Just to put the minds of Morgan Heritage fans everywhere in Europe at ease, with all different members of the Morgan family pursuing solo projects at the moment, does Morgan Heritage still exist?
Peter Morgan: "(laughs) Yeah man, Morgan Heritage is fully intact! There's nothing wrong and we're still hanging out together as before. The band has definitely not broken up, so we can dispel all these rumours once and for all. As you jut mentioned, we're all doing solo projects at the moment, just having a bit of fun with the music and trying some things we wouldn't necessarily be able to try as Morgan Heritage, because we wouldn't want to jeopardise the integrity of the group. We're all lovers of different types of music and we're exploring that in these different projects. I have to add that we're still performing the odd gig as Morgan Heritage, but we're being very selective in what offers we accept. Right now we prefer to go and play in places where we haven't been before. For the past ten years we've been touring Europe and the United States almost nonstop, so it was definitely time for a break."
When did you first start contemplating this idea of doing solo projects?
Peter Morgan: "That really came about after we'd finished the 'Mission In Progress' album (VP Records, 2008, red.). In a sense what we're doing now, even though it is as solo artists, is still part of that bigger mission we were talking about there."
All members of Morgan Heritage are siblings, now when you decided to form the band all these years ago how did you work out who was going to do what?
Peter Morgan: "Everyone kind of gravitated to whatever instrument they felt closest to; Gramps was already playing the keyboard since he was still a child and I always wanted to sing, although I liked playing the guitar as well. I'm not the greatest guitar player in the world - that's why I don't play it on stage - but I use it to write songs."
You guys have all moved back to Jamaica a while ago now. What exactly drew you to St. Thomas?
Peter Morgan: "Our father had been living in America for over thirty years and when he decided to move back to Jamaica a friend of his told him about Bath fountain in St. Thomas. He decided to visit the place and immediately fell in love with the location. My parents are originally from Spanish Town and Clarendon."
Let's return to your music for just a moment. At one stage you guys started referring to your music as "Rockaz", a sound that came about after doing some kind of punk tour I believe?
Gramps Morgan: "I'm happy to hear you did your homework! The whole Rockaz sound came about in 2001 when we were part of the Vans Warped Tour with bands like NOFX, Bad Religion and Good Charlotte, which were basically all punk bands, we felt we had to give our music a little extra something. Rockaz is just basic roots reggae music with a rock edge."
Is punk also the kind of music you would listen to yourselves?
Gramps Morgan: "Some of it, yeah. Both Peter and I are big fans of Green Day. We're musicians, so we don't stick to just one genre of music, but listen to everything from r&b, reggae and gospel all the way to punk and rock music. We grew up in America and were influenced by what we heard on the radio."
In Morgan Heritage there's already a whole range of voices present, but still you don't seem to shy away from using Auto-Tune.
Peter Morgan: "Well we never use it to improve our voices or to hide away our imperfections; we see it more as an added effect to be used in the same way as you would use reverb or delay. It's just a flavour we use to spice our music and to keep our music appealing for the younger generations as well. These guys have grown up listening to artists like Mavado or Aidonia and we want them to listen to Morgan Heritage as well. Our aim is to keep the age demographic of people listening to our music as broad as possible."
We already talked about you guys doing solo projects, but the only member who doesn't seem to be going down that road is Lukes. What has he been up to?
Peter Morgan: "Lukes is more of a business man and as the guitar player of the band he doesn't sing, so Gramps has been gently pushing him into doing a kind of Carlos Santana type of album. Apart from that he handles a lot of the day to day business of Morgan Heritage and that keeps him quite occupied."
Before embarking on the Morgan Heritage adventure, did you guys ever consider another career path?
Gramps Morgan: "I used to play football in high school and Lukes has always been good with numbers, so he might as well have been an accountant, Una went to law school but dropped out before she finished her last year when things with Morgan Heritage started taking off. Music is our true calling, but we all have many different talents."
Undoubtedly the biggest anthem coming from Morgan Heritage has been 'Don't Haffi Dread'. How do you look back on that song now so many years later?
Peter Morgan: "Every song we do grows from year to year and often becomes more and more embedded in the hearts of the people. Rastafari is a heartical conception; there are many Rastafarians out there that don't have dreadlocks because the jobs they do to survive don't allow them to grow them, but Rastafari is not about growing dreadlocks or smoking ganja or even eating ital food, it's a spiritual calling. God will judge us not by our outward appearance but by what's in our heart! I believe that's the prime reason why 'Don't Haffi Dread' keeps on growing in popularity. People who don't have dreadlocks might feel afraid to speak out and say they are Rasta and 'Don't Haffi Dread' has given them the confidence they were looking for to do so. I guess that song was a spiritual message that Jah wanted I&I to spread through the means of music. We can only be thankful that Jah has chosen us to deliver a message like that to uplift humanity mentally, physically and spiritually."
The Morgan clan already sprouted two bands, Morgan Heritage and LMS. Would you encourage or discourage your own children to follow the path of music?
Peter Morgan: "The music business is a rough business you know and it definitely isn't what it used to be, but the new generation seems to know how to make the system work for them, so if my children would choose to pursue a career in music, of course I will support them. At the same time I have to add, that it's not something I would push them into either. Music has to be a calling."