Motion City Soundtrack Interview July 23rd, 2005

Motion City Soundtrack

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 didnï¿Â½t actually join until 2002 but Josh and Justin have been playing together since about late ï¿Â½97, ï¿Â½98. 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, ï¿Â½yesï¿Â½. Then six months after that I joined, well Tony and Jesse joined together, sorry ha ha ha. Itï¿Â½s a little confusing because I wasnï¿Â½t really there.

J: So youï¿Â½re the latecomer into the band?

M: Yeah Iï¿Â½m 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 itï¿Â½s 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 youï¿Â½re the last one in or is it prettyï¿Â½

M: Nah not really itï¿Â½s pretty equal for everyone.

J: So were you around for ï¿Â½I Am the Movieï¿Â½?

M: Yeah

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 ï¿Â½Commit This To Memoryï¿Â½ which I think is just unbelievable. Itï¿Â½s 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 itï¿Â½s the same sound but itï¿Â½s 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 itï¿Â½s just huge. First of all ï¿Â½I Am the Movieï¿Â½ 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 yearï¿Â½s 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 itï¿Â½s like ï¿Â½I Am the Movieï¿Â½ with a few added things we didnï¿Â½t 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 thatï¿Â½s kind of my guilty pleasure. I just love harmonies and choruses to make them sound bigger.

J: Is that you on the backups then?

M: Yeah

J: ha ha nice

M: ha ha yeah thatï¿Â½s what it was to me the differences between the two. We just kind of went in and paid more attention to detail.

J: So itï¿Â½s produced by Mark Hoppus. How was it working with him?

M: It was awesome no complaints whatsoever. Heï¿Â½s just a super cool guy. Very funnyï¿Â½

J: Obviouslyï¿Â½

M: Yeah heï¿Â½s just like heï¿Â½s portrayed. But heï¿Â½s also very laid back which you donï¿Â½t see much on tv. Heï¿Â½s always making jokes but heï¿Â½s 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. Thatï¿Â½s the kind of stuff when youï¿Â½re playing your parts you donï¿Â½t want to be like focused in on those tiny little things that are going to effect your playing and your experience. So Iï¿Â½ll play a part and be like, ï¿Â½Hey thatï¿Â½s pretty goodï¿Â½ and heï¿Â½d be like, ï¿Â½Oh, itï¿Â½s too neat. Oh itï¿Â½s not locked in enough so try it againï¿Â½. 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, ï¿Â½Why donï¿Â½t you guys not sing there, play that 8 bars longer and then bring your vocals inï¿Â½. We were like, ï¿Â½Okay!ï¿Â½. 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, ï¿Â½well have you ever produced?ï¿Â½ and he goes, ï¿Â½Noï¿Â½. ï¿Â½Would you like to?ï¿Â½, ï¿Â½Yeahï¿Â½. ï¿Â½Well why havenï¿Â½t you?ï¿Â½, ï¿Â½Well I donï¿Â½t know, Iï¿Â½m not very talentedï¿Â½ and we were like ï¿Â½ha ha ha haï¿Â½ Then he leaves the room to go play and we all look at each other and weï¿Â½re like, ï¿Â½Hey we have to record in a few monthsï¿Â½. So the next day Josh talked to him and he goes, ï¿Â½Hell yeah, Iï¿Â½ll totally do it.ï¿Â½

J: Thatï¿Â½s so cool

M: Yeah he is very cool.

J: So since weï¿Â½re at Warped Tour and then youï¿Â½re co-headlining with Fall Out Boy later right? And the Starting Line?

M: Yeah, weï¿Â½re actually not co-headlining but weï¿Â½re 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 whatï¿Â½s the difference for you?

M: Well itï¿Â½s hard to tell. Weï¿Â½re in a very weird transitional period right now. Where the new record came out and itï¿Â½s doing pretty well weï¿Â½re 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 soï¿Â½

J: Ha ha ha yeahï¿Â½

M: Thatï¿Â½s going to be like youï¿Â½re playing for 5,000 people so itï¿Â½s going to be a little different but hopefully thatï¿Â½ll be where we can win some people over again. Thatï¿Â½s where you just have to come out and bring it. But when we do our own shows weï¿Â½re doing small to medium clubs and weï¿Â½re selling them out now so weï¿Â½re just kind of building as we go.

J: So I got an email yesterday that said, ï¿Â½Come hang out with Motion City and talk to them because all they do is spending hours and hours in the bus playing Playstation 2ï¿Â½

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: Thatï¿Â½s not true at all ha ha. Although I did just get a PSP soï¿Â½

J: Okay

M: So at night, when everythingï¿Â½s over I will play in my bunk.

J: ha ha ha

M: Thatï¿Â½s it! Ha ha ha Itï¿Â½s 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 usuallyï¿Â½ Sometimes weï¿Â½ll play really early. You donï¿Â½t know when youï¿Â½re 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. Thatï¿Â½s usually a routine day, then after that weï¿Â½ll hang out with everybody in the parking lot until bus call. Weï¿Â½re pretty good about not being on the bus actually. Itï¿Â½s funnyï¿Â½

J: Yeah I donï¿Â½t know where this email came fromï¿Â½.

M: I know who wrote it, Iï¿Â½ll get ï¿Â½em.

J: ha ha ha.

M: Ha ha ha, yeah someone whoï¿Â½s not on Warped Tour.

J: So they really have no idea, theyï¿Â½re just making you sound bored.

M: Yeah theyï¿Â½re making us sound like chumps.

J: So how do you pick your set? With so many great songs like, ï¿Â½My Favorite Accidentï¿Â½, just old classics and then the new ones. How do you pick which five songs or so youï¿Â½re going to play for Warped?

M: Weï¿Â½re actually doing eight songs and weï¿Â½re just running through them. Now weï¿Â½re doing about half an half right now. Weï¿Â½re doing 4 old 4 new. But I think come fall weï¿Â½re going to alternate going maybe a few more new and a few less old. Ha ha you do the math.

J: Since youï¿Â½re going through so fast do you feel like youï¿Â½re 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 youï¿Â½re banging them out you donï¿Â½t really get to do that.

M: Yeah youï¿Â½re right. Itï¿Â½s usually through the songs that I feel like weï¿Â½re still connected to the audience. Like going into ï¿Â½Capital Hï¿Â½ and people start bouncing itï¿Â½s the greatest thing in the world, itï¿Â½s so much fun so we just try to mix it up and have fun with them.

J: Alright well Iï¿Â½ll let you get back to your day, just thank you very much for taking the time

M: No thank you.

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