Motion City Soundtrack Interview
Were fans very accepting at first to the use of the keyboard in your band?
Jesse Johnson (keyboards): Originally there weren't keyboards in the band. Josh and Justin were influenced at first by bands like The Rentals and Weezer who had keyboards in their songs. Before Justin was playing guitar and keyboards.
Tony Thaxton (drums): Then when I came in the band (Jesse and I came in the band at the same time), the band was able to have someone for keyboards fulltime.
It seems from the songs that there is a strong influence by pop culture. Is it a subconscious decision to use these references?
Jesse: It just happens every once in a while in Justin's lyrics. I don't think he puts it in every song.
Looking back at the press release from Epitaph when you were initially signed, there were some remarks by Brett (owner/ Bad Religion) about the band that were very nice. Was it a very good fit from the start with Epitaph?
Jesse: Pretty much.
Tony: We were talking to a few labels and Epitaph just seemed like the right choice. We knew everybody there and it felt like the way to go.
Did it take a while in terms of looking for a label for Epitaph to come into the picture?
Tony: Epitaph was kind of the last label to step into the picture. We were talking with a lot of labels already and we were about to head out to L.A. We got a call from Epitaph and Brett came out to see us for three or four shows I think. Then probably a month or two later they signed us.
Is this your fist time on the Warped Tour?
Jesse: The last two years we have done it. Two years ago we did three days and last years we did eight days. So this is the first time we've done a sizeable chunk of it.
Is it different perspective wise to be going on the entire tour as opposed to jumping on for a few days?
Jesse: The biggest difference is the van and getting catering. It makes it a little easier to survive.
You have been very busy on tour lately. Have you gotten a break at all?
Tony: We have had a few little breaks but we don't get too many lengthy breaks. We have somewhat of a break coming up, but just from touring. It's been a while, but we should have one coming up fairly soon I suppose.
Is the break for recording coming right after this tour?
Tony: Yeah, we are pretty much going to be writing throughout until October (when we record).
Do you have any material yet?
Tony: We've got quite a bit actually. We're getting there. We've been playing a new song on this tour actually.
In terms of song construction, is the creation of each song different, or is there a method that is more common?
Jesse: Yeah, sometimes it will just happen while we are in practice and we will write a whole song and sometimes we will have this one part that we are working on...for months...years. Josh will come in with parts.
When did you join the band?
Tony: two, two and a half years ago in 2002. Late January. Justin originally played keyboards and sang. So they were looking for someone to play keyboards. It's something that was toyed with before.
Joshua: It took a little bit of coercing to get tony, but it took about five minutes to get Jesse. "Do you wanna play keyboards....I don't know how....We'll teach you.....ok." That's how it went.
There were some naysayers after your spot on the Blink 182 tour. How do to try to ignore that sort of thing?
Tony: No matter what, somebody is going to say that. I don't care. I know people are going to say it no matter what. We do what we do and we are having fun doing it. We're trying to survive doing this.
Jesse: The funny thing is I would have said the same thing about us if I was that kid. Now I think, "Why not, why wouldn't I?"
Tony: We are trying to survive off of this. Why wouldn't we want to play bigger shows. They (Blink 182) have been very very nice to us.
That was quite a step up for you guys, going from club tours to arenas.
Jesse: It was kind of a leap.(laughs)
Tony: It was like ten times the size of what we were doing before.
Jesse: It wasn't that big for me. I used to be in another band. I don't know if you've heard of it...U2. (laughs). I had a little surgery but they used to call me The Edge.
Tony: Yeah, it was a little different going from one to 1-2,000 to 14,000 crowds. It was quite a jump.
Were there any changes in set or performance for those shows?
Jesse: I actually room where I could fall over and not actually knock other people's stuff over.
Tony: No real change. You can't really think about it. If it's an inside place, you almost don't know if it's an inside place because of the lights. You see a lot of people, and then you can't see back further.
How has the tour been going?
Jesse: Warped Tour has been going great. Hanging out with friends and the fans. Its all about people that are interested in music who happen to be walking by.
You said before that after this tour you are going to the studio. Do you have all the details set (where you are going to record?)
Tony: Yeah, we are going out to L.A. in October. The studio is called The Seedy Underbelly. Mark Hoppus is actually going to be producing.
Did that come about because of the Blink tour?
Tony: He is kind of the reason we got all of those shows. Not that the other guys are bad or anything, but he is definitely the one who has been really supportive of us. We got to talking a lot and we were talking about producers and we just kind of threw out the idea of him doing it. He was all about it. Honestly, he may have been more excited than we were. Not that we aren't excited.
Are there any bands on this tour that you have or want to see?
Jesse: I've been trying to watch The Sounds for about five days now. I finally got to see them. They were awesome.
Tony: I'm a big Coheed (& Cambria) fan. I love watching them whenever I can. I've gotten to watch them twice so far.
Jesse: Alkaline Trio.
Tony: Lots of friends too, like Sugarcult.
Jesse: Letterkills, Matchbook Romance.
Tony: lots of good people out here.