"Motion City Soundtrack/Epitaph: "A Match Made in Heaven"

Motion City Soundtrack And Epitaph: A Match Made In Heaven
Tuesday June 17, 2003 @ 05:30 PM
By: ChartAttack.com Staff

"At first, we sounded like really bad Promise Ring," says Motion City Soundtrack (MCS) guitarist Justin Pierre. "Then, after we got a few new members, we started sounding like really bad Jimmy Eats World and other bands like them when we were learning about them in the late '90s. How that ever came to a deal with Epitaph, I'll never know."

Set to release their debut album, I Am The Movie, on June 24, this four-year old quintet (completed by guitarist Joshua Cain, bassist Matt Taylor, drummer Tony Thaxton and keyboardist Jesse Johnson) probably isn't the most likely band you'd initially think to be linked up with punk rock's biggest label.

That is, until you peel away a few layers of crusty leather wristbands and dirty One Stars to find out that while MCS proudly checks influences from The Pixies and Ben Folds Five, a few spins of I Am The Movie conjures up comparisons to the more European side of the Epicatalogue. This band fits right in with the poppy bounce Division Of Laura Lee, the wonky synth sound of (International) Noise Conspiracy... wait. Still, how the hell did they hook up with a punk label? What's the real story?

"My father always said that it's not what you know, it's who you know," sighs Pierre. "I didn't want to believe him, but that's kind of how we wound up where we are. A band that's on the label was playing our CD in the car with Brett [Gurewitz, label owner]. He started asking all of these questions about how to get a hold of us and had anyone else heard of us. It was pretty cool and I guess that means ability had some part of it, right?"

Given that Mr. Brett isn't in the habit of signing bands with a penchant for instruments with 88 keys and emblazoned with Casio logos, one might say ability did play a small part. More importantly, as the band blazes a trail across North America opening for label mates The Weakerthans, they seem to be winning over their own legion of diehards.

"I guess it's working out wonderfully for us, even if our album isn't out yet. We're getting exposed to people that generally might not find us and we're being exposed to elements of another world that we might not have found either. They've been opening their doors to other forms of music lately and we just caught them at the right time. I don't think something like this would have happened two years ago."

To be honest, two years ago, MCS wasn't even really a band. Finding the right members just over a year ago, Pierre and Cain have been writing music over these past four years but could never find suitable pieces to the puzzle. Picking up the other three players days before the studio session that yielded I Am The Movie, Pierre feels that things are finally working properly.

"There are only four songs on this album that were actually written by the band you see now," he says. "The rest of the songs were by Josh and myself and we had to teach them to the other guys before going into the studio. I think it turned out great, all things considered. We haven't had anyone coming up to us and saying that they hate us... although I doubt people feel compelled to do that to anyone. Either way, I'm excited because this album isn't even out yet and we're already working on the next one. I can't imagine how it'll sound when we're all actually writing our own parts!"

---Keith Carman
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