal gemeinsam auftreten würdet?

LaLa:Künstler aus unserer Region, mit denen wir sehr gerne auftretet sind Rock City Morgue, Ratty Scurvics und die Tsunami Dancers. Wir sind auf den gleichen Festivals wie Rasputina und Versaille - Clockworker


“Morella” ist eine Kurzgeschichte von Edgar Allan Poe, in der eine junge Frau durch schwarze Magie ihre Seele unsterblich werden lässt, während ihr Körper langsam verfällt. Bei der Geburt ihres Kindes stirbt sie, aber ihre Seele geht auf ihr Kind über…

Deutlich weniger düster ist die Musik der amerikanischen Band “Morellla & The Wheels of If“, wenngleich auch sie von einem Hauch Tragik umspielt wird. Im Oktober erscheint ihr Debutalbum “Shipwrecked” und der Clockworker hatte Gelegenheit schon vorher das Album zu hören.
“Old World Music for a Modern Time.” so beschreibt die Band selber ihre Musik, die Cabaret mit Klassik und anderen Musikformen verbindet. Stets im Vordergrund ist dabei der Gesang von Laura Laws zusammen mit Anastacia Ternasky, sowie die verspielten Piano-Passagen von Aeryk Laws, Lauras Bruder. Verstärkt wird die Band von Edward Payne am selbst gebauten Schlagzeug. Wovon sich der Clockworker leider noch kein persönliches Bild machen konnte, sind ihre live Qualitäten. Glaubt man aber der Presse, sind ihre Auftritte eine besondere Mischung aus Theater, Tanz und Musik, wobei der Ausschank von Absinth an das Publikum die Atmosphäre sicherlich noch steigert.

Viele Bands geben sich selber den Stempel “Steampunk” oder “Neo-Victorian”, aber selten sind sie dabei so “steam-viktorianisch” und kreativ wie Morella & The Wheels of If. Die Stimmen der beiden Sängerinnen entführen den Hörer in vergangene Zeiten und erzählen Teils tragische Geschichten, ganz wie Edgar Allan Poe. Dabei sind nicht alle Songs leicht eingängig und sie entfalten erst beim wiederholten Hören ihren Zauber, um dann um so mehr im Ohr zu bleiben. Wer ein ruhiges, aber wundervolles Album passend zum Herbst sucht, sollte in Shipwrecked reinhören.
Die CD kann schon vor Veröffentlichung auf der Webseite der Band angehört werden.

