We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Morenz (Emo) and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, what makes you happy? Why?
There are so many things in this life that bring me joy. Let’s start. Of course people! I just love being around people, people that have the same interests as me and people who are the complete opposite of me. I find all people so fascinating and I just get so energized being around others and learning their stories and who they are. Connection just fills me all up inside!
But right at the top would be music. My gosh is music my heart and soul! Specifically, rock ‘n’ roll music. I can be having a terrible day or feeling really sad, and I put on a record, lay on the ground (or dance if I’m already in a giddy mood), and just soak in all the sounds permeating from the speakers. I feel my soul just getting struck with guitar solos, groovy baselines, and booming drums, and it just pumps throughout my entire body and brings me into this state of euphoria. That’s why I dance so crazily when I’m at a concert (or by myself in my room) because that rockin’ energy from the [good] music is flowing through me and kind of takes over and the only way I can release or express it is through movement. It’s then that I just get transported to what feels like a perfect world of bliss as I escape whatever is going on in the real world.
Adventures and adrenaline-filled outdoor activities, especially surfing and skateboarding, also bring me into a similar state of joy. I just love the feeling of going fast, and unfortunately, roller coasters are not accessible on a daily. When you catch that perfect wave, you feel like you’re straight-up flying, and always makes me let out this uncontrollable laughter. And skateboarding makes me just feel so carefree as the wind blows against your face and hair, as long as you don’t hit a pebble and totally eat it….like I have many many times, but it’s always worth it! I also find extreme joy hiking, traveling, road tripping, riding bikes, snowboarding, wakeboarding and boating, exploring the outdoors, swimming, and just all around frolicking. Some of my favorite moments in life have included skydiving, bungee jumping, and cage diving with sharks! I grew up with three very competitive and athletic older brothers, so naturally I became a bit of a tomboy (although I now consider myself a “girly” tomboy) and spent my childhood playing sports and running around outside with my brothers. I still LOVE playing sports even though I’m not particularly amazing at any one, but it always brings me so much fun and joy!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
So I do kind of a lot and keep really busy. I get bored doing one thing so I have to mix myself up in a ton of projects. I recently got a job as the Community & Events Manager at The CAMP in Costa Mesa, which is the coolest and most unique little shopping and restaurant destination that really makes you feel like you’re hanging out in the forest! They are huge on community and togetherness, which is why I’m so proud to be a part of this team! We have a lot of fun stuff coming, including a Spring/Summer series of drive-in concerts that I’m so excited to be putting together!
I also host a weekly radio show on this Costa Mesa/Newport Beach station 101.5 KOCI FM where I play all rare songs from the ’60s and ’70s that I mainly learn from my record collection of about 1,300 records. I’m a ’60s/’70s-aholic when it comes to fashion and music, whether it be soul, psychedelic rock, folk, blues, southern rock, country, garage, or whatever! I also give a ton of history lessons and interview bands and musicians. I’ve interviewed Alice Cooper, David Crosby, Micky Dolenz, Burton Cummings, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Artimus Pyle (just to name a few), and will soon be interviewing Billy Gibbons and a bunch more big ones! Prior to this station, I worked in promotions at LA’s amazing classic rock station 100.3 The Sound, and when they shut down I was so sad. I discovered KOCI at this time over three years ago and met with the manager (one of the first DJ’s at KROQ back in the ’70s!), told him my story, and while I was expecting to just volunteer behind the scenes, he immediately offered me a show! It’s been such a blast! I was a nervous wreck in the beginning and had to script word-for-word everything with a complete playlist ready, but now I completely wing the entire thing on the spot. I learned you just naturally become so comfortable over time and it gets so easy. People love my show because they never would’ve expected this spunky little 27-year-old to be so wise on this music, and it makes for a fun interview when these old rockers are used to speaking with middle-aged male DJs. I also have a Youtube show “Girls In The Groove” with my friend where we review albums, do on-the-scene reporting, and give rock ‘n’ roll history lessons mixed with our goofy personalities, but we took a little break due to the pandemic. We’ll be up and running again soon though! Now that life is starting to come back again, I’m going to really go after vinyl DJing events and gogo dancing for bands, ’60s style!
I believe my purpose in life is to keep old rock alive, while also helping current bands get discovered as well and kind of fuse the generations together. As much as I love the ’60s and ’70s, I NEVER would say that there is no good music anymore. There are SO many amazing current rock ‘n’ roll bands, especially in the local scene, with that same spirit as the older bands. These bands are so talented and deserve worldwide recognition, but unfortunately, the mainstream world is set on a specific and repetitive pop-fueled music formula right now that is taking over. I hope to be able to capture the true essence of rock ‘n’ roll through my work and bring it back into the world to stay forever through modern music too! I want the future generations of kids to listen to these old band and get inspired to learn an instrument and get rockin’ as well so that this genre will keep going and growing. I actually am in the works of another secret project to get local bands in the public eye so stay tuned!
