Metalcore band, Motionless In White (MIW) are headed back to our neck of the woods. After a good run of their first headlining tour in Australia, this Scranton, PA band hit the runway running and are more than prepared for another round of gigs in the U.S. Joined by Amity Affliction, Miss May I, and William Control, the rockers have even prepared a tour playlist on Spotify to pump up the fans.
With the release of their most recent record, Graveyard Shift, members Chris Cerulli (vocals), Devin Sola (bass), Ricky Olson (guitar), Ryan Sitkowski (guitar), and Vinny Mauro (drums) have quite a lot to celebrate. On top of their first headliner in Australia, MIW have received great feedback regarding their newest, and possibly favorite, album yet. I was able to talk to Chris and discuss why Graveyard Shift has such an impression on him—as well as tour life and the creative process for the band.
How’re you doing?
I’m doing pretty good. We’re in Phoenix today for the second day of the tour and we’re just trying to get back into the groove.
That’s great—how was the first show last night?
Ah, we like to refer to the first show of every tour as just, like, the first-day-curse. I think every band, like, ever acknowledges that the first show of the tour is gonna be the one where everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. All the kinks need to be worked out and stuff. It’s funny because we just came from a tour in Australia that only had ended, like, three days before this tour started, so we thought that everything would be normal, but the first-day-curse got us hard. We had a great time and the show was cool, it’s just that all of those dumb little things that the crowd wouldn’t notice, but that the band does, the crew does…It’s good that it happened so it won’t happen again in the future. But we are just so happy to be part of the tour that it just doesn’t even matter.
You mentioned that you just returned from a tour in Australia. How’d you use those three days between the two?
Actually, we were so, so busy running around and preparing for all of the stuff for the U.S. tour—we landed in Los Angeles and I actually don’t know how, but by some miracle, I slept through most of the flight back and then when we landed, we landed at like, six at night and so I was like, “Oh, no. We’re gonna be totally wide awake through the entire A.M. hours. We are so screwed.” But I think most people actually ended up going to sleep that night just hours after we landed and slept fine.
The three days before the tour, we had the rehearsal at the first venue, we were running around getting all of the stuff that we had in storage for the U.S. tour. The three days were just gone before we knew it because we were just so busy getting ready. But I think that’s just how our band operates. We’re constantly on the move and trying to get stuff done and not waste any time just laying around.
You guys just released a new album a few months back—Graveyard Shift. Have you been playing a lot off the record?
Yeah, you know, Australia we did a pretty good mixture. We didn’t play as many new songs because it was our first headliner in Australia, so we didn’t just want to go over there and give the fans just new songs. On this tour, we are playing a lot more new songs. I’d say probably half the setlist is probably new songs. But to balance that out, we also brought back some really old songs that people have been asking for for years So, we’re playing a lot of new songs and then filling it out with older songs that people have asked for that we haven’t played in a long time. I think there’s something there for everyone who’s a Motionless fan.
On Spotify, there’s a MIW Tour Playlist—what inspired the band to make that?
The playlist—it’s interesting because the format for promoting music continues to change over the years. It’s not just MySpace anymore, which I sometimes miss MySpace but there are so many ways to get your music out like YouTube and Spotify and Spotify’s been a really good one because a lot of our fans seem to go there to listen to our music, so when we create these playlists, it’s just a good way to kind of give fans—it’s not like you’re just giving them only your music, you’re trying to promote the tour.
When you look at the list, you see the other bands from the tour and it’s just a mixture of songs that people really love from our stuff and we’re trying to promote our music, but it’s also to promote the other bands on tour as well. It’s just another one of those ways that help promote your music and the tour all in one platform that is really, really growing in popularity right now.
I thought that was a pretty neat idea. With the release of your new album, how have the reactions been so far?
I’m actually really, really happy with this one. We’ve had our ups and downs with albums and the reactions. I think that this album has had really only one song on it that people were kind of bitching about. Some people take some songs on the album a little too seriously when they weren’t meant to be taken seriously at all. So, aside from those few moments where people just don’t get it or they can’t see past that it’s supposed to be entertaining, I think that the reception’s been going really well.
We’re just really about that because when you make an album that you stand by and it’s your favorite album and one that you think fans will like, it’s more rewarding when that ends up being the case when it’s actually released. We’re really happy and I think the fans are showing that they’re into the album because of the numbers we’re seeing between our VIPs and shows and our headlining tour in Australia. It seems that it did its job and we’re all really happy about it.
And you guys collabed with Jonathan Davis from Korn on one of the songs—“Necessary Evil.” How’d that happen? I know it was a huge deal for you.
Yeah—I mean, it was a pretty big deal for everybody in the band and I think we’re all very deep Korn fans and it does mean a lot to us. It’s just so cool that the generations are coming together on the track and Korn is a band that’d paved the way for bands like us and when you look at that, seeing Jonathan joining us, a younger band that is trying to follow in the same footsteps of the example that they’d created, it’s just so cool to see that generational connection.
It’s special—I think it’s really special for the fans and it’s really special for the band. I think that that’s one of the songs that stands out the most when we play it live. People really, really like that one and it’s great because it’s one of my top three favorites to play live, too. I love it.
There’s also something kind of special about the album artwork. You had a contest and chose a winning design for the cover. Can you tell me a bit about that?
We, you know, following in the footsteps of Korn, a lot of years ago, they’d released an album called Issues, which they also had a contest where fans could submit their artwork for the album and I thought that was the coolest thing a band could do to include their fans. It hasn’t been done a lot since 1999 when the album was released, so since that had been done by Korn and other bands, I figured it was time again to get music fans involved. Even if they weren’t a fan of our band, if they were just a fan of art, they could take a shot at creating the cover.
We put the word out there and had a lot of submissions to go through. It was a complicated decision-making process, but we really liked what we chose. I’d say if anything on the album was a hit or miss for the fans, it would be the album cover because it’s one of those—you either really hate it or love it. Those have been the reactions toward it. But even that, people have moved on from it because they realized that the music is more important than the album cover. So that’s been pretty cool.
It’s a pretty sweet idea. You tour a lot. When do you find the time to create new music?
Well, last year was basically—I’d say we did two-and-a-half tours in 2016 out of the entire year, so when it comes time to make new music, we just wanna kind of retreat back to our private work zones and just work with each other or the producers we’re working with. We’ll just take as much time as possible and be away from the road and only focus on writing. It’s way too hard to be on the road and try to write music. Especially for us and how frantic the schedule is. But I don’t know—it’s just when it gets to that time, we stop touring and put that aside and work on the album. It’s been pretty easy. Last year was—I’d spent the year in Los Angeles and working on the album and it was really cool to have that time away from the road and only go out when there was a meaningful tour. It was pretty easy.
Don’t miss Motionless In White at Playstation Theatre in New York on Oct. 12 or The Electric Factory in Philadelphia on Oct. 31. For more on the band, visit their site at motionlessinwhite.net.