Motion City Soundtrack – Interview – 05/20/04
Nicole sat down to interview Justin Pierre & Matt Taylor of Motion City Soundtrack on May 20, 2004 at DTE Energy Music Theater in Clarkston, MI during the 89X Birthday Bash
First off, tell me who you are, what you play in the band, and some info about the band/how it started:
Justin: First off I’d like to apologize to anyone that’s reading or listening to this, because I’m a liar and I was having someone tell people I wasn’t able to talk to them, because I was saving my voice… but now I’m talking again. anyway my name is Justin, and that long winded and stupid and i play guitar and sing in motion city soundtrack
Matt: and I’m Matt Taylor, and I play bass and I sing very little… and what was the other part of the question?
Matt: Justin, can you help out a little on this question?
Justin: This lineup was formed in June 2002, but Josh and I started the band in 1998. Oh.. and Josh is the other guitar player.
What are some of your main influences, what made you want to start a band?
Justin: I just like to play music, I really like Superchuck, Pixies. Ben Folds, Ben Folds Five, Homo-fucking-sapien.
Matt: I don’t know, my dad always played, so by default I was always with it. Fugazi, Braid from the Midwest, Lazycane from Richmond, they broke up now.
What are some recent changes in the band and what did you do to get through the hard times with the band?
Justin: Well, I drank heavily, but that didn’t help me get through the hard times, it just numbed it. Josh and I just kept going along with the flow, and we found Tony at a party, so here we are. Tell me if I’m talking too much… am I talking to much?
No, not at all. What was it like when you got signed the Epitaph?
Justin: Actually Brett made us go through a rigorous kind of “obstacle” course, we have to run through fire.
Matt: It was pretty good, I don’t think it was hard at all. He came out to some of our shows to check us out.
Justin: Those shows were horrible. We sounded awful, let that be known that we were lucky.
Matt: We recorded the album beforehand, so he sort of knew what we were like.
What was it like working with Ed Rose?
Justin: Boot camp #2. He’s a great guy.. he almost made me cry a couple of times because he’s so rough. But he’s one of those people who knew what we were capable of. I wanted to call it a day once and he was like “That’s it? The day isn’t over, we’re not finished”. He pushed us really hard. It was totally worth it, Josh and I thought we were awesome, but he made us better. Secretly, I still suck, but I can hide it behind four other guys.
Matt: Ed has a capability of bringing out things in you that you’re not really aware of. You think you play a part perfectly, and you say “It’s pretty good” and he’ll go, “Pretty good? Let’s try it again.” We’d keep going over it and over it. He’s diligent and he encourages you at the same time I enjoyed working with him a lot.
So is it true that Mark Hoppus will be producing your next album?
Justin: Yes, so far it’s true.
How was he introduced to your music? Was it the All American Rejects?
Justin: Well, here’s my theory – way back, there’s a clothing company called Atticus, and they came up to us and asked us if we wanted some clothes, and we were just like “yeah”. So we started a friendship with Atticus and Macbeth, and somewhere down the road, Mark got a hold of our album and really liked it. From there he asked if we wanted to tour and do some shows with them, so we did and we just got to talking plans about him wanting to producing. He said he had an engineer to help out… so we’re all trying something new that’s no one has ever done before.
So how’s the tour so far?
Matt: Well, we just toured in Europe
Justin: I’d go as far as saying “sexellent” but there was no sex involved. At least there wasn’t for me anyway, I prefer food.
So do you enjoy playing in Europe? They seem to enjoy you guys.
Justin: Well, I think it’s because not of a lot of bands travel to Europe to tour, so they enjoy it more – appreciate it. Like say we played the Midwest 8 times a year, so people won’t go crazy and jump off the walls, and ask you for your tuning pedals, shoes, picks, or life like they were in Europe. Would you like to add anything Matt?
Matt: They just seem very exciting over there, and very accepting.
What can we expect on the new album? I heard you’re starting to demo now.
Justin: I don’t know, they’re all ….. different. To me it’s hard to say… lyrically things are a little darker. Some of the things are minor key, and makes it sound a little darker. Some of them are simple pop songs with darker lyrics, but we haven’t gone and pulled a Kid A on you guys yet. It’s still the same band, but we’re experimenting with different sounds, textures/
Matt: Tuning to C#
Justin: Ah yes, we tuned to C#, at least for one song. So that’s low if you didn’t know.
Where’d you guys get the idea for the Moog?
Justin: Okay, both Josh and I were big fans of Pinkerton. He actually introduced me to a bunch of those bands… like Weezer. They had some Moog on there. Also the Rentals, another one of my favorite bands “Retreat from the Sun”, so that was the inspiration for the Moog. Not a lot of bands were using it either, then the Get Up Kids started doing it too. But I think they have more piano/keyboards than Moog. Our Moog player’s name is Jesse Johnson. We found him in some shitty bar in Minneapolis. So that’s where the Moog came from.
It makes you guys really unique.
Justin: Well, we try. There’s a lot of Moog out there now.
What’s your plans for this tour?
Well, we’re on this tour for one more week, then we do our headline tour with Limeback, Hello Goodbye, and Maxeen, so it will be a lot of fun. It’s kind of our first headlining tour, then we head off to do some Blink shows. After that, we take a week or two off, then we start Warped Tour in July.
I see that you’re not playing Detroit’s Warped Tour, that’s disappointing.
Matt: We’re not?
Justin: We’re not? Well that’s news to us. I was just talking to some people outside who missed us tonight, then I told them we’d be back again for Warped Tour. But I totally had no idea.. I lied to people. We’re liars and thieves.
What’s the meaning behind the song “Red Dress”? Does it have anything to do with Requiem for a Dream?
Justin: That’s interesting, you’re the second person who’s asked me that. I don’t know honestly to tell you the truth. I try not to talk too much about lyrics. Oh.. I have a phone call… it’s Maggy! Oh well, I’ll call her back. Red Dress… I’m a little scatter brained. I used to live with Tony and Matt, and I remember I was sitting in my room and after some MTV video awards or something, and I was a little upset and I think it was when Kirsten Dunst was hosting. I’m getting way off track… anyway I started playing something that I thought was Pixies-ish and everything I write, I’m always like, oh hey this sounds like this band.. to the point where they hate me because I always reference it.
Matt: Its true
Justin: So I was trying to write something Pixies-ish that didn’t make much sense but just.. I like the words. But I did see that movie, and I remember how she kept saying “I like to think about the red dress” and so maybe somewhere it seeped it. I think it was about Josh not talking though, I don’t really remember. So I wouldn’t say it happened on purpose, but I would say someone it could’ve been filtered in there. However I think it’s more about being sexy. Being sexy and confused.
Matt: There’s been some things popping up on our message board about that song. People wondering what it’s about.. and they seem to have this theory that it’s about 9-11 and all these political things. That was bizarre. They broke it down line by line and said it was totally about 9-11. But Justin wrote that song before 9-11 anyway…. it’s interesting.
Justin: Yeah, that’s interesting. Well I hope I gave you some information without giving too much.
Anything else? Any surprises on this tour? Anything you’d like to say to the fans?
Justin: Well, actually… surprises, surprises… you know, if we told you, it wouldn’t be a surprise anymore…… who knows….