Interview w/ Overly Polite Tornadoes
Overly Polite Tornadoes is a husband and wife dream pop duo from Kalamazoo featuring Mark Andrew Morris and Holly Klutts-Morris. They have been releasing music and playing shows in Kalamazoo and elsewhere for 8 years now under the name, however both are members of ‘Glowfriends’ and ‘Tambourina’ with projects dating back to the late ‘90s. All three bands frequently played Kalamashoegazer, an annual dreampop and shoegaze festival that ran for 13 installments, with the most recent being in 2019.
In October, Overly Polite Tornadoes released their fourth project, i will hold you someday. I had the opportunity to talk with Mark about the band and their new album.
So, first, about the new OPT album. This being the first album released under the name since 2019, was the process of making the album particularly long, or was there a break between the last album and when production of this recent album began?
We were originally working towards releasing a new record in 2020, but when Covid hit we put everything on hold. When it started to become apparent that we weren't going anywhere anytime soon, I decided to allow myself the freedom to just record songs as we wrote them (without giving any thought to whether or not they would become part of an album). Having an outlet during this time was super helpful, so we just kept writing and recording and it was really cathartic. Towards the end of 2021, we decided we were ready to listen back to all of the songs we had been recording. From that point on it was just a matter of figuring out which songs belonged together.
I saw that the new album was released through Jam Records, as seems to be the case with the rest of the OPT discography. Can you talk about the relationship between OPT and Jam Records?
My Dad has been releasing his own music on Jam Records since the 1980s and he helped me get my start with Glowfriends, which began as a recording project with my Sister, April. This record is a joint release through our label (Memory as Music) and Jam Records, which has been super helpful in getting our music out there during a time when more new music is being released than ever before.
According to rateyourmusic.com, Glowfriends formed in 1996. Is this true? Is Glowfriends still active? Are there any
other bands or projects adjacent to OPT and Glowfriends?
I began writing songs in the basement of my parents house in 1996 with my older Sister, April. We recorded an
album called 'Glad To Be Here' which was released in 2000, and we started to get a full band together around 2003. Glowfriends officially disbanded in 2014, but eventually the remaining members of Glowfriends started a new project called Tambourina. Tambourina is a four-piece Dream Pop band, and we released our first full length
record in 2021. My sister, April and her husband Adam Zimont also have an acoustic, ethereal project in the works
called Vida Eterna.
Can you explain what Kalamashoegazer is? Are you involved at all in the event or do you just perform?
Kalamashoegazer is an annual Shoegaze and Dream Pop music festival that started back in 2007. I have had different levels of involvement in booking the fest over the years (contacts, designing posters, ect), but April is the visionary making it happen year after year. The festival hasn't happened since 2019, but we are hoping to return it
to being an annual event in 2023.
With a new album, a music video and a few shows under your belt for the year, it seems that OPT is as prolific as ever. Are there any concrete plans or goals for future shows or music?
My brother (Peter Morris) and I made the 'Porch Ligh't video together and we are hoping to collaborate on another music video in the coming months. Peter also has a couple bands (Cardboard Highway & Alarm Set PM) and he is planning to release a new Alarm Set PM album very soon. We are always writing and recording new songs and we are looking forward to releasing more music and playing more shows with Overly Polite Tornadoes, as well as Tambourina in 2023.
I will hold you someday is available on streaming and on CD and vinyl through the Overly Polite Tornadoes bandcamp page.