Motion City Soundtrack boosted by blink
By EVAN DAVIES
It's not every day that a relatively unknown band gets huge props from the likes of Blink-182, but that's exactly what happened to Minneapolis-based pop rock five-piece Motion City Soundtrack, who until three years ago were a struggling touring band.
Then, as luck, fate or both would have it, blink bassist Mark Hoppus gushed over Motion City's debut album, I Am The Movie, in a Rolling Stone interview a couple of years back. When founding member Josh Cain came across the story, he could only muster a "Wow, that's weird. Mark Hoppus likes our band."
Things moved quickly after that for the band, whose sound Cain says is somewhere between energetic pop rock and a rip-off of early 90s bands like Superchunk and Jawbox - major influences when they were growing up.
Only weeks after the article ran, MCS found themselves opening for blink-182 on a European tour. Aside from giving them great new audiences, the tour built their tie with Hoppus, who expressed an interest in producing their sophomore album, 2005's Commit This To Memory.
"On the tour, after talking to him about producers, he said he wanted to produce our next record, but (we) thought he wasn't serious," says Cain. "At the end of the tour I asked him if he'd do it, and he said he'd love to."
Since MCS's original incarnation in 1999, Cain and co-founder Justin Pierre saw members come and go until the current lineup was solidified in 2002 with the addition of Matthew Taylor, Tony Thaxton and Moog keyboard player Jesse Johnson.
Cain describes the band's early days in Minneapolis as difficult. "When we started, there was a dry spell. We learned that if you got big in Minneapolis it kind of meant you never really made it out of Minneapolis."
The only logical step for the band after they realized they wouldn't get any help at home was to tour constantly whenever they could get away for two or three weeks. Eventually, things began to click, and then even people back home started taking them seriously.
Asked if MCS felt pressured to duplicate the success of their debut, Cain claims, "The only pressure we felt was to do better than that."
Their collective enthusiasm was boosted by the fact that they now had a budget from their label, Epitaph, instead of financing recording sessions out of their own pockets.
And now they have a huge summer stint on the Warped Tour before heading off to Australia and Britain. Cain isn't afraid to do his share of gushing over Warped and all it's done for his band over the years.
"It's been great for us. I like being part of the Warped Tour community. There are so many bands to watch at every show, and tons of exposure you're not going to get anywhere else."
Unfortunately, another big-time collaboration they had in mind may not be in the cards: any hopes of impressing hiphop legend Nas at a college show they did together recently came to naught.
"I don't think he saw us," says Cain. "He rolled up with his posse right before he got onstage."
Yet he condenses the band's last sweet few years into two sentences: "I think I still feel high. It's just constantly awesome."