- Clockworker


Morella & the Wheels of If defies genre
classification—and they like it that way.
Founded by siblings Laura Laws (vocals
and lyrical writer) and Aeryk Laws (musical
composer, piano and vocals), with Anastacia Ternasky (vocals)
and Edward Payne (percussion), Morella sweeps you away with
their dreams of oblivion. Combining a musical aesthetic that
sounds like it could be from the turn of the 20th Century with a
modern-day sensibility, Morella is sometimes called “cabaret,”
but even that broad term feels too reductionist to truly describe
the experience of Morella. ANTIGRAVITY sat down with the
members of Morella & the Wheels of If to talk about theatre,
time-traveling, absinthe and even a little Rod Stewart.
ANTIGRAVITY: We first met at one of your
theatrical productions. I recognized some of the
music on your new debut album, Shipwrecked,
from that and other theatrical shows you have
produced. Is all the music on the album from your
theatrical shows?
Laura Laws: No, we used some music from our shows,
but not all of the songs are from shows. For us, the music
comes first. The theatrical shows come after the music;
they are inspired by the music. And even when we are
just performing as a band, our shows are very theatrical.
The album is just our band, it’s our album. Just ours.
Aeryk Laws: We’ve been together two and a half
years but this is our first album so some of these songs
we’ve been playing quite a long time. We were doing
so many theatre productions but theatre is kind of like
a one-off—you see the show and that’s it—but the
music can stand alone; it doesn’t have to be just part
of a theatre show.
You are compared to Rasputina, Dresden Dolls,
Portishead, Tori Amos, and Chopin. I can hear all
of those artists and bands in your music but you
are also nothing like them. Are there any artists or
bands to which you compare Morella?
LL: We really have that problem when people ask, as
we don’t really sound like anyone else.
Anastacia Ternasky: We always tell people: you have
to just come to a show, then you will see.
AL: We are open to many interpretations.
What inspires you, both musically and lyrically?
LL: A short story by Edgar Allan Poe provides half
of our band name, Morella. I have many different
inspirations such as Vincent van Gogh and Marie
Antoinette. Sometimes the lyrics to a song will
come just from a feeling within me. “Dirty Water”
is something like a Katrina song, the feeling of not
having a home. Aeryk’s music also inspires my lyrics.
AL: I like to approach every song as its own piece. The
band doesn’t have to be one specific genre; each song
can be its own genre. When I was growing up I really
liked concept albums or albums with stories. I listened
to a lot of classical music but also rock, like Iron Maiden.
What’s the other half of your name?
LL: It’s another book, a sci-fi story. Morella is about
immortality and magic--
AL: --The Wheels of If is about endless possibilities, it’s a story
about time travel. Music is like a time stamp: whether you are
here or not, hopefully the music lives on.
Why did you choose Shipwrecked as the title of the album?
LL: It’s the first song we ever wrote together. We always
assumed when we made our first album we would call it
Shipwrecked.
AL: It’s also kind of how we felt after Katrina.
.
You’ve done a couple theatrical shows about absinthe and
you even had absinthe available to everyone during one
show. It’s also listed on your website as an influence. In
a way, your music really feels like absinthe, like you are
floating away but it is also a little frightening. Like you
are at a carnival but it’s a really scary carnival. You don’t
know what will happen to you.
AL: The songs can feel dream-induced. Some of our first
shows were at private absinthe soirees. A lot of the artists at
the turn of the century that I liked drank a lot of absinthe. The
band was also sponsored by an absinthe company for a little
while. And we will have samples again at the CD release party.
For me, playing piano and having absinthe around was a very
good thing.
The piano on the album sounds very distinctive, “oldtimey,”
as you describe it. What kind of piano are you
playing on the recording?
AL: I played on an acoustic piano at the Music Shed and on
a keyboard at my house. We recorded in our building, the
Morella manor. I recorded on the keyboard itself then I took
the files created to the Music Shed and played it back on an
instrument that is like a grand piano with a player piano built in
so I could work on the placement and how I wanted it to sound.
It was kind of strange to be in the studio, listening to the piano
play back into the studio I was recording in. It’s expensive to
record with everyone with the acoustic piano in the studio at
the same time because you can’t make mistakes or do as many
takes. You have to have lots of isolation, especially with the
drums.
Ed Payne: The pian - Anti-Gravity Magazine


