Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Loudini Interviews Morty Shallman

Known for his innovative mash-ups of pop music and pulp fiction, Morty Shallman has been writing and performing original songs since the age of 12, and wrote his first novella, To Exist with the Night while still in high school. Morty is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Chicago, where he studied creative writing with renowned novelist Richard Stern.

After successful stints as lead singer and songwriter for quasi-fictional power pop antihero, Andrew Ashbury, and Chicago alt-rockers, Minds of Babes, Morty moved to Los Angeles, where he has released three solo albums, created the world's first Novel with Songs, Last of the Zacharys, and performed at clubs from LA to the UK.

Love’s Oblivion, A Novel in Twelve Pop Songs – 2002

Morty’s first exploration of the nexus of music and literature resulted in his first solo album, Love’s Oblivion, A Novel in Twelve Pop Songs. Not your typical “boy meets lesbian, boy loses lesbian” tale, Morty’s unique “pop novel” is a tragicomic roller coaster ride of lust, obsession, betrayal and regret, told in a series of twelve melodic and hook-filled song “chapters.”

"I've always taken a strong narrative approach to my songwriting," says Shallman. “Treating each song as a chapter in a larger story, with characters, a plot, and emotional twists and turns, is simply the next logical progression in my work. After all, we've had rock operas and concept albums for years. Why not a pop novel?"

Noted pop music author and critic, Gary Pig Gold, called Love’s Oblivion “a fabulous find,” praising Morty’s “spiraling vocals” and “bright-sparkling arrangements,” and stating: “Love’s Oblivion reads as one gripping, thoughtful song cycle, but one which never ever sacrifices the Love and Lust for the Literal. So, listen. Learn. Read On, everybody.”

Morty supported the release of Love’s Oblivion with shows in Los Angeles, New York, and the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool, England, birthplace of The Beatles.

Last of the Zacharys, a Novel with Songs – 2010

Catcher in the Rye meets The Beatles in Morty’s follow up to Love’s Oblivion, Last of the Zacharys, the World’s FIRST “novel with songs.” Nearly eight years in the making, Last of the Zacharys is an ambitious multi-media epic, featuring a 130,000-word literary novel and 44 original songs that are featured in the narrative.

With a hyper-descriptive and often humorous prose style that evokes authors from David Foster Wallace to William Faulkner, and songs that run the gamut from soulful acoustic to crunchy power pop, to dynamic alt-rock mini-symphonies, Last of the Zacharys tells the tragi-comic tale of Jay Allen Zachary, a young singer-songwriter with a troubled past who will do anything to make it in the music business, even if it means "he" must become a "she." 

Originally released as a standard eBook, with links to stream the songs off the web, Morty is currently in negotiations with several publishers to release Last of the Zacharys 2.0 -- an enhanced eBook, with songs, videos and original artwork embedded into a single downloadable file.

HALO – EP – 2013

After the rigors of creating a 400-page literary novel and four albums worth of original songs for Last of the Zacharys, Morty decided to return to – and expand on – his love of “all things pop” for his next solo project, an EP called HALO.

Fusing elements of Disco, 80’s dance pop, indie pop, alt-rock and EDM, with soaring melodies, intelligent lyrics and classic pop song craft, the HALO - EP was recorded entirely in Morty’s bedroom studio, with Morty playing, singing and producing and recording every note.

To help launch HALO, Shallman teamed up with a rising star on the LA indie film scene, Director/Actress/Dancer Elizabeth Brissenden, aka Machete Bang Bang. Together, Morty and Machete created a fresh yet retro music video for the HALO’s eponymous lead single.

Filmed at infamous celebrity hangout Bootsy Bellows in West Hollywood, The Halo video is a shout out to the glory days of 80s MTV music videos. While Morty and his band of three beautiful Elvis Girls perform onstage at the club’s mythical Open Mic Night, bombshell roller girl, HALO glides into the club with her fiercely beautiful posse, and steals the heart of a nerdy bar back. The sight of HALO sends the nerd into a romantic daydream, transforming him into a Saturday Night Fever-ish stud, who sweeps HALO off her feet before moving in for a sensuous kiss.

The HALO video was released on YouTube on May 23, 2013, received nearly 300,000 views on its initial release, and was followed up by a sold out video release show at the world famous Roxy Theater on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood.

New Music – 2017

After writing, performing and producing every note on HALO, Morty decided to shake things up for his next project, and has teamed up with two of LA’s top producer/songwriters, Jeff Blue and Steve Dresser, whom he met via the music industry website, Music X-Ray. Blue, who is best known for discovering rap/rock legends, Linkin Park, was impressed with Morty’s vocal and songwriting abilities, and offered to work with him on new material. Together, Shallman, Blue and Dresser co-wrote and co-produced two tracks from Morty’s upcoming EP, including the lead single, She’s Breaking Bad, which is set for an early 2017 release.

She’s Breaking Bad is a bracing blend of 80s-inspired synthpop and modern electropop, which sets the scene for a classic neo-noir mini-movie, whose flawed anti-hero is willingly led astray by a gorgeous femme-fatale, with larceny – and perhaps even murder – on her mind.

In addition to writing, producing and performing his own music, Morty has collaborated with a variety of songwriters, DJs and Producers, and co-wrote former Nickelodeon TV Star, Drake Bell’s hit song, Highway to Nowhere. The song was featured on The Drake and Josh Show, Zoey 101, Bell’s first solo CD, Telegraph, and on several top-selling Nickelodeon/BMG soundtrack compilations.

Morty, currently lives in Valley Village, CA with his dog Primo, and continues his work as a singer, songwriter, producer and novelist. 

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