We chat with Motion City Soundtrack
It’s easy to hear the distant hissing and booing from some music enthusiasts when someone mentions the genre pop-punk, and there are some very valid reasons for this. With its fan base seen as comprising mostly of teenage fangirls, and many pop punk band members adhering to that feminine, eye-shadowed and black skinny jeaned look (see: Pete Wentz), perhaps their negative remarks about the genre are valid.
Regardless of this, there are few bands that both fall into this genre and have remained at the peak of respect within the music scene their entire career, and Motion City Soundtrack are certainly one of them. Acclaimed release after acclaimed release, the quintet know how to keep everyone around them completely satisfied. With their new LP Go finally being released after two years of intense round-the-world touring, bassist Matthew Taylor had something to talk about.
With Motion City Soundtrack gracing our shores over two years ago for 2010′s Soundwave Festival, promoting their release My Dinosaur Life of the same year, Australia is still waiting in hope for a long-awaited appearance. Unfortunately, Taylor wasn’t so sure, “Oh man, I’d love to say we do have an Australian tour to announce, really,” he replies, “but we’re just so busy. I can assure you, though, that there’s something in the works.”
With Go being Motion City Soundtrack’s fifth full-length release, do they believe they’re still heading in the right direction? “Can I be completely honest here?” asks Taylor, “I think it’s the best work we’ve ever done. In my opinion, it kicks the Commit This to Memorie’s and the I am the Movie’s right out of the water. We all really, really love what we made.”
“Go was definitely one that required a team effort too,” reveals the bassist, “we all slowly but surely brought in little ideas we made when were on our lonesome, and then worked together to see what we could do for it. I guess that’s why we’re so sentimental with this album – because it was a team effort. That, and we chose to recruit one of our dear friends to produce it.”
Said ‘dear friend’ is producer Ed Ackerson who helped engineer the band’s previous effort, My Dinosaur Life, two years earlier and whose CV also includes The Jayhawks and Golden Smog, but Taylor remarks that its the consistency of their sound that’s helped as much as the people they’ve worked with. “One of the realities about our music is that we’ve kept all the unique sounds and features our music incorporates throughout our whole career, and that’s something our more hardcore fans realise.” Adding that, “we’ve always treated our moog more as a rhythm instrument than a sound effect producer, and, although Go has a more lighter feel to it, we’ve still kept within our acquired sound.”
As the conversation dives deeper, Taylor mentions that he wasn’t one of the original members. “Yeah, I actually joined back in 2002!”. Collecting his thoughts, he begins to explain his backstory, “I was in a different band with our drummer Tony [Thaxton], and we were on tour with Motion City Soundtrack. They needed a new drummer, so they recruited Tony. Then, around six months later, Tony brought me in as the replacement bassist.”
“I was really excited to join,” recalls Taylor, “because while the guys weren’t completely well known, as we are today, they certainly had something. Before I joined, they had released a few EPs, but that was still after their phase of having a lot longer and harder songs, which everyone should scour the internet for.”
A growing discography for Motion City Soundtrack just means more difficulty in which classics to put in their sets. So which songs are Taylor’s top picks? “Well, we haven’t played our new stuff yet, apart from “True Romance”, so I can’t really comment on those. I know that “Make Out Kids” really gets me going with its odd rhythm. One of the harder ones for me has always been “Last Night”, because I have to follow the kick drum. I don’t know why, it’s just always required me to have a lot of concentration when we play it.”
Finally, with Taylor’s last words for the interview, he explains that though the members are veterans in performing, they do sometimes get nervous before a show. “Yeah, we do get nervous – some more than others. Sometimes Justin [Pierre, frontman] talks really fast on stage, which is really indicative of how nervous he is,” explains Taylor, “whenever I feel nervous, though, I just hide in a corner by myself and listen to music. It works pretty well.”
Go is out now through Warner Bros.