Interview with Justin and Matt of Motion City Soundtrack
MP: Thank you for doing this. I have a few questions and also there are some internet users that had some questions.
MP: The first thing is how did you guys get your band name, and is there any meaning behind it?
Justin: Well, we stole it, from Josh's older brother Brian. That's the simple answer. He came up with it and he actually came up with the record title too. So, he's kind of our...that guy behind the scenes. He comes up with creative and interesting names and then we steal them from him before he gets the chance to use them for anything. So that's pretty much where...
Matt: We're a very respectful bunch.
Justin. Yeah. If you mean no respect.
MP: Awesome, ok, a question about the records you have coming out. The Matchbook Romance and Limbeck splits. Do you know when those are coming out?
Matt: Matchbook is September...early September.
Justin: September 9th is Matchbook.
Matt: September 9th is Matchbook. Limbeck...I have no idea but we're hoping very soon. We don't know an exact date but it's been a while in the works and we really want it to come out.
MP: That Limbeck split, you guys are doing each other's songs on that, right?
Justin: Yeah, we do...
Matt: "The Sun Woke the Whole State"
Justin: And they do "Perfect Teeth"
MP: That's my favorite.
Matt: They do a really good job.
Justin: They do it better than we do. They make it sound, like, I don't know... I listen to our version and it sounds more tongue-in-cheek and kinda goofy, but the way they do it makes it sound so sad, and it's beautiful.
MP: That's cool. Do they play it live then?
Justin: Yeah. They do an amazing job.
Matt: They do a great job.
Justin: And we played their song live a couple times and we just butcher the hell out of it. Then again I am a pessimist at heart.
MP: Another question I had, I saw you guys back in December and you played a Police song, and you said there was an album coming out, is that...
Matt: That's another mystery...
Justin: A bunch of bands recorded songs I think, like Limbeck...
Matt: Coheed and Cambria, Limbeck...
Matt: Taking Back Sunday I think, did a song...It's coming out on the Militia Group supposedly, it's a Police tribute record. We've been hearing rumors, but...
Justin: I haven't even heard a rumor.
MP: Yeah, I was just curious as to what label was putting it out.
Matt: Should be coming out on Militia group, that's what they're supposedly doing.
MP: Alright, after the Warped Tour, are you guys planning on recording for the next record, or touring?
Justin: Yeah, in September we're writing and pre....
Matt: The last half of August and September we're going to be writing and doing pre-production, and then, October 1st, we go straight into the studio. Record for about, a little over a month.
MP: Also, I happened to notice on your website, you guys were putting out requests for college shows. It said on your website, I don't know if you're aware of it...
Justin: I haven't checked the internet....
Matt: I haven't either.
MP: They put it up a couple days ago. It said something about 'Colleges, if you're in a position to book them, to notify them' so, I don't know, is that news to you?
Justin: Oh. I had no idea. Yeah, I don't think we had any real plans. I think November we're taking off, or the second half we're taking off and then December we're planning on going out on a tour but we don't know exactly, we haven't really set it up yet.
MP: That's cool. Have you guys written most of the stuff for the new record?
Justin and Matt (pointing to whiteboard): Those are our ideas.
Matt: There's 20 of them right there, that include....
Justin: Those are just working...those are working title names.
Matt: Some of them are songs, some are just ideas.
Justin: "Attractive Today" I think is going to be the actual name of that song.... "Hangman" probably... "Stuck in the Morning"
MP: I think I've seen you guys play that, "Hangman", before.
Justin: We have, we've played a couple of them...
Matt: We've played that one.
Justin:...We're playing this one today, it's called "When You're Around". And that's actually, we did an acoustic, one of the songs is the acoustic song on the Matchbook split. But I might be singing a little lower today. I can't, I can't...I'm losing my voice.
MP: A question I had about song downloading and stuff. How do you think that has affected you guys?
Justin: I don't think it's affected us in a negative way at all. That's what I think.
Matt: It's a weird thing, you're gonna have a lot more people singing along at your shows, which I think we prefer as a band. We just wanna have fun, you know how it is. It may have hurt record sales, so what? We just wanna have fun and want people at our shows to have fun too.
Justin: And also if people want to support the bands, like the smaller bands... I think who it really hurts is the major label, like if you're on Warner Brothers or uh...
MP: Yeah, I know what you mean. Personally I find it's a great way to discover small bands. And then if I like it, I buy it.
Matt: Yeah, that's kinda how we work too.
Justin: But the other thing, too, is that if people want to really support the band, they should buy, you know, shirts and stuff like that, where actually more of the money goes to the bands...
Matt: And go to the shows.
