Motion City Soundtrack Interview

Originally formed in 1999, Motion City Soundtrack have been making plenty of friends in recent times with their keyboard-infused pop rock tunes.. The band’s second album ‘Commit This To Memory’ was produced by former Blink 182 bassists Mark Hoppus, and was warmly received by both critics and fans alike.

Last month they returned for their biggest UK headline tour to date, and I caught up with guitarist Josh Cain, shortly before a sold-out show at the London Astoria.

How are you guys doing? First major headline tour of the UK?

It’s been great so far…I think this is actually our third UK tour; the first time around we did a bunch of small venues, and then there was the one when we played the Islington Academy. But this is the biggest one we’ve done, and it’s been awesome.

You also toured here with Blink 182 [in 2004] and Funeral For A Friend [earlier this year] – how were those tours for you?

Well, we were only out for one day with Funeral, because their singer got ill, so they had to cancel that tour! Playing with Blink was unreal – it was our first trip over here, and most of the shows were in these huge arenas. We were kinda nervous, and our sets just flew by…we just got onstage and got on with it. It was really good for us though – I’d attribute a lot of our success in the UK to that tour.

How would you describe yourselves to someone who’d never heard your music before? Quite a range of influences…

I guess I’d say we’re a pop rock band, that kind of thing. We’re influenced by punk and aggressive music generally, but there’s always a melody in there somewhere!

‘Modern Chemistry’ seems to have become something of a fan favourite, at least amongst many of the MCS fans I know – how does it feel, given that it’s a very personal song?

Well, Justin [Pierre, singer/guitarist] writes most of the lyrics – but I know that he’s received a hell of a lot of feedback from fans about that song, it certainly seems to be one of our more popular songs. It’s always good to know that there are other people out there who can relate to what you’re feeling – and to hear a band that you like singing about those kinds of issues is great too.

You were on the Vans Warped Tour earlier this year – how was that for you? I’ve heard criticisms that the tour isn’t what it used to be – would you agree with that?

I think the reason people complain is because when it started out in the mid-nineties, the Warped Tour was a hell of a lot smaller than it is now, and as a result had more of a community atmosphere to it. I guess people who were there from the start miss that atmosphere, but I think the tour still has the same ethos as it did back in the day – it’s just a lot bigger now! We had a great time, though.

What’s live music scene like in Minneapolis these days? I know it’s famous for bands like Husker Du, but how good in recent times? How was it starting out there?

The scene wasn’t so good when we were starting out…it used to be great in the early 90s, with bands like the Jayhawks, and there were places that would do all ages shows every Sunday. That had kinda died out by the time we were getting started, but recently, there’s been something of a revival, and I’d say the Minneapolis scene is a lot bigger and more supportives now than it has been in recent times.

What are your plans for the near future, after this tour ends?

Write, write, write, maybe do a sbort tour, and then write some more! We’re gonna take some time off in the near future, because we have done a hell of a lot of touring. After we do one last US tour, that’ll be it as far as touring ‘Commit This To Memory’ is concerned.

‘Commit This To Memory’ is out now on Epitaph Records. Check for more information

Alex Gosman