Keeping things pretty weird with Ashley Morgan

Pictures by Yaqine Hamzaoui

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With two nominations on the latest Red Bull Elektopedia Awards (‘Best Producer’ and ‘Fresh on the Scene’) the artist formerly known as LTGL is back. As his LETGOLETGOLETGO EP is hitting the digital shelves this Friday, the time was right to catch up with this unconventional, yet incredibly talented rapper-producer from Hasselt.

It wasn’t the first time Ashley Morgan was seen at the ceremony. As LTGL, Morgan took home the bronze medal in the Best Producer category on the Red Bull Elektropedia Awards 2015. Everyone expected it wouldn't be long before we heard more about the 21-year-old prodigy. After all, he clearly possessed an unbelievable amount of talent that showcased his love for weird music (in a good way). Unfortunately, that's not what happened. The producer took some much-needed time to reflect. Fast forward to 2019 and Ashley Morgan is back under his given name, ready to show the world the reborn sound he's been crafting. On his brand new EP, we find some meticulously composed beat work that reminds us what Anderson Paak would have sounded like if he was signed to Warp or Brainfeeder. That said, Morgan certainly does not sound like anyone else. In a rare interview, the man talks about his trials and tribulations that made him into what he is today: one of Belgium’s most exciting producer slash rappers out there.

Tell us something more about the upcoming EP. What is it about?

I prefer to just let the music speak for itself, but I guess it kind of covers me reflecting on childhood a bit and coming to terms with the person I became and am still becoming.

You’ve been making music for a long time without releasing it. What made you decide to come out and play now?

Releasing music and being in the public eye can hinder your growth, in my opinion. You need that period of isolation where no one expects anything of you, and you can just focus on developing your craft. I'm thrilled I went back to that when I decided to take a break, but now I’m ready to put music out there again.

Some artists drop as many tracks online as they possibly can. You, on the other hand, seem very careful with what you share with the rest of the world.

Having external success while you’re not too satisfied with your art internally sucks. I want to avoid that at all costs.

I’ll rap while I'm still young. I'll do the jazz shit later on.

What’s the difference between Ashley Morgan (as the artist) and LTGL?

With LTGL I was only making beats, and remixes, but now I’m doing vocals too, I think that's the main difference. With this EP in particular, and in general, I think the music I've been making is a bit more accessible, but don't worry, it'll get pretty weird again soon.

We got to say it was a pleasant surprise to see you rap all of a sudden. Was this an idea you played with for a long time?

Not really. After I decided to leave behind LTGL, my goal was to continue making beats and study jazz. So I did that for a year, hoping to get into a conservatory, I absolutely loved it, but it didn't work out for a bunch of reasons, so I was like ‘fuck it’, I’ll rap while I'm still young. I'll do the jazz shit later on.

Your music sounds incredibly personal. Is the music you’re making now a reflection of your own experience?

Yeah, music is therapy.

What’s your trick to stay inspired?

Spiritual growth.

Which international and Belgian artists do you look up to?

There are too many artists that I like. I couldn’t name them all, so I’ll just name a few. Tyler the Creator, Jon Bap, jpegmafia, Tierra Whack, Smino, Shlohmo, Legove, Trian Kayhatu, Thundercat, CHON, Dillinger Escape Plan, Arca, Hiatus Kaiyote, Jacob Collier... When it comes down to Belgian artists, I’d have to say Pippin and Susobrino, because they inspire me the most, and probably because they’re my best friends, and I love them (laughs). It’s like we speak the same language, I swear I could clap three times, stomp on the floor and bark, and they would still understand what I mean.

We've seen you in the studio with artists like DVTCH NORRIS and Tsar B. Will that lead to new music anytime soon?

Yeah. Over the summer DVTCH recorded a whole bunch of demos at my place, and I did a few things here and there. I think it’s probably going to be out sometime next year and I’m pretty excited about it. Other than that, I also made some music with Tsar B and Martha Da’ro. Collaborating with others is new for me, however.

I’m just following my intuition and seeing where it takes me. The most important thing for me at the moment is personal growth.

What’s your endgame? What are your goals with this project?

I’m just following my intuition and seeing where it takes me. The most important thing for me at the moment is personal growth. I was never the spotlight kind of guy, so I have to grow into that. I fucking hate being in front of the camera’s, but I have to accept myself and grow into it if I want to create the stuff I see in my head. Once I’m comfortable in my own skin, I’ll be free as fuck, and make some good ass classic albums along the way. I want to get better at singing and composing. I just want to be free in all aspects, see the world, create stuff. Eventually, I want to get into teaching music and creativity and have my own academy or something like that.

What’s in the pipeline for the coming months?

Another EP, and some collaborations here and there.