Since March 2014, And The Echo–a synth-pop duo out of Oxford consisting of Morgan Pennington and Winn McElroy–has been churning out visionary, imaginative works of art. Now the group is getting ready to release its second album “Album II” this Valentine’s Day.
“Album II” is a simple name for such a complex album. From the moment it begins with the ethereal-sounding “The Blind Ones” all the way to its resounding end track, “Alien,” it’s obvious And The Echo has perfected its sound and is ready to make a name for itself. Reminiscent of artists like Purity Ring and Phantogram, And The Echo stays true to the beauty of synth-pop while bringing its own intricate and unique talents to the table. It’s a dreamy and dazzling experience in every aspect. “Album II” will probably make its way into people’s spring break and summer 2017 playlists.
I had the opportunity to sit down and ask the And The Echo members a few questions about their new album before their release show at Proud Larry’s with Bl@ck Ste(a)l and Pi$tol Whip on the night of Valentine’s Day.
The DM: What would you say was the main inspiration behind the new album? What drove you to get started and complete it?
Morgan: I think one of the main inspirations for this album was just to showcase progress and growth. This album was a product of us saying, “Let’s really sit down and write.” This album and these songs came at a time when we were ready to show how far we have come musically, stylistically, vocally, etc. We are really proud of these songs.
Winn: We definitely took a more minimalist approach to the new material. Some of the songs inevitably ran a high track count by the end, but we wanted to make sure to not clutter the songs with superfluous or redundant sounds or parts.
DM: And The Echo has come a long way in the few years that you have been together. Has it blown your expectations out of the water or are there still some goals in mind you haven’t reached yet?
Morgan: It has absolutely blown my expectations out of the water. If you would have told me a few years ago that I was going to be in a synth-pop band, I would have laughed in your face! I can’t believe we have put out two albums now and that I get to play music for people and they like it. As for goals, I think we both are the kind of people who will never be satisfied with just reaching for one goal. When we achieve one, we already have another on our horizon.
DM: Are there any tracks in particular that you consider your favorites?
Morgan: I think my favorite on this album is called “Breathe.” It came about literally 24 hours before our deadline. I love the groove of it.
Winn: “Breathe” is my favorite also. However, “I Am” is a close second.
DM: How has being a part of And The Echo and the music scene around Oxford helped shape you as a person?
Winn: I think for me, personally, it’s been interesting to see the evolution of the Oxford music scene over the years. Stylistically, things change, but the passion that the musicians and artist have in this community is mind-blowing. It keeps us humble and encourages us to work harder.
DM: Looking back now, what would be some advice that you wish you had received as an up-and-coming artist in Mississippi?
Morgan: To be honest, I think the main piece of advice is to “love what you are doing.” You have to really want it. You have to love your craft. There will be long days, sleepless nights, tears, anxiety, pressure and weeks of eating ramen noodles. You have to love the beautiful work you are doing to put up with some of the ugly that will try to stop you from doing it.
Winn: Work hard and don’t compare your art to anyone else’s. Stick to your guns and gut instinct. Just because you’re doing something different, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a niche to be filled.
DM: What can we expect from And The Echo in the future, especially after getting this new album under your belt(s)?
Winn: Touring is a top priority. We’ll hit the studio again at the end of the summer, and you can expect another album in the fall.
Album “II” was released Valentines day, and you can find it on Spotify, iTunes or And The Echo’s website.