At this year’s Warped Tour Chicago I had the pleasure of sitting down with Matt the bassist of Motion City Soundtrack. I’d like to thank Vizion Jones for setting this up. I’d also, of course, like to thank Matt who was as nice and accomodating as physically possible and for taking time out of his busy day.
Joe: When did you guys start as Motion City and how did you guys all come together as a band?
Matt: I didnÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½t actually join until 2002 but Josh and Justin have been playing together since about late Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½97, Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½98. They used to play in different bands in the Minneapolis- St. Paul area and eventually Josh recruited him because he liked his voice so they started playing together and they had a different bass player and drummer. They toured with a kind of revolving door of members for awhile then 2002 rolled around and they lost their drummer and they asked Tony and he finally said, Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½yesÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½. Then six months after that I joined, well Tony and Jesse joined together, sorry ha ha ha. ItÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s a little confusing because I wasnÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½t really there.
J: So youÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re the latecomer into the band?
M: Yeah IÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½m the last one to join.
J: How did you come to fit into this whole thing?
M: Tony and I were in an old band together in Virginia, after he moved from Michigan itÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s so confusing. We went on tour and met Motion City Soundtrack in Milton, Pennsylvania and played a show together where we became friends. We stayed in touch for a couple years and they remembered playing with him (Tony) and really liked him so they talked him into joining and then six months later I joined too.
J: Cool, so do they treat you like the baby of the group since youÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re the last one in or is it prettyÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½
M: Nah not really itÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s pretty equal for everyone.
J: So were you around for Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½I Am the MovieÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½?
J: Did you play on that one?
M: The thing is they recorded it probably two months before I joined so there was another bass player on there. Then we got signed to Epitaph and Epitaph put that recording out but we went back in and I rerecorded all the bass and added some parts to for legal reasons, you know to get me on the record. So that is me on there now.
J: The new record Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½Commit This To MemoryÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½ which I think is just unbelievable. ItÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s one of my favorite cds of the year by far. You and Fall Out Boy are like one-two back and forth
M: Thank you
J: How do you feel that cd compares to the old one? I mean itÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s the same sound but itÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s so different as well.
M: Well first we wanted to go in and just make a huge sounding record. We just wanted to, you know, when you crank it itÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s just huge. First of all Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½I Am the MovieÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½ was probably four years worth of songs saved up over a long time that they finally put out on a record. This record was a yearÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s worth of songs. Half of which were probably written three to four weeks before they were recorded when we went to LA to rehearse. This one, I feel itÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s like Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½I Am the MovieÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½ with a few added things we didnÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½t do before. For instance instead of having singing constantly, constant vocals, we decided to stretch it out and have more instrumental parts and layering on some pianos and pretty you know..
J: Yeah arena-ish
M: Yeah, yeah and we added a lot of backup vocals thatÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s kind of my guilty pleasure. I just love harmonies and choruses to make them sound bigger.
J: Is that you on the backups then?
J: ha ha nice
M: ha ha yeah thatÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s what it was to me the differences between the two. We just kind of went in and paid more attention to detail.
J: So itÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s produced by Mark Hoppus. How was it working with him?
M: It was awesome no complaints whatsoever. HeÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s just a super cool guy. Very funnyÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½
M: Yeah heÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s just like heÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s portrayed. But heÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s also very laid back which you donÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½t see much on tv. HeÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s always making jokes but heÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s also very chill.
J: What advice did he have for you on this album? Like how was his expertise used on the record?
M: He has a really good pretty sharp ear for timing and pitch and things like that which is great. ThatÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s the kind of stuff when youÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re playing your parts you donÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½t want to be like focused in on those tiny little things that are going to effect your playing and your experience. So IÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½ll play a part and be like, Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½Hey thatÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s pretty goodÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½ and heÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½d be like, Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½Oh, itÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s too neat. Oh itÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s not locked in enough so try it againÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½. Also with the vocal thing with the stretching it out and letting the music breathe part that was pretty much his contribution. He was like, Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½Why donÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½t you guys not sing there, play that 8 bars longer and then bring your vocals inÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½. We were like, Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½Okay!Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½. It was just something we had never thought of. He was a big, big help; it was all his idea.
