Hardcore, metalcore, gothcore, whatever “core” you want to identify with the band Motionless In White, it doesn’t matter to them. More focused on the messages in their music than its label, since the release of their 2005 EP, The Whorror, they’ve done their share of touring and connected with audiences across all spectrums. After putting out the deluxe edition of Infamous last month, packed with remixed versions of original songs alongside some new ones, they’re sticking to the road.
I recently caught up with keyboardist Josh Balz in between venues at the Rockstar Mayhem Festival. He spoke about how the dynamic of their audience is a bit different from what they’re used to, what he wants listeners to take away from their music and what’s in store for Motionless In White.
How’s the Rockstar Mayhem Festival been going?
Awesome, I mean, we’re the biggest outcasts ‘cause we’re used to the whole Warped Tour crowd, you know, and this crowd is way more biker dudes and people that are older and more into Rob Zombie. We wear makeup so we thought that we’d be pushed to the side, but the crowd has actually been amazing for us, so we can’t complain. It’s actually been way better than expected.
How does the audience at Mayhem differ from the regular following at your shows?
We’ve always had a good variety of people but it’s always been a chunk of 14-17-year-old guys and girls who all wear black, but I feel like Mayhem, it ranges from 12-year-old kids to 65-year-old males with their entire body tattooed and their giant muscles with tattoos on their faces and then there’s 40-year-old women with fake boobs. It’s such a different crowd and they enjoy us a lot.
The deluxe edition of Infamous was released in June. Why did you decide to re-release Infamous rather than put out a new record?
I think the biggest thing was we were kind of rushed when we did Infamous and I guess the mix didn’t come out as good as we wanted it to. We just wanted to give people the full effect of the CD, how we wanted it to sound. It gave us a chance to go back into the studio and rework some things and make it sound bigger and make it sound more heavy and then give them the songs that we never finished in the studio and let them hear it.
Are you working on a new record?
We’re not in the hectic writing music stage yet but, I mean, we’re mostly just doing little parts here and there and keeping our head in the game.
You’ve been categorized as metal, metalcore and goth along with many other genres. What’s your own interpretation of Motionless In White?
You know what, I have no idea. I couldn’t tell you. We are what we are, I guess. I feel like whatever people interpret us as, you know, it’s their opinion. Let them do what they want.
There are a lot of heavy messages in your music about taking on society. As an artist, why do you feel it’s important to advocate that point of view?
I mean, most of the bands that come out today put drugs in your face and all this negativity and I feel like, in our music, we have such a positive vibe and we have a message in our music and I feel that it’s an important thing to do, especially with our fans. Half of them are 13-18, so people need that help. We’ve gotten messages of people cutting themselves or suicide and all these things. A lot of them reach out to us not only to reach out to us, not just as musicians, but as people. So it feels good to be positive and pushing a message across in our music and not just one of those bands that are out there playing music just to play music. We just wanted to take it a step further.
What’s one of the more important messages that you really want to get across?
You know, be yourself. Open your mind before your mouth. So I guess we push that harder. Be open-minded and accept everyone before you judge them by looking at them.
How has the change of band members in the past few years affected your music?
I don’t think it’s really affected us much because mostly Chris [“Motionless” Cerulli] and Ricky [“Horror” Olson]—our singer and our guitar player—write a giant chunk of the music, so unless we lost them, I mean, that would be the big change. Most of the band changes haven’t really contributed to the whole writing process so I don’t think we lost a step at all with writing or anything like that.
Is there a particular route you’re taking in the writing process, or is it all up in the air?
I mean, we’re always up in the air until we hit the studio; we literally didn’t know what this last album was going to sound like. It came out like it did and we’re completely happy with a mixture of sounds. It completely defines us, as we’re all different people in the band, and we can’t just have one sound—that’s boring. So, you know, we thought we’d take all of our favorite stuff and throw it onto one CD.
What’s next for Motionless In White in the upcoming year?
Lots of touring and “America” just started doing a spin on the radio, so hopefully that does well and DJs start picking it up, and hopefully we’ll start a new album. I mean, it’s about that time, I guess. In the next few months, just start writing and getting ideas and just taking it to that next level.
See Motionless In White on the Rockstar Mayhem Festival, which comes to the Susquehanna Bank Center July 19 and PNC Bank Arts Center July 23. For more information, go to motionlessinwhite.net