Morgan Page in his studio, which is powered completely by solar energy (Rafael Orellana/Living Out Loud LA)
Morgan Page spends countless hours in the studio of his L.A. home, an entirely solar-powered house in the hills, working on his music. Because he has a new album scheduled for release in October, an organized mess – made up of keyboards, synthesizers and guitars (both electric and acoustic) — is littered throughout his studio and around his desk, the way shiny gold cymbals of a drum kit surround Neil Peart before a Rush concert.
In a world where seemingly anyone with a half-baked idea can release music and achieve some notoriety, Page is a strict subscriber to Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000-Hour Rule,” which calls for 10,000 hours of practice in order to achieve success in a specific field.
“I think it takes that long to master something,” says the two-time Grammy-nominated progressive house DJ, remixer and producer. “That’s about three hours a day, for less than 10 years. Everybody who has had any significant amount of success in something has done that. I started [deejaying] when I was 12, and I’m not a quick learner. It’s taken me a long time.”
Originally from Vermont, 33-year-old Page came to Los Angeles in the early 2000s determined to make a career out of becoming a DJ.
“Everyone is out here hustling and trying to make it in their industry, for the most part,” he says. “I remember people saying, ‘Oh, you’ll hate L.A. Everyone’s so fake.’ You know, all the cliché things [laughs]. But nobody really understands the big picture.”
There is perhaps no genre in music more symbiotic with hard-partying than Electronic Dance Music. EDM is used in movies and television shows as the simplest and most efficient way to segue into a college party scene, something Page admits has fueled much of the hype over the genre.
“Electronic music was overdue to break through,” he says. “There had been these multiple waves where electronic music was getting big and didn’t break through, and the difference [this time] was social media and college kids accepting it … you’d never picture frat boys buying tickets to go to a rave. A lot of the shows I do, fraternities will buy up half the tickets and are supporting the shows.”
But despite the party nature of EDM, Page remains locked in on perfecting his craft and rarely has time for hobbies or leisure activities. Inconspicuous by nature, his approach and his persona seem to be at odds with the criteria that make up a cookie-cutter EDM DJ. He goes running or hiking when he has the time, but he is more focused on the “rabbit hole” that is EDM – something that makes for long work hours and little or no time for much else.
“In the studio, I really try to achieve music that gives you goosebumps or takes you to some sort of mental state,” he says. “It’s hard to re-do that kind of thing. All the songs on the new album, I want them to create an emotional reaction [from the listener]. If it doesn’t create that emotional reaction, then what’s the point of doing it?”
“I love fusing folk and house music together, and adding a little bit of indie,” says Page. “On this record, there are a lot of guitars, there’s a lot of piano. I think it’s cool to bring in those elements because there’s so much music that is good these days, but it sounds too similar. I want this to be distinct, something that stands out from the pack.”
Another significant difference between Page and the rest of the pack is that he is known for his environmental consciousness.
“I don’t consider myself an environmentalist, but there are really practical solutions that are available, like solar panels. If you live in California with this [weather], you might as well do it,” he tells. “It’s not like we’re saving the whales here, but you might as well use what you have available and not waste things.”
Besides having a green home, Page is the proud driver of a black Tesla Model S.
“I’ve e-mailed some other DJs, ‘I’d like to get you involved with Tesla,’ but Deadmau5 has his Ferrari, Calvin Harris has a Rolls Royce Phantom, Wolfgang Gartner’s got his Maserati. I think Kaskade has a muscle car,” he lists. “Everybody’s got their own thing, their owne nice car now, but very few have gone the electric route.”
Page seems to be tethered to pragmatism and possesses a tireless work ethic, a consistent approach that seems unchanged since his college days in the Northeast. It is no coincidence that someone with the simple, head-on approach to his craft became an environmentalist, not for political or ideological reasons, but because he objectively sees the longterm benefits of keeping the planet clean.
His big-picture outlook and forward thinking also make him a credible source on where EDM will be in the near and distant future.
“It’s going to keep growing more and more, especially as kids graduate from college, as they don’t want to go to festivals anymore. [The EDM scene will shift] to the clubbing scene, and they’re going to have to build more clubs or cater more to those kids, so you’re going to see a bump there. It’s really interesting to see what will happen. I mean, I would’ve never predicted that this music would be on daytime radio.”
Time and various circumstances will dictate whether Page’s prediction is accurate. But considering the approach he takes with his endeavors, it is difficult not to believe him.
For more information, visit morgan-page.com.