Justin:...Bands usually don't get any money for their records unless they sell like 100,000 records or something...but, whatever. Just come and watch, and give us the finger. We love the finger. I won't tell you which finger though. (laughter) Cheeky...
Matt: Could be more than one.
Justin: Could be. Could be two at once. (holds up two non-middle fingers to laughter)
MP: Paige asks, Did you find it tough to 'get big' being from Minnesota?
Justin: Dude, we were huge before we were even big.
MP: That's an awesome answer.
Matt: Gotta start with "dude" though.
Justin: And by huge I mean fat.
Matt: And it's true. It really is.
Justin: I used to weigh over 200 pounds.
Matt: He did. He lost, what, 850 pounds?
Justin: And now I'm 19 feet tall! I can't remember, that was a bad attempt at trying to re-enact a Kids in the Hall sketch that I butchered the hell out of so shutup. (to Matt, who is laughing)
Matt: Next question.
Justin: Next question! Movin' on!
MP: PeeDster asks, what was your best moment of the European tour with Blink [182>?
Justin: Well, PeeDster...
Matt: Catering! We got to eat lots of good food.
Justin: Catering, yes catering. They had an amazing crew of people who made delicious foods there. And at the time, what was I doing...I think the first couple days I was only eating like....Tim from Sugarcult was talking to me about the whole Atkins diet and so I was like, 'what the hell, I'll try that.' And after two days I was like 'fuck this'. They had so many other delicious to eat that I started eating, like, normal food. And then now, so I was eating just meat, now I'm eating vegan on this tour. So I don't know, I tend to go, like, I try not to associate myself with any group.
MP: So are you doing that on purpose, or...just to try it out...?
Justin: Well, I signed up for the vegan meals because I wanted to eat healthier, or whatever, and then I forgot I did that. So I got here and was like 'oh shit, well I guess I have to now'. But I enjoy it.
Matt: You have to sign up for that?
Justin: What? Yeah. Cause they only make a certain number. But vegetarian...
Matt: I love eating vegan, too. Just 'cause it's so damn easy. If it was this easy everyday I would do it.
Justin: The food is so good.
Matt: It's really good and it's right there in front of you.
MP: How were the fans over there in Europe? Did they like you guys?
Matt: They were very energetic.
Justin: Italy was confusing, but everywhere else was, I think, pretty good. 'Cause a lot of people gave us the finger in Italy and they said "Blink, blink, blink, blink..." while we were playing...
Matt: But we just hit the kick drum along with them...(laughter)...and it was all good.
Justin: And I think, who was it? Was it Tom? I think it was, no, it was Mark, said that he walked outside and a bunch of kids were like "Mark, Mark, Mark", and he turned around and they gave him the finger like (guestering) "Mark, Mark, Mark". So...
MP: Maybe it's...some crazy sign of affection....
Justin: I don't know what it means. Or maybe he just told us that to make us feel better, I don't know.
MP: Possibly... How did you guys get on that tour?
Justin: They asked us.
MP: So I take it they're fans?
Matt: Mark is into our band for whatever reason, however, I don't know. He started talking about us in interviews, and in like Rolling Stone, our name appeared. We're like, "Wow, that's pretty cool," and then we got an offer to do that tour and we were like "Okay, we can do that."
Justin: And he's actually the one that's going to be producing the...
MP: Yeah, that was going to be one of my other questions. How do you feel about that?
Matt: We're really excited...
Matt: We're just really excited 'cause he's like hanging out with a guy who's insanely, just cool, down to earth, normal, funny. He has a really good approach to simple, really catchy melody and things like that. We're really excited and he's really willing to experiment with different sounds and things like...if you've heard Blink's new record, you know that they experimented a lot with different sounds and stuff. We're really excited about that.
Justin: Yeah, 'cause the same guy who engineered that record...?
Matt: Brian Hewitt, who engineered their newest record is engineering ours. It's going to be fun. They've worked together, and Mark highly recommended Brian as an engineer, so, we're just excited. It's a different approach for us, normally we have a week to get in and lay down all the drums, all the bass, all the guitars, all the vocals...
Justin: Now we have more time.
Justin: But it's a lot less limited...
Matt:..this time we have a lot more time and more experimenting. Different bass sounds, different drum sounds, different guitar sounds.
Justin: Yeah, and we're trying to, I think, well, yeah, sorry. I was going to digress further 'cause I do that.
MP: PunkPixie wants to know how long it takes you (Justin) to do your hair.
MP: Perfect answer.
Matt: (laughs) We'll leave it at that.
MP: Alright, it's a good one. And, another hair question for some reason. Somebody wants to know if you (Matt) have sideburns.
