Here is an interview with Matt Taylor and Tony Thaxton of Motion City Soundtrack from Next Month Music. The interview was conducted at one of the New England dates of the Epitaph Tour. If you have caught any of the shows you know that this band has been killing it every night on the road! See them on any of the remaining Epitaph Tour dates and you'll have to agree.
Ok, here it is, the culmination of thousands of years of musical progression- Motion City Soundtrack. With almost excessive pop brilliance, Motion City crafts lively, high-energy songs that pierce my musically starved soul. Their tight technical sound, a swirling collaboration of dissonant guitars, vibrant keyboard, and exceptional vocals, combine to create an orgy of body-quivering goodness. Since their inception in 2002, the band has tirelessly toured, winning over aficionados across the nation, and building a strong fan-base for their upcoming June 7th release of their sophomore effort, Commit This to Memory. We had a chance to sit down with bassist Matt Taylor and drummer Tony Thaxton, and discuss: their sound, the forthcoming release of their new record, and most importantly- Natalie Portman.
-Jeff Yuen and Daniel Williams
Ok guys, let's get the generics out of the way, the history of the band, how it formed, all that stuff?
Matt: Hmm, how did the band form Tony, oh wait, neither one of us were there...Well, we'll give you the short version that we know. 1998ish I believe is when Josh and Justin first got together and started playing. They were the first two, they had a different drummer and bass player at the time. No keyboard player, Justin was doing double duty-guitar and keyboard. Then throughout the years, they had different drummers come and go. They lost their bass player, had another guy come, the original bass player came back. He ended up leaving, I joined.
Just sorta the normal, trying out different lineups and stuff?
Matt: Yea, and then 2002, it was this lineup and
Tony: That's when the magic happened.
A pparently, apparently, so what happened then, how did you guys explode to where you are now, if, you can use that word, "explode"?
Matt: Basically we've just been touring non-stop
Tony: it wasn't much of an explosion, more of a, slow.... whooooooooossshhh sound kinda thing.
Matt: we don't really see it as an explosion, since we've been playing, almost 300 shows a year
Tony: (nodding) yea, it's been a long slow build.
It seems to have worked out pretty well so far
Tony: yea we cant complain.
Matt: we really just tried to approach it like we got out there and earned it.
So what did u guys do before you were in motion city?
Matt: Well me and Tony played in a band together in Richmond, Virginia. We actually met motion city on tour, in 2000, in Pennsylvania somewhere, and that's how we got to know each other, we kept in touch, and I joined in early 2002.
Tony: (nodding) and I joined in summer of that year.
Next on my generic list of questions... Influences. Any big ones you care to name?
Matt: well, speaking for the band, like for everyone, I know Justin and Josh are huge pixies fans, superchunk, fugazi, jawbox, ben folds, braid.
Tony: (nodding), I'm here to just nod.
Matt: It's good stuff.
Tony: it works well for the recording.
And about the keyboard, that's been there since the beginning?
Matt: um, I think they got it a little ways in, like maybe 1999ish. It's a radioshack, made in the 80's. MG1, concert mate. It's actually designed by Bob Moog, so its got a little bit of the Moog touch to it, some of the similar sounds, but its actually pretty unique, it sounds different from a Moog.
So you guys have a new album coming out?
Matt: June 7th.
Tony: June 7th.
Ok, June 7th, circle that date?
Matt: yea, June 7th.
Tony: Jooone 7th.
Matt: June 7th.
You guys wanna talk about that a bit?
Tony: (nodding) it's coming out June 7th , hahaha.
Has the sound changed much from the first one?
Tony: Well you were talking about the generic questions, so here's the generic response that everybody gives when their new record comes out: its more mature.
Matt: haha, yea, we're all growned up. I mean, we really do feel that way, I know that's what everybody says, but we've grown some, and we're very happy with it, and hopefully everybody else will too. And uh, June 7th.
Tony: June 7th, that's the one.
Can I expect more ultra catchy hits, like The Future Freaks Me Out? It's just so catchy, I can't get it out of my head.
Tony: oh, I dunno, theres some, of that pop, whoa my voice just cracked, POP madness.
So back to touring, where would you say is your favorite place to play?
Matt: hmm, that's hard. Just being in Japan was amazing. The Shows are fun and the people are awesome. But just being there in general is probably the most fun I've had, it's so different.
Tony: We hope to be back there soon.