"One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul and yet no one ever came to sit by it. Passers-by see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way. " - Vincent Van Gogh
PUNK GLOBE: I understand you come from New Orleans, Louisiana, the heart of Dixie, blues and jazz music. How did you get together as a band?
LAURA: My brother Aeryk was performing solo piano at various parlor parties around New Orleans and he wanted to me to sing for his piano pieces. He asked me to collaborate on lyrics and melodies to enhance the parlor piano experience, but I'd only agree if Anastacia, my long-time friend, would sing along too. Anastacia had already performed theater songs previously with Aeryk and that had worked out just splendidly, so a pact was made. With the new addition of vocals, Morella acquired a name, songs with lyrics, and we started playing numerous parlor parties and art shows. That was where Morella began to develop a unique parlor sound. Then upon being booked at bars and bigger venues, we came to realize that the larger crowds required larger volume; we needed some percussion to expand our dynamic range. So we asked our friend Edward to join the band. He constructed his own suitcase drumkit that works great for our old-world aesthetic and has a unique and original tone too.
PUNK GLOBE: In your own words, how would you describe your music? Did any particular bands or artists inspire your sound?
LAURA: We have a dark cabaret sound enhanced with a theatrical performance. I think each one of us brings different musical additions to the band based on our personal influences. For example, Aeryk was classically trained on piano and grew up listening to Chopin, Liszt, Gottschalk and many performers from the Classical, Romantic era; but by his teens he was playing heavy metal/rock guitar in clubs and listening to anything from Acid Bath to Slayer, etc. So we feel this is one reason that his piano sound is so unique. He combines melancholy romantic melodies with the furious pounding passion of rock n roll. Edward loves nursery rhymes, calypso, English 60’s rock and we feel he definitely brings humor to our dark band and fun beats. Anastacia and I are both influenced by alot of 50’s singers like Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and The Shirelles. I've also sung country; I grew up listening to my Mamaw (southern for grandma) belt out the best of Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and many of country’s greats. We all have a wide array of many influences that blend together very well in our colorful New Orleans world.
PUNK GLOBE: One of the songs that really got my attention was "Vincent," your witty and morbid homage to the deceased Impressionist painter. How did that come about?
LAURA: Vincent was actually one of the only songs written by all of us simultaneously. Aeryk usually composes the piano and melody, then I write the lyrics then the rest of the band comes together to arrange the final song. Vincent is a song we all wrote together, in the same room, at the same time; and it hasn’t changed much since thatinitial expression. It was a quick and fun process. We were inspired to write the song after watching Lust for Life, a wonderful movie about Vincent Van Gogh. We were all discussing his artwork and his demons and just decided to quickly write the song Vincent. The song was born very naturally, hopefully akin to some of Vincent’s own aspiring strokes. At our shows we have a Van Gogh ear and doll that we dance with as we sing the song. Even though it’s disheartening that Van Gogh didn’t get recognition until he was dead, we try to have fun with the song while still paying him his proper respect.
PUNK GLOBE: Tell us about the vibes you felt during last Sunday's Circle Bar show with the By and By String Band, if you can?
LAURA: It’s funny that you mention our last show, because it was very different from most other shows we’ve ever played. We decided to join forces with a Hard Rock band called the Sons of Payne/ formerly the Hands of Nero (an Aeryk and Eddie side project). Our reasoning was that the Saints were going to win the championship that night & subsequently going to the Super Bowl, which would create a HUGE eruption in our city. We needed a little more amplification than our norm to compete with rabid, yelling Saint’s fans. The rock Morella/Payne show was tons of fun. There was so much excitement all around us. We were all happy to play together on what is considered a historical day in New Orleans. Lots of Who Dats were chanted after every song we played. Anastacia and I even did a bit of head-banging that evening!
PUNK GLOBE: Hey! Is it true that fans who attend your shows get free glasses of absinthe?
LAURA: Yes! At most of our shows we do give out a taste of Absinthe and demonstrate the preparation of it on stage. Like many of the surreal artists before us, we too like to partake in the inspiration of the green muse. We do a bit of Absinthe education in the process & have fun - Punk Globe