I also recently started a girl band called The Sweet Nuthins, which I’m playing bass for! I feel so giddy even talking about it, it’s already been the best experience of my life. I started learning guitar about twelve years ago and bass about six years ago, but was always so afraid to play in front of people. When I did, I would play terribly because I was so nervous and stiff. Just decided to knock that fear aside and gathered the best group of girls who are so supportive that there is no fear anymore! My original plan was to just start this band totally for fun to improve with some other girls, but wow is the band already so much more than that! Not to mention, the girls are just so hilarious and fun and every practice is such a blast and full of so much uncontrollable laughter. Each of these amazing gals inspires me so much to practice like crazy and to even write songs, which I never thought I’d be able to do. We haven’t released any music yet, but we’re working on a bunch of really fun originals with a groovy ’60s inspired sound that will be sure to get everyone movin’ and groovin’! I am itching so badly to play live! After always being a concert-goer surrounded by so many musicians, it feels so incredible to now be getting ready to be the ones on stage instead of always in the audience!
What I’ve learned through all my endeavors is to seriously believe in yourself and follow your dreams!! As cheesy as it sounds, it’s so true. Don’t let the man bring you down! I used to never even try to reach out to big-name rockstars for interviews because I thought it would be impossible to get them, but once I decided just to try I was astounded by all the legends who wanted to go for it! Robert Plant’s publicist even told me to stay in touch so we can do a future interview!! These things would have never happened had I not just tried it out. I actually got brought up on stage to dance with Paul McCartney two years ago, which was a goal of mine for years. People thought I was so crazy when I told them of my dream, but I kept believing in myself until it happened! That’s how I’ve always tried to live my entire life. Life’s too short to do boring things so go big! The only one who can stop you from doing what you want is you.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well you definitely have to check out The CAMP! The CAMP is the coolest little outdoor center full of small business shops and restaurants that are all so unique with stuff you won’t find in any regular mall. The greenery and little trinkets around the area (including hammocks, bonfire fits, funky trailers) really make it feel like you left home for summer camp in a forest. Everything is eco-conscious and health-focused and the food is so delicious!! Folks at The CAMP has got to be my favorite pizza place in Orange County! Right across the street is my all-time favorite record store Creme Tangerine, which has the most insane selection of vinyl at the fairest prices I’ve ever seen. And it’s run out of a super cute little airstream!
Outside of The CAMP, I would have to take a visiting friend to The Wayfarer to catch the show. There’s live music almost every night of the week and it’s where the best local bands play, and it’s just such a great atmosphere of amazing people. Whenever I have a visiting friend I usually take them to the beach such as Huntington, Newport, or Laguna, but if I feel like driving a little bit further San Onofre is my absolute favorite beach of all time. The surf is spectacular with waves that go on for miles (at least it feels like it). San O is where you catch that classic surf culture vibe where all the friendly people are tailgating, bbqing over a bonfire, longboarding, and just having the best time of their lives. Post-beach I would take them to the Shake Shack (not the chain restaurant), but it’s this adorable yellow shack on a cliff in Crystal Cove that overlooks the entire ocean and is the best spot to watch the sunset while slurping down a peanut butter-oreo milkshake with fries. If it’s summertime, you bet I’m taking them to The OC Fair where we will also probably catch a concert!
I would also take a visitor to The Orange Circle! It’s the old town area in Orange full of tons of antique shops, record stores, and adorable restaurants. It feels like you stepped into a time machine that transported you to the ’50s. As a vintage enthusiast, I find the most amazing pieces here (whether clothing, furniture, records, or any sort of knick-knacks). The Orange Circle is a mid-century dream!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I must give a shout out my all-time inspiration, Rita Wilde!! Rita is a legendary DJ who was a part of KLOS back in their glory days who has met and interviewed EVERY rockstar ever and became friends with them as well. They all love her because she’s just so effortlessly cool! She is the absolute raddest chick and such a natural at everything. She knows everything about rock ‘n’ roll and is a total goofball at the same time. I got to work with her at the LA classic rock station 100.3 The Sound and she basically became my mentor. We had so much fun together and she taught me so much! It was through studying her intensely that I learned what makes a great interview. I would probably have no idea what I was doing if it weren’t for Rita as she is honestly what made me want to pursue DJing, interviewing, and such. My favorite moment at 100.3 The Sound was when she brought me on air to talk about The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album and boy was that a thrill! She also reminded me you can never be too crazy as just like I have followed Paul McCartney around the country, she has followed Bruce Springsteen and U2 around the entire world, so we always related in things like that. I would be so happy if I could accomplish half of the things Rita has!! Thank you Lovely Rita the Wilde Child!
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/therockandrollsweetheart/ https://www.instagram.com/thesweetnuthinsband/
Other: https://www.kociradio.com/emo-s-rock-and-roll-magic-show https://www.thecampsite.com