As Donawa, local drummer Patrick Morris taps more into what makes him tick as a songwriter | Photo by Margot Keen

Local drummer Patrick Morris — one half of bluesy garage soul duo Mobros — has debuted his solo project Donawa with the first single “Everyday (Waiting)”  May 31. The style of the song departs from the rock-driven sound of Mobros into a rhythmic, ethereal cadence of dreamy simplicity. 

Over the pandemic, Morris started recording on his iPhone to develop a handful of songs he’s had for years. “It’s crazy what you can do with your phone these days and the GarageBand app,” Morris said.

“At first I wasn’t sure what to expect with these songs, and I wondered what they would turn out to be,” he said. “It gave me this fire. I wanted to branch out as much as possible.”

Morris had the demo finished and took it to Corey Campbell of Babe Club to arrange and engineer the single in his home studio. The process was a new world for Morris, who in addition to the drums, played acoustic guitar and a vintage Yamaha keyboard (which is technically a toy). Campbell is on bass and acoustic guitar for the track.

“Sometimes the studio can be unnerving. It can be a head game. It’s relaxing to be at home and not too much pressure,” he said of his sessions with Campbell. 

Morris wrote “Everyday (Waiting)” about two years ago. The song is a melancholy examination of the fight to remain present without getting lost in the past or the future. “We are always letting go and reaching out for things, whatever that is, physical or spiritual. Sometimes there’s frustration for the future and what’s to come, and a little bit of wanting to get unstuck,” he said. The outro is a lyrical collaboration between Morris and Campbell that zeros in on the question of where things will end up as the next step reveals itself.

“Charleston is like a well-kept secret in a lot of ways for music. It really is an organic place to work on music and develop your craft. Like-minds are drawn together. You can find such creative people that are open to collaborate. That’s what makes the scene strong.”

For Morris, it’s about finding the propulsion to stay creative. Now that he’s embraced the songs he’s been sitting on for years, he’s ready for more. On the heels of finishing “Everyday(Waiting),” he worked with Jake Cochran of alt folk-rock duo Illiterate Light on some of the other demos in Nashville. There’s a strong possibility they will do a full album together in the future. 

Over the past year, he’s brought structure to his songwriting process by practicing what’s called “morning pages” — an exercise from Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. “I write three pages of stream of consciousness, and it gets all the extra words out. You can start finding something that is a little more interesting,” he said. 

Since the pandemic, he’s been challenging himself to write every day. “Part of the process is chipping away at the block until you can find the piece in there. I used to think about it too technically. If you can get past yourself when writing, you can really start releasing.” 

While you’re waiting for more tunes from Donawa, check out Mobros’ new compilation album, The Mobros, put out by Los Angeles-based company Artist Formula.

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