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and it’s the Victorian era that Morella and the Wheels of If have chosen as inspiration for their unique brand of music. Operating more as performance art, Morella infuses theatrics with female-fronted vocals to produce an absinthe induced, and I mean that quite literally, dream world.
Morella and the Wheels of If was formed by siblings Aeryk Laws (piano, vocals) and Laura Laws (writer, vocals). Although both have worked independently in various areas of the arts, this project marks the first joint venture the two have embarked on since childhood.
“We both grew up outside of Chicago and moved to Florida for our high school years, and then she moved to New York and I moved to New Orleans,” Aeryk recalled. “ Before I moved here, I had come to visit with one of my band members [in a past project], and we had an excellent time.
“I loved everything about the city,” he continued. “The architecture and the aesthetic. There’s so much culture and music that I hadn’t ever heard or been involved with. There were famous musicians just playing at a corner bar, and I loved that. When I got back home, I decided I wanted to move, so I just sold everything I owned and got on a train and just figured it out from there.”
Laura would eventually share her brother’s enthusiasm for New Orleans, too.
“One semester while in college, Laura came here for a summer and fell in love with the city,” Aeryk explained. “After she finished her degree, she decided to move here and we slowly started to work on theatre projects together.
“I always wanted my sister to be in a band with me, but she never felt comfortable with the idea.”
Laura, who had always expressed her creative talent through the silent medium of writing, eventually found comfort when mutual friend Anastacia Ternasky began contributing her vocals, as well as her photography skills, to the project.
“It started as a trio,” Aeryk said. “Once Anastacia started singing along with [my piano compositions], Laura wanted to sing, too. Our first show was in August 2007 at a private parlor gig in Las Vegas.
“My cousin does events for casinos and she puts together parties a lot,” Aeryk said about that first show in Vegas. “Since she was a relative it wasn’t that intimidating for our first gig and it was a good way to get our feet wet. You couldn’t ask for a better situation.”
The first show was only piano with accompanying vocals. The performance aspect of the show would grow over time and would eventually expand to include percussion by Edward “Wool” Payne.
“Our first shows here in New Orleans were private parties and that really helped us get the act together,” Aeryk explained. “Then we started playing for bigger crowds, and we started to add more amplification. That’s when we thought it would be a great idea to add drums.
“Eddie came up with the idea to play a suit case drum kit, which really fits with what we’re doing aesthetically because it had a vintage look and sound to it,” he added.
Constantly adding layers to the performance is how Morella has continued to expand their Victorian-era concept into a fully interactive show complete with absinthe.
“We do things like give out flowers and toys that work along with the music,” Aeryk said when describing the interactive nature of their shows. “For example, we have this song called ‘Ship Wrecked,’ and we have sea creatures and ships that we give out.”
Bringing absinthe into the show was something Aeryk had considered from the very beginning of the project.
“I was working on a documentary with a professor friend of mine, and he was trying to recreate the original absinthe formula,” Aeryk recalled when discussing when his fascination with absinthe began. “The documentary never ended up being completed, but one of the first things we did [for Morella] was an absinthe piece for a play that was based on a 1913 movie. We then started using absinthe in our videos, ads, and performances and so we got sponsorship with them.”
The sponsorship from Lucid Absinthe has given Morella the opportunity to provide free samples of the once-illegal beverage at their shows. The purpose is to further propel the Victorian fantasy world into the minds of the audience.
“The reason I like the Victorian era so much is because I like the days when people would get together and gather around the piano,” Aeryk said. “I like for people to really feel a part of the show and that we’re all there together.”
Morella will spend the remainder of the year completing their first full-length album, which will be titled Ship Wrecked. They will also perform a piece set to the title track from the upcoming album in the Fringe Festival, which will be held this year November 11-15.
“We were in the Fringe Festival [last year] and we did a piece about the 19th century World’s Fair,” Aeryk said when explaining how the grou - Where Y'at


May 15

8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., May 15-16

Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St., 528-3800; www.cacno.org

Tsunami Dance's Dreams of Oblivion is a multimedia show incorporating film and live music by Morella and the Wheels of If. The show features new choreography by Kettye Voltz, Erin Healan, John Allen and Jeffrey Gunshol. Tickets $18 general admission, $15 students/seniors, $12 CAC members - Gambit


Last night I got a sneak peak at a new collaboration between New Orleans' own Tsunami Dance Company and self-proclaimed "haunting cabaret, underwater noir" band, Morella & The Wheels Of If. They will be performing their modern dance production/Gothic-romantic concert tonight and tomorrow night at the CAC.

The show is called "Dreams of Oblivion," and the plot, according to the press release, focuses on "immortals, humans and the power of touch," and reveals, "darker themes of desire, destruction, destiny, delirium and death as the tale unfolds."

The dancers, wearing either red and black lace or romantic, airy, blue costumes, perform to songs sung by Morella & The Wheels Of If, who are decked in tall top hats and beautiful Victorian dresses that reminded me of Trashy Diva. In between each dance is a short film sequence made by local artists Louviere, Vanessa and Denny Juge.

In spite of the fact that I only saw the dress rehearsal, the entire performance was dreamy and other-worldly. As I sat and tried to piece together each character's progression and purpose, I was transported into a world where love was stealable, death was reversible and desire had the power to ruin everything.

Click here to see the NewOrleans.Com gallery of the performance! - www.neworleans.com


The multimedia performance consists of about a half-dozen movements, punctuated by short films anywhere from 30 seconds to three minutes long. The dances are set to live, melancholy music performed by the local band Morella & the Wheels of If.

