Interview with: Justin Pierre and Josh Cain of Motion City Soundtrack
When & Where: 12/09/03 - The Sphere - Buffalo, NY
Please state your name, your role in the band, and your greatest fear.
Justin: My name is Justin Pierre and I have cowboy boots.
Josh: My name is Josh Cain and I have a kitty cat. I have two infact!
Tell me a brief history about the band and how it got it's name.
Josh: There is no brief history. Massive amounts of things happen over time.
Justin: That thing is still fucking blinking. (referring to the tape recorder)
Just scream into it.
Josh: Will you tell the brief history? You fucker!
Justin: Josh called me up out of the blue and I had given up on music at the ripe old age of 21. Josh called me and said, "Hey, do you want to be in a band?" So, I said, "Sure! I'm not doing anything. I'm just going to film school." Which, is basically doing nothing. And so, we started playing and went through a bunch of different members. This is in like, 1997. Okay well, let's just cut to 99, 2000, 2001. In 2001 we had a line up change. We didn't have a dummer for a year. We met Matt and Tony on the road. They were in a band called Submerge. We kept in touch and after about a year Tony joined the band. He moved to Indianapolis and we got Jesse at the same time. I used to play guitar, keyboard, and sing. Although, it was a lot of fun, it was really messy. The keyboard used to be a feautered item but then we decided to keep it. That's when we got Jesse. We did that for a year and then we got Matt. That brings us up t o the last year and a half. I'm really bad with dates, faces, and names.
Josh: Our name came because we stole it from my older brother. I don't even know what it was for, but being the typical little borhter, I stole it. I was like, "That sounds really cool can I name my band that, thanks!" A week later, we named our band that.
What were you guys aiming for with I Am The Movie?
Josh: We were aiming for just below average.
Justin: Yeah and I think we did that.
Josh: Yeah! Goal accomplished.
Justin: Next album is going to be mediocre at best, hopefully. It's actually going to be dance remixes.
Josh: Yeah just with different names. Like, "Boomboc Animation" will be called 'Boomsauce.'
Justin: [laughs] No dude, boomstick!
Josh: [laughs] This is my boomstick!
[Steve from Punchline walks up.]
Justin: Excuse me, we're doing an interview here. You're going to have to run a long now.
The song, "The Future Freaks Me Out," sort of takes a stab at society. Were you guys trying to poke fun at those who are into more materialistic things?
Justin: A lot of people.. well, not a lot of people. I guess like, maybe five people total have ever asked me this, but asked me why I don't like Will and Grace or Drum and Bass but I like Techno music and electronic music. That's actually Betty, the character, from her point of view. But basically, I'm obsessed with pop culture and all the shit I grew up on and like television, bikes, cars, GI Joe figures, telephones, and technology. It's all crap and all I know.
Josh: Yeah, it's all crap.
Justin: So basically, it's taking a stab at me.
Who influenced you to write how you guys write?
Justin: Musically? Oh wow, there's so many bands. The Pixies, Superchunk, Ben Folds, Smashing Pumpkins, the Boo Radleys, Flaming Lips. I can go on forever. There's so many bands.
Do you think that MTV or radio changes the way fans are for a certain type of music?
Justin: It cane interfere if you're into that type of stuff. I mean, if you watch MTV or listen to the radio, then yes. If you don't, then no.
What would you say are the pure elements of writing a good song?
Josh: I wouldn't know how to write a good song.
Justin: In moments time and with feeling. We were just in the UK and I have about 42 sheets of paper with words all over them. I write things down and I keep them in my wallet, which I just got a new one. Other than that, I usually just make it up. I really don't think I have a method.
How hard is it to establish your own presence without having to deal with ties to other bands work?
Justin: For me, it's very hard because I think that everything I do sounds like everybody else. I think it's very hard to be original.
I think your music sounds pretty unique.
Josh: Well, maybe to you...
Well, like I said, I think you're sound is pretty unique and that's why I like it.
Justin & Josh: Thank you!
Do you ever feel that following a certain pathway of music can put a strain on what you might want to experiment with outside of it?
Justin: Actually, I noticed that after listening to Alkaline Trio's album, From Here to Infirmary, everything I wrote, sounded like that. I try really hard to write and to break away. I don't know if that's what you were looking for but I tried to answer. [laughs]
How does the band go about the song writing. I know Justin writes most of the lyrics, but how does the group incorporate all their ideas?"
Josh: Someone usually comes up with a part and we take everything fomr there...
Justin: I know in the past because we were the only two members that have written most of the album. We write and then like he said, someone comes up with the keyboard parts and etc. Then, I write and incorporate the words. Most of the time, the keyboard and words come last.
What is it that motivates you guys to stay strong and to keep doing what you are doing?
Josh: I have no idea... fear!
Justin: Yeah, fear is a good one.
Josh: and that's why you get more beer.
Justin: Shh! They don't know that! Yeah, fear is a good one.
Justin: Because, I am afraid of a lot of things...
Josh: Fear of failure man! Fear of success.
Justin: Fear of bridges, fear of airplanes, fear of heights...
Josh: Okay, everything that has to do with heights!
Justin: I know, but that's what I'm afraid of! Okay, so fear is our motivation. [laughs]
If you were to die tomorrow, what wuold you say you got out of this?
Justin: A lot of free t-shirts! [laughs]
Josh: A lot of amazing shows!
Justin: Yeah man! It's up to what?
Justin: Yeah, 274 shows this year. Wow, I don't know. We were just talking about this the other day. We feel very successful. Whether or not we're selling like a million records, which we're not even close too, we feel very successful. We're extremely happy with where we are at.
Well that's good because my last question is, in your own words, how would you describe success?
Justin: As a band, I believe we have accomplished all the goals that needed to be achieved with music. So, now we need to set new goals to achieve. I feel we are successful to an extent. I don't know if this even applies to success, but I think the ultimate thing for me is, if 10 years from now, some kid in some band is being interviewed and they ask him what his influences are and he mentions Motion City Soundtrack, that would be awesome and that would be success.