Exclusive Interview: Motion City Soundtrack - Counteract | Music News & Reviews From BirminghamCounteract | Music News & Reviews From Birmingham | Counteract is the best place for local music news, reviews and interviews from the heart of Birmingham.
With 5 albums spanning over the space of a decade, Motion City Soundtrack have come far from their 2002 debut I Am The Movie which is still considered to be one of the most pivotal albums in the pop-punk scene, laced with teenage angst, emotive lyricism and Moog synthesizers, their debut provided a welcome change of scenery for the genre. With time the band has only evolved and progressed on their sound, the biggest change being at the release of My Dinosaur Life on their first major record label, Columbia Records, where the band leant more towards the sound of 90s alternative rock bands like Pavement and The Jesus Lizard, but still held on to the pop aesthetic that the had become well known for.
When asked what direction they wanted to go into after My Dinosaur Life, Pierre jokingly replied “Up”. The band’s fifth effort, Go, carried on that tradition of uplifting melodies alongside infectious chorus’ but the melancholic juxtaposition of frontman Justin Pierre’s lyricism concerning life and death really felt like the band had found new ground to cover and it was easily a much more morose effort. The shift in tone, frontman Justin Pierre said, was “necessary” as “for four records, I had just been writing around variations on a theme and this was an attempt to get outside of myself and become a bit more universal”.
Despite My Dinosaur Life being the bands most successful album depending on who you ask, troubles with their previous record label not funding them enough money really set the band back and led to a collaboration with their previous record label Epitaph coming in conjunction with the bands own labeled Boombox Generation. Speaking on life after the dissolution of their contract, the band went the DIY route and began directing and releasing their own music videos with a previous history of directing music videos for bands like Limbeck as well as having a hand in writing and starring in their own humourous music videos. The one take video for ‘A Life Less Ordinary’ took an extensive 18 takes before the band had settled on a final product slightly before their curfew was about to begin, on that experience Pierre stated “that was the first time we took things into our own hands so we did that video and then the next thing we did was that we made a record on our own with our own money”.
After this short stint in the UK, the band will embark on an extensive 6 week tour across America with up and coming pop rock act Jukebox the Ghost and current tour mates Now, Now before jetting off to Australia to perform in the eclectic travelling festival Soundwave alongside Metallica which Pierre is looking forward to as he “never got the chance to see Metallica as a kid”.
Joshua Cain isn’t known so much for his production work with bands, some of you may recall the hit song ‘Shake It’ by Metro Station that was released a few years ago that went viral due to its contagiously energetic chorus and soon became a staple in the Top 40. Well he was behind the wheel for that song and produced that as well as fellow Minneapolis band Sing It Loud. Recently, he is more interested in making music with “good bands that want to make great records” and was working alongside I Was Totally Destroying That on their most recent record ‘Vexations’. On future projects, he tipped that “There’s a band called Farewell Fighter from Nashville we made a few songs together but i’m not sure if they’re looking to make an album or are looking for a record label first”.
As for fans of Pierre’s 90s alternative influenced side-project Farewell Continental, which leans heavily towards the sound of early Pavement, it looks like we won’t be seeing a new album or a UK tour for a while due to financial constraints. “We’re just going to be a band that makes music when we have time and money to do so and we’ll just put it out, we’re not going to the conquer the world unless we get really lucky.”
About George Gadd
Will listen to just about anything but personal favourites are Brand New, Bright Eyes, Japandroids, Frightened Rabbit, Alkaline Trio, The Front Bottoms, Manchester Orchestra, Foals, The Replacements, Queens of the Stone Age, Miles Davis, The Gaslight Anthem and Bruce Springsteen just to name a few.