Motion City Soundtrack have always been a band that have been a “soundtrack” (no pun intended) to a lot of situations in my life; call it emotion, call it “growing up,” this band’s music was always there. Having seen them live, time and time again, they never cease to amaze me with their energy, impeccable stage presence, and how every fan in the crowd sings at the top of their lungs the entire time.
I had the pleasure of catching them on their recent Commit This To Memory 10th Anniversary Tour, and they are about to embark on a co-headlining tour with The Wonder Years this season. I had the chance to chat with Justin Pierre (vocals/guitar) of Motion City Soundtrack about their new album, Panic Stations, tour life, and so much more. Check it out below!
Thanks for taking the time, where are you guys right now?
No problem, we are in the beautiful and sunny (laughs) Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Lovely, do you guys have a show there?
Nope, not tonight, this is where I reside!
Very cool, I had no idea! First and foremost, I wanted to congratulate you on the release of your sixth studio album, Panic Stations. I love it, how has the reaction been thus far?
It’s been really, really good. I have this theory that people won’t take the time out of their day to tell you if they don’t like something, unless they really liked something you’ve done before (laughs). However, yes, the reaction has been very positive! You know, when you first start out as a band, when writing and recording, you are always trying to express yourself in a certain way, and there is a lot of pressure. This time around, it was very fun, and we think our fans understand that. Our fans are really all over the place when it comes to naming their favorite record of ours; I am not sure where this one will fit in, but yes, to answer your question, the feedback has been amazing! This time with a new drummer and all, we really wanted to take a look at every detail on this record.
I was just going to ask how the recording process went. Seems to have gone quickly?
Yes, believe it or not, we wrote this record in 14 days! It’s very different from everything we’ve done; we are in a great place. It honestly was just, fun. We’ve moved on from the phase of having to be “perfect,” we’ve really broken away from that. The whole experience was great; we recorded about 85% of it live.
Well, it’s also fun to listen to. Can I tell you my personal favorite track on the record?
Of course, go!
I really love “I Can Feel You.” I can’t explain why, I just do.
Oh wow, nice! Funny you said that, because that was one of the ones we really liked too, and we’re glad it made the cut. It was really long at first. We’ve actually been hearing that from a lot of fans, so that’s great!
Not to backtrack, but you guys had an extensive tour for your 10-year anniversary of Commit This To Memory. 10-year tours seem to be the new thing, and I had the best time.
Yeah, it was a great tour.
Now, present day, you guys are about to play Webster Hall in New York City Oct. 17 and 18, and embark on a co-headline tour with The Wonder Years. How did this lineup come about?
Well, it was actually quite simple (laughs). We were at the Philadelphia date of the Commit This To Memory tour, and Dan [Campbell, The Wonder Years] came out to the show. We were talking about touring, and he was telling us about when No Closer To Heaven was coming out, and we were saying how Panic Stations was about to come out at the same time, and it was like, “Wow, let’s tour together.” I swear to you within an hour we had decided this was a thing and we contacted all of the right people and made it happen. They are great guys, and great friends.
Ha! Amazing, I thought there would be so much more to it. I think it’s a perfect fit, with a nice crossover of fans to come out.
Definitely, I think a lot of our fans are similar, but at the same time there may be a lot of people there to see us, that don’t know them, and vice versa. I think it will be very cool for fans to see both bands co-headline. We thought it was a perfect fit.
As do I, I will be at Starland Ballroom on Friday, Nov. 27!
Now having seen you guys numerous times, I’d like to know about your rituals. What would you say has changed the most about touring since you guys first started out?
You know, I don’t know for me personally if I really notice anything much different. Having done this for so long, I have become accustomed to tour life, and I have certain rituals to take care of my voice. Without my voice, I can’t tour or sing, so I have to take care of first off. I feel as if fans pay so much money to come see you, and if I cannot perform—not to say it hasn’t happened—I would never want to let them down. Naturally, things happen, people get sick and all, but I do my best to maintain my voice.
I stay quiet most of the time I am on tour—I know, boring. I make sure to sleep 8-10 hours a night, and drink nothing but water—and coffee, though I have cut back. I try and take the time to catch up on reading, watching television and movies, and stuff that people would do in their downtime. So, not to get longwinded, but I try to stick to the rituals; it makes the touring experience more fun for everyone. Also, when I am on tour, I try and stay up on socials to chat with our fans as much as possible. That’s very important to me.
I think as a fan, I can speak for us all that we appreciate that. On a final note, one thing I have always noticed with you guys is your fans grow with you, but there are also always a lot of young faces in the crowd.
Yes, it’s funny you say that. I never really notice something until it’s right in front of my face, but I did notice it a lot on the last tour. Whether it’s our fans bringing their kids out, or younger siblings, we do see all different generations. I really noticed it most at a meet and greet we did not too long ago, where people ranged from ages 8 to 65! It was insane! We’re very lucky. Our fans that have grown up with us continue to come, and we love it.
You know, in 2005, more people were buying records, and it was easier to get our music out there; we were on Fuse, MTV, etc. Presently, it’s easy to get music out, but it’s harder to get people to pay attention to it when they are flooded with content. We are lucky to have maintained a good balance. I hope that answers your question!
It sure does, and I hope you guys continue to do this forever. I want to wish you the best of luck on the tour, and I will see you on the road!
You can catch Motion City Soundtrack at Webster Hall in New York City Oct. 17 and 18, as well as the Electric Factory in Philadelphia on Nov. 25 and the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville on Nov. 27. For more information, go to motioncitysoundtrack.com.