Indie Music

Good Morning: ‘I find it weird when people say that they’ve had sex to our music. That’s disgusting!’

With their folksy DIY tracks about the minutiae of love and life, Melbourne duo Good Morning is a band that might have stayed one of Australia’s best-kept secrets – were it not for a series of unexpected co-signs.

First there was Tyler, the Creator sharing an early single – the rueful, self-effacing Warned You – to his Instagram story. Then A$AP Rocky sampled one of their tracks in 2018 (“in a truly fucked development”, they called it at the time). Then Warned You went viral on TikTok at the start of the pandemic, soundtracking the angst and anxiety of lockdowns everywhere.

It’s been over a decade since high school friends Stefan Blair and Liam Parsons first started making music as Good Morning. Now they have a swathe of international fans and have moved from the home town that made them underground mainstays. Blair spent the last year in Los Angeles, while Parsons now lives in London – but working together still feels like home.

They only recently began playing with and producing for other artists separately. The experience has been “eye-opening”, says Blair: “I do, a lot of the time, feel more constricted [working with others]. Even just opening that world and realising how hard it can be makes it nice to come back home.”

When we meet, they’re back in Melbourne to promote their seventh album, the appropriately titled Good Morning Seven. Written, recorded and produced at a custom-built studio in Preston, it’s their longest and most ambitious record yet: samples and interpolations abound, from Liz Phair to random dollar-bin records; vocal harmonies, strings and wind instruments add depth and texture.

Unlike past records, the writing for this album resulted in more than 70 songs, 40 of which were recorded before they whittled down to the final 17. “We’re very comfortable with one another, so it’s a lot easier to try new things and experiment and not feel self-conscious,” Parsons says.

The album feels like something of a reset after a mammoth few years. In 2021, Good Morning signed with Polyvinyl, the prestigious indie tastemakers behind Alvvays and American Football. They’ve spent much of the past six months on the road, crisscrossing the US. On this visit to Melbourne, they’ve played just one home town show at a record store – their only Australian gig for the foreseeable future.

While it’s difficult for musicians in Australia to reach big audiences, a small artistic community does come with perks. “I don’t think that we would be touring overseas if we hadn’t received government grants – I chat to my friends in America and none of that exists,” Blair says. “But they have the plus side of a huge population and they can tour as a working-class job over there, which doesn’t really exist here.”

Parsons agrees. “We live overseas now but it’s not for band reasons – the community here, and being a bit isolated, is actually really helpful for creativity,” he says. “Everything in America is like a big competition, and I don’t think that would be beneficial – for me at least.”

Melbourne continues to be an important part of Good Morning’s DNA – they both cite the local dolewave band Dick Diver as an influence. “I went for a run yesterday morning, and I was listening to Dick Diver and smelling the gum trees and crying and screaming along,” says Parsons. That band’s scrappy spirit lives on in Good Morning. “Not taking yourself too seriously, trying to keep some levity and lightness, and not really being focused on being cool or likable or popular – I think that’s a very Melburnian thing and it’s worked out well for us.”

It’s ideas like this that thread through Good Morning Seven, where many songs wonder about the future and what it means to live and sustain a creative life. It might be an existential crisis – or it might just be ageing.

“I’m constantly wondering what next – what happens after I’m not playing music any more?” says Blair, who turns 30 in May. “As I get older, I get more and more unemployable in every other facet of life. What the fuck will I do?”

“It’s a classic thing where your parents are like, ‘Make sure you have a backup plan’,” Parsons says. “I have no backup plan. I’m 30 and I have no employable skills. If this doesn’t work out I’m screwed.

“It’s like waiting for that shoe to drop, being like, ‘This is gonna turn to shit’. Every day that it doesn’t I’m like, ‘Cool, made it.’”

Good Morning’s songs to live by

Each month, we ask our Headline Act to share the songs that have accompanied them through love, life, lust and death.

The best year for music

Liam: 2009. You’ve got My Girls by Animal Collective, Two Weeks by Grizzly Bear, Stillness is the Move by Dirty Projectors, 1901 by Phoenix.

Stefan: That’s crazy good memory to remember all that. I’m gonna go ballpark early 2000s, whenever FutureSex/LoveSounds was coming out; there were probably some pretty hot Nelly Furtado tracks coming out. I could not name you years of songs without looking it up though. 2006 would’ve been My Love, Promiscuous, Say It Right.

The opening credits of my biopic

Stefan: Promiscuous.

Liam: No, that wouldn’t be the opening credits! That would be the end. I don’t know if I can trust you being the music supervisor of my biopic.

The song I wish I didn’t write

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Stefan: I’m gonna say any Good Morning song I wrote pre-Basketball Breakups. You can have any of them, I don’t care.

Liam: You don’t care? I mean, probably same! It’s hard because it pays our bills, but I really, really hate that song Warned You.

Stefan: Not a good song. Lock it in.

Liam: Lock it in!

My go-to karaoke song

Liam: Maggie May by Rod Stewart.

Stefan: Believe by Cher.

The song I can never listen to again

Liam: Warned You.

Stefan: Lock it in!

Liam: It’d really be my own music.

Stefan: I struggle with Hey Jude these days. I really struggle. I don’t think it’s a bad song. I’ve just heard it too many times. A bit rambly.

The classic song that should be stripped of its title

Stefan: Livin‘ on a Prayer. That song sucks!

Liam: My answer would’ve been Summer of ’69, but I heard Summer of ’69 the other day, and I feel like I’ve aged into Summer of ’69. Maybe I’m nostalgic. The older you get, the more you’re like, “Man, those summers really did used to last forever!”

The song I loved as a teenager

Stefan: Alice by Dick Diver.

Liam: That’s the song I cried to yesterday! I was obsessed with All My Friends by LCD Soundsystem. I was annoying about it – about a song that you do not understand as a child. Kind of like Summer of ’69. I probably should’ve shut up about All My Friends. No one needed to hear it.

The best song to have sex to

Stefan: I’m gonna say maybe it’s not a song, maybe it’s a mix. Like an NTS mix. Minimal talking … I don’t wanna be choosing and focusing on music.

Liam: I’ve never really wanted to listen to music; I’ve always wanted to keep it separate … I find it weird when people say that they’ve had sex to our music. I’m like, that’s disgusting!

Stefan: Someone said that to me last week. I remember having a conversation with an old friend when we were talking about listening to records when you have sex, and he was saying he would get up and flip the record. I think that’s psychotic.

  • Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity

  • Good Morning’s album Good Morning Seven is out 22 March

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