Last Friday was release day today for Motion City Soundtrack and their much anticipated new album ‘Go‘ via Epitaph Records. Just prior to it’s release Deborah Konopnicki and Jarret Gahan caught up with the band’s bass player Matt Taylor to chat about the album and their future plans. You can pick up the album on CD and Vinyl [Here] if you are yet to do so. Expand this post to read the interview.
Hey Matt, How are you doing?
Good thanks! How are you?
We’re very good thank-you! How is the band going at the moment? It must be a very exciting time with the record “Go” about to come out?
We’re doing well. We’re getting ready for tour. We’re feeling good about it. As you may know the record leaked which was a bit of a strange thing. The good thing is that people seem to be enjoying the songs so we feel good about it.
Yeah, unfortunately it looked like a little bit of a mishap with the label releasing it by accident. With such a loyal fan-base do you think that it’s really going to affect the sales that much or do you think it might even be a positive thing to have some exposure before release?
Yeah, I think it’s just awareness of the album. I’m not worried about it. I think our fans will buy it if they like it. I’m really not worried at all.
Do you have anything special to celebrate the release of the record?
We will be playing an in-store on the day of release at Ameba Music, which is a legendary record store in Hollywood which will be really cool. We’re really just about to hit the road and do some smaller club shows, so they should be really fun intimate club shows, and then we’ll be do some things like that record store show as much as we can just to do some fun things for people.
There’s a track on the album and while it’s distinctly Motion City Soundtrack – the track “Son Of A Gun” – it has a slight Pavement vibe about it. Where there any particular artists that influenced this record?
Honestly, everything that we do is influenced by something… whether or not we choose to admit that! Although, I have to agree with you. When Justin brought the idea of “Son Of A Gun” to the band we were all immediately looking at each other and like “Hmmm… listen to Pavement much?!”. It was VERY Pavement and I agree with you! I do think as you also said that it’s very distinctly Motion City Soundtrack. Fortunately, I think we’re able to get away with things like that where an idea can start a certain way and then once all of us are playing on it or Justin is singing on it that it becomes something else. I definitely agree with you… it’s very Pavement!
Talking about Justin’s lyrics for a moment; they’re seemingly honest and introspective, even when they’re cloaked in the guise of a different perspective like the track “Boxelder”. The track seems to written from a bug’s perspective. Is there any stuff that he brings into you guys, in the demoing or recording that he’ll present to you and then withdraw it and then hold back on certain material? Or is it all pretty much laid out there?
Definitely. I mean, the lyric process is probably the most intense whenever we write a record. I feel for him, I feel very sorry for him. He has a really hard job. He has to play guitar, he writes songs at home and then he has to write lyrics that everyone is happy with. Usually he’ll write a song and we’ll have nothing to say, but on this record there were a few instances where we felt like he was really, really intense but there were certain parts where he wasn’t quite achieving what we felt the overall song should achieve. We kind of made him go back to the drawing board a few times and specifically with the song “Timelines”. He had to re-do it several times to a point where he felt good about it and the band felt good about it. Usually and fortunately he is very open to us about having a say in the lyrics, and that’s very cool of him. He doesn’t have to be like that.
You’re releasing “Go” through Epitaph after taking the last record to Columbia. What was the reason that you decided to come back and release this one through Epitaph Records?
Well, Epitaph has been home to us for so many years and we have has such good experiences there before leaving when our contract was up. It just felt right. When we were on a major label, Brett said to us, “You need to come back; you’re always welcome here. This can always be home to you”. It meant a lot because he could have been very upset with us and he could have been mad and never wanted to speak to us again because we left his label and went to a major. That’s not how he was though, he was very cool and open and he’s always been like a brother to us. We felt really good about coming back and working with Epitaph again.
What does is feel like to be, what I’d consider more of an indie-rock band on a punk rock record label and predominantly touring with punk rock acts like with Warped Tour, Soundwave and other festivals worldwide?
