Mel: I know you guys struggled for a little while to find the line up you have today. Could you please tell me the story of how your current line up came to be?
Josh: Justin and I met when we were younger, like in high school days. We were in different bands that played shows together a lot...We tried to start a band and basically went through a slew of different people trying to get it right...Just over about a year and a half ago it kinda finally clicked with the guys we found. Two of the guys we had to import from Virginia to be in the band. That's where we found the missing link.
Mel: Yeah I was reading about that. How did that happen? How did you find them?
Josh: They were in a band called Submerged, this kick ass band from Virginia. They were kinda an Elvis Costello-ee indie rock band. I don't really know how to put it, they're a really kick ass band. We played a bunch of shows with them and then their band broke up. I begged their drummer for a year to join the band, (Motion City Soundtrack) and then their bass player also joined the band around the same time.
Mel: And (I read) you got them to move to Minneapolis with a coin flip?
Josh: Basically they didn't really move they just kinda came out and we started touring constantly. It's like they don't really have a home anymore, they just kinda live all over the place.
Mel: So was it like "we might as well resettle (in Minneapolis) so we can all be together?
Josh: Yeah, I don't know if they've even made that decision yet. They kinda live between both places.
Mel: You said you couldn't find people that could do what you were trying to do. Was that musically it just wasn't fitting or...?
Josh: Musically it was just a group of people that weren't really working together the right way...That's because we realized as a band...we pretty much had to be on the road all the time to do what we wanted to do. ...When your in your home town it's like people don't really like you until you start establishing yourself other places, that's how Minneapolis is.
Mel: So just finding people that could make it their full time job.
Josh: Yeah or risk their entire life for it.
Mel: I would imagine that that's what you pretty much have to do. What are the general ages of the people in your band?
Josh: It's twenty-four to twenty seven.
Mel: So after you guys established your line up you went to Kansas to work on the record?
Josh: Yep, we went to Lawrence, Kansas working with Ed Rose. He's the guy that did the Get Up Kids...the New Amsterdam records. As a producer he fit what we were doing so we were like, "Well it makes sense to go to him."
Mel: And how did you find him and get in touch with him?
Josh: The Ultimate Fakebook guy,... turned me on to Ed. He said, "You should give him a call and send him your stuff because I bet he'll like it. He'll know how to do what you guys need to do."
Mel: And how did Epitaph (Records) find you?
Josh: This band called Matchbook Romance, they were called The Getaway then, got signed by them and they'd heard us. Just in passing they were like, "Hey Brett (CEO of Epitaph Records), you should check out this band." And that was it. Just totally unrelated to what we had going on on our own, someone just mentioning us. He checked out our MP3's and called every number he could call off our web site the next day.
Mel: How'd that feel? That had to be pretty exciting.
Josh: Yeah it was pretty awesome. It came out of left field. We were on our way out to LA just after we had been playing in New York. We were like, "Ok let's go to LA, win some people over there and then see where we're standing." And on the way out there Brett called. Then he came out to all four of our shows and just basically offered us a deal on the spot.
Mel: Congratulations, that's awesome.
Josh: Thank you.
Mel: How would you define your music?
Josh: ...We all listen to music from like the nineties and we're an eclectic version of those bands. Not like we're ripping them off but I definitely know what I like and it came from listening to bands like Jawbox, The Pixies, and Superchunk and the Lentile and Weezer. ...What we think is good from those bands is what we try to be or a really bad version of those bands, one of the two.
Mel: How do you feel about the label pop punk?
Josh: I don't know if that fits for us but you know it's better than other labels that we've been given.
Mel: How would you describe your music to someone that's never heard it before?
Josh: I would say aggressive rock with keyboards...It's kinda poppy but quirky.
Mel: What is the song writing process like for you guys. Are you the main song writer or...?
Josh: No, Justin and I and the band all write together, but it's kinda like a spur of the moment thing. Like Justin will come up with the vocals and we'll just kind of roll with it so we just kinda build it as we go. Nobody really comes to band practice and goes, "Ok here's a song", you know it's not like that. Like "The Future Freaks Me Out," I had written part of it at home like for guitar and then Justin immediately started singing to it and the first line out of his mouth was "I'm on fire." So we were like, "Ok that's a keeper." That's kinda how we work, like if everybody's inspired by it we move forward but if we have to battle it for to long we drop it.
Mel: Now this is your first album?
Josh: Yeah, this is our first full-length record.
Mel: And you've done other EP's or...
Josh: We did an EP called Back to the Beetle? It had like five songs on it and then we redid three of those songs with the current line up and we released it with Schatzi. It was a split release with Schatzi on redemption and Dog House Records. And then prior to that we did a seven inch and we had a few EP's that you'll never find because they don't exist anymore.
Mel: Well I hope you have copies of 'em.
Josh: Yeah but their nothing to be proud of so.
Mel: So your hiding them? They're socked away under your bed.
Josh: yeah I have about eighty of our seven inches at home that I don't want to get rid of because I hate it.
Mel: So have you guys been touring before the Warped Tour?
Josh: Oh yeah, I mean we've been touring constantly. We played 155 shows this year so far and we're probably going to finish it off around 230, 250 shows. We've been touring for about four years now but this year we kicked it off with a tour with The All American Rejects for two and a half months and then we went out with The Weakerthans and then we went to Europe with Sugarcult. Then we came back and did a full summer tour with Reggie and The Full Effect and Midtown and then we finished with the Warped Tour.
Mel: So you didn't play all the shows at Warped Tour?
Josh: We were only on the last eight days of Warped Tour.
Mel: And you made it to Milwaukee. I heard you guys playing while I was walking up to go in.
Josh: Yeah it was a good show. They let us play the main stage that day.
Mel: How did the Warped Tour differ from other tours you guys have been on?
Josh: It was really hot and it was really gross and tiresome but the kids were great and it was really cool, it was awesome.
Mel: It has to be neat to have that many artists around you.
Josh: Oh yeah, it was a lot of our friends. Friends that we've made over the years now, that were on that tour. It was good to play shows everyday with them.
Mel: Did you get to meet any older bands that you liked?
Josh: I didn't get to really meet many people that I didn't know already. Honestly Warped Tour is like whirl wind. I met not really any older bands that I was looking to meet or anything. I (did) meet some good new friends like the band Vox. It was a good time.
Mel: How do you feel about all the stuff that's going on for you guys?
Josh: It's awesome. I mean I don't know where it's gonna go and I'm just here for the ride as it goes right here. We got to shoot another video and I'm excited to see how that turns out and that's just where we're at. We're really happy and looking forward to see where it all ends up.
Mel: What are your future plans?
Josh: Well after this tour we do two and a half months with Rufio, it's a full Canada and US tour, and then we go to Europe with All American Rejects. Then I think we're going to do like one or two weeks of our own stuff and then I think we're done for the year. We're trying to book the next year now so.
Mel: It sounds like you guys could use a break.
Josh: Yeah I can't wait for a break.
Mel: That's a lot of shows. Beyond that is there anything you'd really like someone to know about Motion City Soundtrack?
Josh: I don't know, just come watch the shows and have fun. We're just normal people looking to meet and make friends. I don't think that made sense.
Mel: I know what you meant- you're normal people that like to have fun, I can work with it.
Mel: Well I'm looking forward to seeing your show in October in Milwaukee.
Josh: Awesome. I look forward to seeing you.
By Josh Cain