"Dreams of Oblivion" is a milestone for Tsunami, as it's the company's first full-length narrative ballet conceived since Hurricane Katrina, Voltz said. Formed in 2002 by Voltz and artistic co-director Erin Healan, who were both recent Tulane University graduates, the company has had a light performance schedule, putting on eight concerts in seven years.

In November, Tsunami collaborated with Morella & the Wheels of If for a piece for the New Orleans Fringe Theater Festival. It would be the inspiration for "Dreams of Oblivion." - Times-Picayune


Both piano and projector will be put to good use in Garden by Morella and the Wheels of If, whose haunting flourishes serve as musical narration to Tsunami's danced plotting of two young lovers at a 19th-century World's Fair.

"Fantastical cabaret is what we're billing it as," says Morella's Laura Laws, who previously collaborated with Tsunami at DramaRama in April. "It's like [a beer garden], but it's an absinthe garden. We wanted people to feel like they're entering the garden, and we're sort of like the performers there. Our songs are what take each piece from one (scene) to the next." She says the group plans to provide absinthe to audience members to complete the hallucinatory effect. - Gambit


Discography

Shipwrecked-Debut album available October 2010
"Vincent"-WTUL Songs from the Basement, Vol.8-Compilation
Morella EP-One Week Demo

Photos

Bio

"...Dramatic, gothic tales of madness and intrigue set to carnival waltzes all fueled by operatic female vocals and great piano playing"
-Offbeat

"Their haunting flourishes serve as musical narration to a 19th-century World's Fair"
- Gambit Weekly

"..eerily sweet voices of the two female lead singers would harmonize and give me goosebumps."
- neworleans.com

"Morella takes on Victorian dream with an absinthe twist."
- Where Y'at

Old-World Music for a Modern Time! A fantastical cabaret style band formed in a New Orleans parlor by siblings Aeryk Laws pianist/ composer/singer & Laura Laws writer/singer. Morella is fronted by two female vocalists and backed by piano and drums. Along with the music the band is known for their unique theatrical stage shows and costumes.

During a Morella show the audience will on occasion enjoy a taste of free Lucid Absinthe prepared for them on stage, dancing, flowers, and even a look at Vincent van Gogh’s lost ear. Influenced by a time when a bit of romance lingered in the air; Morella hand makes art that otherwise might be forgotten in our modern times like flip books, thaumatropes, & bookmarks. Morella often projects original films, video, and photography that they have created to harmonize with the music.

Wide Age Demographic of Morella Listeners-15-65+

Debut album Shipwrecked released October 2010.

Toured Ireland, Scotland & England August 2011
Toured Southeast-TN, NC, OH, GA Summer 2011

Radio Play:
Clockwork Cabaret www.wcomfm.org
Womens Radio www.womensradio.com
WTUL 91.5 www.wtulneworleans.com
Rukus Radio http://rukusradio.ning.com/
Live on WWOZ www.wwoz.org/

Films with original Morella & The Wheels Of If songs:
The Carousel’s Marvelous Gears by Dorian Carlos Sensi
The Somnambulist by Rachel Grissom

Festivals Morella performed at:
Tunes from the Tombs/GA www.oaklandcemetery.com/tunes.html
Dances Of Vice/NY, NY www.dancesofvice.com
Land Of Nod Festival/MI www.landofnodexperiment.com
Fringe Festival/LA www.nofringe.org
Pirates Festival/LA www.piratefestivals.com
New Orleans Witches Ball/LA www.neworleanswitchesball.com
Cutting Edge Music Festival/LA www.cuttingedgemusicbusiness.com

Local Locations Morella plays:
One Eyed Jacks, Hi-Ho Lounge, Circle Bar, Vaughans Lounge, Mimis in the Marigny, Yuki, All-Ways Lounge, Big-Top, Poets Art Gallery

Discography:
Shipwrecked-Debut album released October 2010
"Vincent"-WTUL Songs from the Basement, Vol.8-Compilation
Morella EP-One Week Demo

Sponsored by Lucid Absinthe