Matt: I've seen that question. No I don't. They're fake. I can't grow sideburns. Let it be known.
Justin: He's the boyish...
MP: That's the burning question everyone wants to know.
Matt: I get it. Burning? Sideburning? I get it.
Justin: Man, that is good.
Matt: Yeah, I'm smooth like a baby's... I got nothing. I can't grow anything.
Justin: You got some stuff right here.
Matt: And a little bit here. What good does that do. I can draw a square right here.
Justin: You don't look like shit, like me.
Matt: It's true, I don't.
Justin: I can grow a beard in two...days. (laughs)
Justin: Seven. Seven's the magic number. By the way, that seven, you should put in parentheses goes out to Captain John.
MP: Alright. Seven, to Captain John. Alright, somebody wants to know if you like your high school, 'cause they went to the same one you did.
Justin: Me? Ladamena[sp> Heights. (laughs)
MP: I don't know, that's all I got.
Justin: I didn't, well, it was weird, like, I can remember each year I was, when I first got in there, I was really into Metallica, and then the black album came out, and I like...out, yeah, I was so mad. But even then not knowing really shit about music, but I was like, "Bob Rock? Didn't he do Motley Crue?" He destroyed so many bands. I don't know. I hope I never run into him, he'll probably beat me up, but I don't know what he looks like.
Matt: Dude, no he won't.
Justin: No? Is he dumb?
Matt: He's got a pony tail. He won't beat you up.
Justin: Oh, fuck that guy. Alright. He's a sensitive pony tail guy. Ok, anyway, so I went from Metallica to uh, I had this friend named Nick Nephew, and he was, for some reason, way ahead of his time and he knew of all this music that nobody else did. I found out about the Smashing Pumpkins all on my own, and I think it was a good transition from metal to like, what became alternative music because he would solo...
Matt: Great big heavy guitars...
Justin:...just ridiculous, wanky solos but Gish, that album just destroyed me, and I was like "Oh yes," and then Nick introduced me to the Pixies, and Jesus and Mary Chain, and suddenly I just...and there was this radio station that was around for only a year, it had been around for a while, but it ended about a year later, it was called 104.1 KJJO or something like that, and I actually won tickets to Lollapalooza the second year, 'cause they played a Ministry song, and I was painting my garage...see how I digress? This has nothing to do with...okay.
MP: No, keep going this is good.
Justin: My high school, so yeah, I somehow got...I'd been playing guitar for a couple years and, you know, basically I learned from reading tablature from Metallica books, and Megadeath and stuff, that's like what I was into, and I went to Catholic school, so you understand...and, where am I? Ok, so, here's my story. There was a guy named John who played hockey...you can just go to bed now (to Matt). So there was this guy who wanted to start a band that basically made fun of jocks, and I was like, "Yeah. I'm all for it," 'cause he heard I played guitar, and he was this skateboarding freak that wore a Thrasher sweatshirt all the time, and would always play dead in the hallway. We had our first practice in my parents' basement and we just used pots and pans and tupperware and hung it from the ceiling and stuff for him 'cause he just really wanted to play drums but he never played drums. Eventually he bought a set, he bought four different sets that he put into one, and he had seriously, like four toms, it was awesome. And, uh, he taught himself and then I taught myself how to play, you know, I guess, like I was listening to Dinosaur Jr. and Descendents and he sort of introduced me to all of like the Descendents and Fugazi and all that stuff. So, to make a long story short...er, we were picked on a lot, 'cause, I don't know, we weren't good at sports, although he was a goalie for the hockey team, but he just got made fun of all the time 'cause he had, like, his sides shaved and just long on top, that was big I guess, at that time, and he made his pants out of sheets, like Charlie Brown sheets, and he was just this really weird guy, and we just wore ridiculous clothes and I had triangles shaved in my head, and like yarn glued to my hair. So, people would throw food and stuff at us and call us 'faggot' a lot, and 'tree hugger'. And like, I didn't understand it at all, we didn't really care. We were just like "Wow, these guys, are just kind of clueless." Like that's such a put-down, 'faggot', or whatever. So, yeah, that was my high school experience. But we had our, you know, close group of friends.
Matt: So you did not like your high school?
Justin: No, no. I liked some teachers, like I had a couple, sorry...See, that's why, yeah I go on too long...So, yeah, high school experience wasn't the best but then by the end of high school what was really strange was that we started playing in this band, and we actually, we had the same drummer, and we went through a few different bass players, then I became the singer 'cause our singer left, and it was the first time I sang and it was terrible. Even worse than I sing now. And we actually played a prep rally, and that was, for some reason, all the people that hated us liked our music, and then started talking to us, just near the end of it. It was just really weird, you know. This guy who played baseball came up to me and was like "Hey, your band's really cool, how can I get like a CD?" and I was like "Uhhhh, I could give you one..." So, whatever. Mrs. McRoberts and Mr. Erikson and Senior Gattin...
