Morningwood's conception is a thing of Manhattan legend: a veteran musician, Pedro Yanowitz, strikes up a conversation with a spitfire 22-year-old, female, film student, Chantal Claret, at a four-in-the-morning, insider cocktail party at the iconic Dakota Building on Central Park West. By the party's end, Pedro had talked Chantal into becoming his partner—musically speaking.
"It's why you live in a city like New York" says Yanowitz, "—the possibility that a life-changing encounter could be at the next intersection, or subway stop, or cocktail party."
"We came up with the name Morningwood on our first phone call," recounts Claret, "before we made a note of music together."
The formula clicked and the duo began gaining a reputation around the city as incredible live performers. Soon, Morningwood's buzz built and led them to Capitol Records.
"Our debut on Capitol," Yanowitz hesitates, "…it didn't reach its potential. And after that album, our backs were against the ropes going into a second effort."
"We wrote this album with no idea if it would even get picked up and put out there," says Claret.
"The initial writing was so stressful for the both of us," explains Yanowitz, "Chantal had just moved out to Los Angeles and the entire music industry was in such turmoil that bands were just throwing in the towel left and right."
So Morningwood did what couples trying to salvage their relationship do. "We did couples therapy," says Claret. "We realized that we clash on a personal level because we are total opposites, but that is exactly what makes our creative
sparks ignite in the music."
And their creative relationship flourished, focused by the necessity to complete an entire song within a one or two day window each time they got together—Yanowitz traveling from New York or Chantal from Los Angeles.
Whereas Morningwood's 2006 self-titled debut could be described as straight-ahead rock, Diamonds and Studs lifts the sonic textures of their signature pop-rock sound and wraps them over a new, beat-driven backbone. "We love the energy of rock music," says Claret, "but our artistic influences are so broad and we let them all meld together on this record." Yanowitz adds: "this album is made to make you move. The title [Diamonds and Studs] is perfect—the vocal melodies are polished in this pop-sparkle but the guitars just snarl!"
The album title is a fitting analogy for the band itself: Claret and Yanowitz mixing their personalities of tough and sweet, hard and soft, to create a musical fusion—like the name Morningwood itself—that is sure to please both the devil and angel that exist inside everyone.
Their lead single, "Best of Me," has garnered such heat that VH1 is featuring Morningwood as the VH1 you oughta know artist beginning in October. Claret says of the VH1 endorsement: "It's an incredible opportunity for exposure. TV really is the new radio and is probably my favorite form of interaction—second to film, of course."
Morningwood is no stranger to the small screen. "Best of Me" was already the theme song for the VH1 reality show "Daisy of Love," and songs from their self-titled debut were featured across the medium, from Mercury car commercials to Payless Shoes television spots, as well as video games like Burnout Revenge and Thrillville. The silver screen has also featured Morningwood, their song "New York Girls" appeared in Sex and the City: the Movie and "Nu Rock" in The Comebacks.