Q&A with Motion City Soundtrack
Bassist/pianist/back-up vocalist Matthew Taylor talks about pushing all the right buttons.
Almost 11 years after Motion City Soundtrack released its first album I Am the Movie, the band continues to tour and will be playing in the Vans Warped Tour this summer. Matthew Taylor, who plays bass guitar, piano and sings backup vocals, chatted with MOVE about how the band's music has evolved over the years and how much he enjoys playing live.
[MOVE]: What do you look forward to most about performing in CoMo?
[Matt Taylor]: I mean just playing is awesome, and we haven’t done it too much this year. We’ve done a few little tours here and there. It’s just fun to get back with the guys and play and go a little crazy before we pack up, go home and then come back and do it again. I’m just really looking forward to being able to go a little crazy and play music for people who actually want to hear it. It’s a cool life we get to live.
[M]: What is your favorite part about being on tour?
[MT]: I get to play music for people who enjoy supporting live music. Just the interaction with people that are excited to hear you play is usually the best part of the day — just being on stage and playing. But then, of course, there’s also getting to see other towns and kind of experience the local culture, so to speak. We like to find out what’s good in the area. Like, tell us what to do, especially from the locals. We’ve gotten to the point where we’ll show up at a place and use Yelp, or something like Yelp, and use our maps to figure out how to get somewhere that seems really cool, whether that’s lunch or a brewery or some sort of gallery or something. We just like to sort of show up and see what’s available rather than just sit in the dressing room all day and wait to play and then just leave. You might as well take advantage of these places.
[M]: How does your latest album, Go, compare to your older music?
[MT]: It’s tough when you’re so involved with writing all the music from the get-go. I mean, I think you learn a lot over the years after you write songs together and after you make records, and you kind of learn the processes that kind of change the way you work as you go. We’re still the same band with the same instruments, but, you know, we’ve been able to bring in new sounds due to technology within the last few years, really changing the game. By that, I mean computers — you know, Apple makes software called Logic and MainStage, and pretty much anything you can imagine, we can now use at the touch of a button, and it sounds really, really good. But it’s still an instrument we get to play. We’ve really been able to experiment with more sounds than we could, say, 10 or 12 years ago when The Movie was written. We’re still the same band, but we’ve been able to grow because we have more things on our palette, so to speak. It’s broadened what we can do.
[M]: Where do you find inspiration for your music?
[MT]:It can come from anywhere — obviously other bands, and it just totally depends on what we’re listening to at the time or what we listened to as children or a movie we’ve seen or a book we’ve read or just a mood. I mean, even the weather, it just depends on what’s affecting you at the moment you sit down to write a song. So, you know, when you’re by yourself, anything at the moment can strike you. When you’re together, it’s interesting because it’s a totally different dynamic when you’re writing by yourself as opposed to when you’re writing with the other five guys in the room.
When you’re together, you’re really bouncing ideas off each other and influencing each other more than anything else, which is a really interesting idea. When you’re by yourself, it’s almost more pressure because it’s just you, and if you’re not getting anywhere you just end up closing it and going away from it for awhile. When you’re together, you influence each other and get through it together, and you figure out things together. It’s cool to be able to work both ways.
[M]: You’re also playing in other college towns like Lincoln, Neb., and Urbana, Ill. What do you enjoy about playing for college audiences?
[MT]: We don’t really find too much of a difference between different age groups. I feel like the younger crowds are a little more kinetic, I guess. But, you know, I’m the kind of guy who will go to a show, and I’ll be having the time of my life, but I won’t necessarily move around. So I understand that if people aren’t moving, that doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling it, it just depends on the person. But, I guess college towns can be a little more wild sometimes, and that’s never a bad thing when you’re on stage trying to interact with people. You know what I mean? That would definitely be one of the things that I like about smaller college towns.
[M]: You’re playing in Warped Tour again this year. What are your thoughts on doing that all again?
[MT]: We’ve done it many, many times. We’re excited. It’s been a few years. We know we’re in for a long summer. It’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s well worth it. There are so many different things to do on a daily basis and it’s a great way to meet your fans, and make new fans and make new friends. It’s a really great way to play for people who may not have heard your band, but may have heard of your band or may not have heard of your band. If they’re waiting for the band at 4:00 and we’re on at 3:20, right before that, we’ll get to play for them, and maybe they’ll like us and maybe we’ll gain new fans that way. So it’s a great way to get your band’s name out there and play for crowds that you may not normally play for.
Motion City Soundtrack will play at The Blue Note at 9 p.m. Saturday.