PropertyOfZack Interview : : Motion City Soundtrack

by Zack Zarrillo - Jun 7, 2012

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Motion City Soundtrack stopped by Drexel University for their Making Moves Showcase a few weeks ago. PropertyOfZack had the chance to interview Justin Pierre before the show to discuss the Making Moves project, working and producing with other bands, their new 7” compared to Go, the process for making their new album, Epitaph Records, and much more. Check it all out below!

You guys have been very busy as of late between finishing the new record, announcing the new record, and doing some European shows. This Making Moves project was something that was announced at the beginning of the year, but when did you actually start putting the concept together?
I think it was sometime in late 2011 that we started actually putting it together. I think Jesse was approached by Terry. I think initially that it was going to be for something else, and then we got involved and it became this bigger thing. I feel like it was the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012 when we actually started recording. Josh and I worked on four projects including ours so it all kind of blurs together. I think I spent about three weeks in this little lovely neighborhood. Yeah sometime between 2011 and 2012. 

We know that each of you guys were in the studio with all of the other bands. Was that a nice way to switch things up?
Yeah it was fun. It was a lot of work. I don’t know how much I loved doing that. I think in theory I like it a lot, but then I actually get in there and the fact that you’re responsible for the whole thing is what I don’t like about it. I like writing songs and being one of the people that plays and records. But I don’t know that I like being the producer as much. Especially since I’m very… I like my ideas. I think a good producer is somebody who lets them be what they are and focuses their attention. 

This idea was unique and everyone always loves projects with their favorite bands. This was announced before your new record as well. Was it just a nice thing to do?
Yeah. When we started writing our record, we weren’t on label. We had come up with a name for a label, The Boombox Generation. It was like, “Ok, we have a name. Now we can use it.” We didn’t really put anything together until we did the split with Trampled By Turtles. That was the first thing we put our name on. Then when this thing came out we thought, “Oh. We can totally use that!” Then we just started doing more things. Our actual album is coming out on Epitaph and Boombox Generation. I think it was just the perfect time. Because we had already recorded the record and had nothing going on. It just fit really nicely into our schedules. We thought that the handful of people that dig our band will by default at least probably check out these bands and decide whether or not they like them. Each of us likes something about each of these bands. That’s why we chose them. I feel like it’s a very eclectic mix, you know? Between all of the different projects on there. 

You’re also part of The Company We Keep and that’s one of the 7”s. Was it nice to work with Brian?
Yeah. We’ve been kind of working together for the last two years. And by working together, he just writes these really cool songs on his computer and then sends them to me and I write words and melodies and record them really crappy, and then send them back to him. It took us two years to find the right person to sing. Then finally, when we found Amy, it made sense and we were like, “Oh, let’s do ‘this’!” So I sort of snuck them into this project. And I’m really a member… I just write with the band. I’ve played one show and I did not perform very well. I have too much to remember with this band as it is. So I’m going to blame that for a shoddy performance. 

Obviously Brian wants it to be a band. Do you think you’ll just keep writing?
Yeah. I’m far behind. I’ve been focusing on our new record, but I’m supposed to be writing lyrics for some of their other songs. We have eight to ten songs written for a full length. So as far as The Company We Keep goes, the plan is to make a full length record. Whether or not we’re going to pay for it ourselves or try to find somebody to give us some money. I have no idea what the plan is, I just wait until Brian sends me an email. Because he’s sort of the… well he is the originator of the project. 

With the Motion City 7”, we know you guys recorded the album over the summer and the 7” will come after it. The first song we heard from the album was a bit poppier. Is the 7” the same theme musically?
Well, we had one song that we thought was the single that was super poppy and catchy, of the 7”. Then we had another song that was super slow and weird. It never made it to the last record we recorded, actually the last two records we recorded. But then we used it for this. And I think we like that song even more than the song that was going to be the single. We were rehearsing that in there for the first time ever and I think we are going to trying to play it tonight. None of us have played it before in one run through, but we’ll see. On the 7” there’s like one of each (downbeat and upbeat). I think when you download it you get an extra song with it, a b-side, but that’s a cover. 

You guys are supporting your new album now and have released one song. Has the response been good so far from fans?
Yeah I think so. I think people that don’t like you aren’t going to take the time of their day to tell you that they don’t like you, unless they used to like you and they don’t like where you’re going now. Luckily, I haven’t seen too many of those tweets, Facebook messages, and/or emails. But yeah, I think so. We whipped out the song when we were over in the UK and we started playing it in Europe. It seemed to be really good. So I’m excited to play it in the states and see if people are into it or as into it.
POZ: Dinosaur Life was more raw. Is this record?
Justin:
I think it’s raw in a different way. We had a lot of ideas but not a lot of planning. None of the songs were really finished when it went into the studio and we sort of figured them out while we were in the studio, which we had never really done before. We just didn’t have the time to do that. There’s some really weird stuff from mistakes that we thought were funny so we left them. A lot of acoustic guitar, a lot of programming, and some real strings for the first time ever, not fake synth strings. We just did a bunch of weird stuff. 

The album was recorded without a label and you were done in the summer, right?
Yeah I think it was like April. We finished in April.

So you guys have been sitting on it for a while. Did it take longer than you wanted it to get your situation sorted out?
No. I think we recorded it with the idea that we were going to put it out ourselves and we just kind of focused on each task. “Okay, we’ve got to write some songs. Okay, now we’ve got to record some songs. Now we’ve got to get the songs mixed. Now we’ve got to pick tracks for the record. Now we gotta figure out how we’re going to pay for this.” During that time after April to the new year, I can’t remember when we did it, it must have been in 2012. Labels were interested in hearing it and we sent it to a bunch. We met with them and that was when we reconnected with Epitaph. It just made so much sense to have Epitaph put it out with us. 

Has it been nice to be back with Epitap?
Yeah. It’s been awesome. It doesn’t really feel like we left, which is good. 

Each record has had a concept, or fans have found concepts in the lyrics. Is there any sort of theme in the new one?
Yeah. I think with this one more so in a general sense it’s just about life, love, and death. I know that’s like super vague but there’s a lot of death and a lot of life. I think love is the thing that glues it all together. Yeah, it sounds very hippie-ish. I don’t mean to be. 

You’ve announced the first leg of your summer tour with The Front Bottoms. It’s been a while since you’ve toured the US. Are you excited?
Yeah. It’s going to be cool. We’re here for a few days on the east coast. Then we got to the UK for the Slam Dunk festival. Then we start the summer tour. 

Will we see more legs added to that summer tour?
Yeah. I think at some point we’re going to do a full US tour; a bigger thing. I think this is just when the record comes out, a small sort of thing. We also have something that we’re doing in Japan. We couldn’t do a full/bigger tour, so we’re kind of working around the puzzle. 

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