Yea, my drum teacher is in this band No knife, and no one really likes them here, but they're huge in Japan for some reason. Like this cult following.
Matt: oh really, No knife, good band.
Tony: I like No Knife.
Matt: No Knife is from here aren't they?
Yea, and I think they're pretty much broken up.
Tony: I kinda wondered, cuz I haven't heard anything from them in a while.
So I read that the band is from Minnesota, is that just Justin and Josh then?
Matt: yea, Justin and Josh have lived their all their lives, and Jesse moved in from like LA.
Security Guard: (shining flashlight in eyes) Are you guys going to the concert tonight or what?
Matt: We're in the band. They're doing an interview
Security Guard: Oh, right on
Matt: Where were we...Tony and I are from Virginia. Jesse lives in Minneapolis now, but he's originally from like St. Louis, and I think Chicago.
Tony: I dunno, he's lived everywhere, originally from California. But the band is based out of Minneapolis.
Ok cool, so Minneapolis, thumbs up thumbs down, pretty cool place?
Matt: um, kind of a cold place.
Tony: yea, too cold for my taste.
Tony: oh yes, it snows pretty hard.
Matt: yes...if you're into that sort of thing.
And are you guys?
Matt: physical activity for me? No.
So what do you guys do in your free time?
Tony: uh...sleep...I'm just.............boring. I do some boreding. Spelled Bore, ho haha.
That's clever, that's clever.
Matt: he's the clever guy in the band, he's hilarious.
Ok, so family guy or simpson's?
Matt: ah, that's tough. Honestly I have all the DVD's of Family Guy and Simpsons and I normally watch Family Guy more. It's not as, smart I don't think, as the Simpsons. Its just so, funny to me.
Tony: I'd say family guy more for me. But I've kinda gotten burned out on both of them.
I know, it's so true, I mean when you can recite like all the jokes now.
Matt: we've actually moved on to arrested development, which is like the new, reality version
NMM: it's just so hard for me to jump in mid-season, cuz there's just so many characters and so many plotlines.
Tony: that's exactly how I felt, I hadn't really even seen it at the time.
Matt: you get it pretty quick if you jump in at the beginning.
Ok, so do you happen to know who is Mary or Betty?
Tony: as far as I know they're just made up. They are....um.... they are ME is what I meant to say, yea I dunno.
Matt: Justin writes the lyrics for the songs, melodies, and stuff.
I hear Justin writes movie scripts also.
Matt: mmhmm, yea, he just finished one and he's waiting to get his footage back. He just did a short piece, we did while we had some time off. Yea I dunno, I think he's excited about it and when we get home from tour he'll finally be able to see some of the footage and everything.
Does the do the whole deal, like the editing also?
Matt: He doesn't do the editing, well he'll probably sit in on the editing. But he directed, he did the casting, wrote the script.
So what have you guys been listening to lately?
Tony: I, unfortunately haven't been listening very much at all on this tour. My ipod broke, and that sucks.
Matt: yea, um, I haven't really been listening to much at all because, we've been getting new mixes of the record everyday. So I've been listening to that, listening to myself.
Tony: Yeah and Atticus is having this contest thing where kids get to come onto our bus and listen to some new songs and so I've probably only been listening to us. haha, like not by choice but its kinda been the way its worked out.
Matt: we've been listening to the Matches and some First to Last and Matchbook Romance everynight too. Hahaha, but I haven't really been listening to much lately, its kinda weird.
So as far as this whole epitaph tour, its been going well?
Matt: It's going great, we're having a lot of fun.
Tony: It's been a good time, a bunch of good people, rocking bands, good turnouts, the crowds have been great.
How's San Diego?
Matt: Beautiful as always.
Ok, wrapping up, Khira Knightly or Natalie Portman?
Matt: uh, don't know the first one so I'll go with the second.
Tony: I do know who you're talking about, and don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong, but Natalie Portman was in Garden State, and...even though not the better of the Star Wars, I'm gonna admit that I am a Star Wars nerd, so she gets points for that.
So you guys have anything else to add. Anything that could distinguish this interview with the 800 you've done in the past?
Tony: ummm, I just ate chipotle and im really full, and I'm gonna be honest I need to use the bathroom, that's how ill end it.
Matt: I'm a big humus fan.
Humus is what again?
Matt: um, chick peas, garlic, you should try it, ditch the oreos, get the humus, a little high protein snack, kinda healthy.
Alright guys, thanks for the interview, we really appreciate it.