It’s an interesting thing because that’s always been our existence. We’ve done the Warped Tour for so many years and we’ve never felt like we truly fit in there but somehow we did. At the same time I feel like we could have been on a more indie bill. I think that we kind of get lumped in more with the punk side of things just because of the bands that we tour with and the bands that are on our label and things like that. Does it bother us one bit? It’s just music! People like to label things and we just like to say that it’s music and then go from there. Why label things? Why be worried about it? We’ll go out with anyone that’s excited about going on tour to play to people. It really doesn’t bother us at all.
This is actually the first album that’s released on your imprint label the Boombox Generation. I know that you had the split EP prior with Trampled by Turtles but is there any possibility that you’re looking at signing any other artists to the Boombox Generation going forward or is it exclusively going to be for you records?
Honestly at this point it’s very new to us being so young. We’re not opposed to anything in the future. As of right now, we have no plans to do that however we’ve talked about that and if we decide to sign someone in the future when we’re ready then we’ll definitely do that. We’ve always been fans with making friends with younger bands and helping them get exposure any way that we can. I can’t see that we won’t do that sooner rather than later. We just don’t have any current plans to do that just yet.
Your previous album had a song called “Pulp Fiction”. This album has a track called “True Romance” on it. Is it a coincidence that they’re Tarantino film titles or are you guys big Tarantino fans?
We are! I can’t speak for Justin necessarily because he is the one that comes up with the titles and the lyrics and whatnot but movies are definitely a huge part of this band but he definitely does love him. He was a film student before he stopped to play rock and roll. Movies are always an inspiration to him and I think that he’ll drop any sort of reference that he can.
I noticed in your 2005 documentary “Horary For Madness” you actually mentioned that you watched a lot of TV shows while you’re on the road too. Have you guys got any viewing planned for this impending US tour? And do you have any recommendations?
Oh goodness… I’m about to watch the season finale of Game Of Thrones tonight. It’s really intense. I would highly recommend that! Breaking Bad is another one that I’m obsessed with and that new season should be starting in July. We’ll probably be watching that one on the road for sure.
I’ve got a suggestion for you! I know that you guys have said that you liked Arrested Development and you’ve said that you loved Mr Show with David Cross. Have you seen a series called The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret?
Yes! I’ve seen all of it. That show is brilliant. That show is SO brilliant!
Just touching on touring again for a second, you guys embarked on an incredible tour at the end of last year. You played all of your material back-to-front for what I can only assume were some pretty rabid fans. Why did you decide to do something like that? It would have been a somewhat grueling process to begin with but also pretty rewarding?
Yes! It was awesome. It was quite an undertaking but it was a very rewarding process… I’ll say that! I can’t remember how we came up with the idea. Someone mentioned it. It might have even been our manager and we just thought that it would be a really, really cool thing to do. The first time that we did something like that was when we had three albums out. We played three different shows in Chicago over three different nights where we played a different record every night and we came back and played songs from other albums. We kind of took that idea and expanded it to the four albums in two nights idea. It was cool, man! It’s a lot of hard work because we forget our songs constantly but we were able to do it with a little bit of practice and a little bit of panic!
Did you find that some of those older songs were getting a bit reworked live?
It’s funny you say that because I was just thinking about that the other day. I went back and heard some of the old songs from “I Am The Movie” the other day and I realized how different they sound now. It was not something that we did on purpose I just think that songs change if you play them for years on the road. They kind of adapt themselves for no reason other than they just do. It’s not something that we did on purpose. There’s a lot of things that Tony; our drummer and I do different now, where we accent certain things that we don’t on the record. I think that we started doing it because we were getting bored or something! I don’t know!
Ok finally, what we all would like to know, are there any intentions in the near future to tour Australia?
Yes. We don’t have anything planned just yet but we’ll always definitely come back to Australia and tour on every record. As many times as we can!