Matt: Was that your Spanish teacher? (laughs)
Justin: Yeah, yeah, well he wasn't my Spanish teacher, he actually...that guy was fucking rad! Senior Gattin, his two favorite bands were, I think, if I believe correctly, okay, this is another story, this is a good story...
Matt: Do you have enough tape on that thing? (laughter)
Justin: Sorry, no, no, this is worth actually printing, you can condense that however, just say "Yeah, high school kinda sucked, I got poop thrown at me, blah blah blah..." But Senior Gattin, the same guy, John and I, had a study hall with him, and we noticed one day he brought in this huge bonus cup from the Descendents, he had an actual bonus cup for his coffee, and we're like "Oh my god, you like the Descendents?" and he's like "Fuck yeah." And he was the Spanish teacher but he was like 23 or 24, you know, so he was really young, and I asked him if I could do a student aid for him and he was like "yeah", and I was like, "Well, I'm terrible at Spanish, I don't really know anything," and he's like "That's alright, we have the sheet that you can do it from." So, it was relatively easy for me, I was the worst student aid ever, and I mis-corrected so many papers and things, but I got to....anyway, point of the story, god I suck at this....He introduced me to Pavement and I think the Replacements...were his two favorite bands, so I learned about that and I learned about Blondie from the other woman who was teaching and they had like this little room and her name was Ms. Kasky and she drove a motorcycle, she was crazy...and everybody had a crush on her. Ok, sorry, um...high school...next question...
MP: Something else I was curious about, your music influences or whatever, your lyrics to Back to the Beat. Is that from personal experience?
Justin: Some, yes, like I do enjoy Breakin' 1 and Breakin' 2 Electric Boogaloo. They're great movies, you should check 'em out. Beat Street I wasn't really a fan of, but, it kind of fit...and I did try to break dance, but I was terrible at it.
Matt: I did in first grade. I was a first grade break dancer.
Matt: Oh yeah.
Justin: Up high. (slaps high five)
Matt: I had my own cutoff shirts that I would wear. Okay, next question.
MP: This one was kind of for Jesse, but you guys, if you can answer it...
Justin: Oh yes, we'd love to.
MP: The handstands? Like did he just start doing that?
Justin: That's just his heterosexual nature shining through.
Matt: (laughs) That is the best answer ever. Leave it there.
Justin: Ok, uh...
Matt: I don't really remember when that started.
Justin: I don't know when he became a cheerleader...
MP: I mean, it's kind of like, it's not a trademark exactly, but you got the shirt with the logo, where he's, you know...
Matt: Yeah, that kind of solidified his...his legend.
MP: Dave: That's actually about all I have, do you have anything else? Mark: I just want to know what kind of cars you guys drive.
Justin: Cars? I don't have a car.
Matt: Me neither. Josh neither. Tony has a 2000 Toyota Corolla.
Justin: I had to sell mine.
Matt: I had to sell mine too. I was never home to drive it and I couldn't pay for it.
Justin: Don't let this bus fool you, we're paying out of the band fund, and I think we're using some (inaudible) money, so we're broke.
MP: I just ask everyone what kind of car they drive, and none of these people in bands have cars.
Justin: We're never home.
MP: We interviewed Matt Skiba of the Alkaline Trio two months ago, and he's like "I just bought a car, but I gave it away."
Matt: I wonder about these bands too...I guess we're all the same. Until you're really making big money, then you can afford to pay for a car that you're not driving.
Justin: I do miss my car though.
MP: What's your dream car?
Justin: My dream car is a shit brown, like a Lincoln, some long fuckin' dirty shit brown piece of dump.
Matt: (laughs) Piece of dump.
MP: With some sweet rims?
Justin: I don't even care, it could have no rims. I don't want any rims, I just want a big sign on the back that says El Jeffe. (laughter) You know what that means, don't you?
Matt: The boss.
Justin: The boss. Yeah, and fuckin shag carpeting all along the ceilings and the windows.
Matt: Fringe, hanging down...
Justin: Yeah, although I used to have an alien green Volkswagon...
Matt: It was a Golf, wasn't it?
Justin: Yeah. A Golf. Fast as shit! I only got, like, three tickets but...it was very fast.
MP: Well thanks a lot for doing this, we really appreciate it.
Matt: Thanks guys.
by Dave DeSloover and Mark Turic on 2004-08-11