J: I was wondering how he went from singing to producing just like that and how that transition was for you guys.
M: Well we were his first project.
J: Oh really?
M: We just got talking about it when we were doing a tour with them in Europe and he was just in our room chatting and he talked about producing. We were like, Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½well have you ever produced?Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½ and he goes, Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½NoÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½. Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½Would you like to?Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½, Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½YeahÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½. Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½Well why havenÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½t you?Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½, Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½Well I donÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½t know, IÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½m not very talentedÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½ and we were like Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½ha ha ha haÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½ Then he leaves the room to go play and we all look at each other and weÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re like, Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½Hey we have to record in a few monthsÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½. So the next day Josh talked to him and he goes, Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½Hell yeah, IÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½ll totally do it.Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½
J: ThatÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s so cool
M: Yeah he is very cool.
J: So since weÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re at Warped Tour and then youÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re co-headlining with Fall Out Boy later right? And the Starting Line?
M: Yeah, weÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re actually not co-headlining but weÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re main support.
J: But you have been headlining some shows lately?
M: Yeah we just did a week or so.
J: How is it different from headlining to support? Like whatÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s the difference for you?
M: Well itÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s hard to tell. WeÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re in a very weird transitional period right now. Where the new record came out and itÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s doing pretty well weÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re noticing people coming up and singing the songs. But on a tour like the Fall Out Boy tour those guys are number one on TRL soÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½
J: Ha ha ha yeahÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½
M: ThatÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s going to be like youÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re playing for 5,000 people so itÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s going to be a little different but hopefully thatÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½ll be where we can win some people over again. ThatÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s where you just have to come out and bring it. But when we do our own shows weÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re doing small to medium clubs and weÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re selling them out now so weÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re just kind of building as we go.
J: So I got an email yesterday that said, Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½Come hang out with Motion City and talk to them because all they do is spending hours and hours in the bus playing Playstation 2Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½
M: ha ha ha
J: True not true? Ha ha What do you guys do?
M: Was that the press mailing list?
J: Yeah, they saw my name on the press list and they said all you guys do during Warped Tour is sit on the bus and play Playstation 2
M: ThatÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s not true at all ha ha. Although I did just get a PSP soÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½
M: So at night, when everythingÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s over I will play in my bunk.
J: ha ha ha
M: ThatÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s it! Ha ha ha ItÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s not bad
J: Okay so take me through a day of Warped then
M: Okay so I wake up, hopefully not at 1:30 like I did yesterday.
J: ha ha
M: Then we usuallyÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½ Sometimes weÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½ll play really early. You donÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½t know when youÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re going to be playing until that morning which is crazy. So wake up, eat lunch, usually a signing in the afternoon, then press like now, dinner, show. ThatÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s usually a routine day, then after that weÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½ll hang out with everybody in the parking lot until bus call. WeÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re pretty good about not being on the bus actually. ItÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s funnyÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½
J: Yeah I donÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½t know where this email came fromÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½.
M: I know who wrote it, IÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½ll get Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½em.
J: ha ha ha.
M: Ha ha ha, yeah someone whoÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s not on Warped Tour.
J: So they really have no idea, theyÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re just making you sound bored.
M: Yeah theyÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re making us sound like chumps.
J: So how do you pick your set? With so many great songs like, Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½My Favorite AccidentÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½, just old classics and then the new ones. How do you pick which five songs or so youÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re going to play for Warped?
M: WeÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re actually doing eight songs and weÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re just running through them. Now weÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re doing about half an half right now. WeÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re doing 4 old 4 new. But I think come fall weÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re going to alternate going maybe a few more new and a few less old. Ha ha you do the math.
J: Since youÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re going through so fast do you feel like youÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re still connecting with the audience with that breakneck Warped speed. I know you guys like to sit and talk with the audience a little bit but with Warped when youÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re banging them out you donÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½t really get to do that.
M: Yeah youÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re right. ItÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s usually through the songs that I feel like weÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½re still connected to the audience. Like going into Ãƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½Capital HÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½ and people start bouncing itÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s the greatest thing in the world, itÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½s so much fun so we just try to mix it up and have fun with them.
J: Alright well IÃƒ¯Ã‚¿Ã‚½ll let you get back to your day, just thank you very much for taking the time
M: No thank you.