By Bobby Rein
Motion City Soundtrack are coming down under yet again! They will be celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their absolute cracker of a sophomore album, Commit This to Memory. The Minnesotans will be playing the album in it’s entirety as well as playing tracks from their upcoming sixth studio album, Panic Stations.
Bear Family’s Bobby Rein, was lucky enough to have a phone conversation with Matthew Taylor (bassist) in regards to the Commit This to Memory, Australian touring/music scene and Panic Stations.
BF: Hi Matt! How are you going today?
MCS: I’m fine, thanks. How are you, Bobby?
BF: I’m well, thank you. It’s nice to speak to you on this warm Brisbane winter morning.
MCS: I’m sure it’s lovely – thanks for getting up early, I appreciate it.
BF: Commit This to Memory! What an album. It has honestly been one of my highest rotated albums for the past decade and I’m stoked to catch it in it’s entirety next Saturday at Max Watts, Brisbane.
MCS: Thank you. I appreciate it. We’re having a great time doing the tour.
BF: I have to come clean with something. Back in 2012, I was actually the lucky winner of iPad competition you held on Facebook upon your release of the album GO. I got a congratulations video from Justin and a bunch stickers and it was a good time.
MCS: Excellent, wow. You’ll have to speak to Justin if you can come to the show.
BF: I’m not sure if you remember or not, but I had to describe in 25 words or less why I was looking forward to the new album.
“I’ve followed you since I Am the Movie and I’ve always loved your passive aggressive sound and lyrics”.
MCS: *laughs, that’s pretty great.
BF: Something that I would love to be cleared up is the “correct” pronunciation of the song L.G. Fuad (Let’s Get Fucked up and die). For some reason, I’ve always pronounced it as el-gee-few-ad.
MCS: We just say el-gee-fwah-rd. It’s probably not correct. few-ad is probably better. You know what, you can call it whatever you want, Bobby – it’s your world.
BF: It’s practically impossible to choose a favourite song from Commit This to Memory, though one of my favourite (possibly underrated) tracks is, Better Open The Door. Some excellent, kind of funny lyrics within the song. What would be your favourite from the album?
MCS: I like Make Out Kids and Time Turned Fragile and I really enjoy them together. When we play them live it’s just so much fun. Lyrically, I like where Justin was coming from on those songs. It’s neat to play Time Turned Fragile now because basically, he wrote that song from his fathers perspective about himself. now that Justin is a father himself he can take the fathers perspective he wrote about years ago. It’s like a full circle kind of thing.
Of course that is if i were to listen to our own albums which I don’t. I don’t listen to our own music *laughs
BF: Are you able to comment on any differences from writing and recording Commit This to Memory and your upcoming release, Panic Stations?
MCS: It would have been 2004 when we were writing that album. A lot of the process is still very much the same. The five of us write in a room and we hit record to have the idea down. The main thing that has changed drastically is that technology allows us to be apart now. So we can write together, split apart, write our own parts alone then email/dropbox. We still like to do both, write together and see what happens as a group and we also like to generate ideas by ourselves and bring them to the others and approach it that way.
BF: Your sophomore album, Commit This to Memory was a huge transition from your debut album, I Am the Movie. What were the main variables tweaked? Full band contribution? Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus as your producer on the album?
MCS: It’s hard to say. Every little thing contributes to the change. Definitely having Mark producing and having Ryan Hewitt as the engineer was a big factor. The reason we hired Mark, and Mark wanted Ryan was because Mark had used Ryan on the self titled Blink-182 album which we really loved the sound of. So he basically said ‘this is what we did and if you like the sound of that song, let’s try this’. We basically took a lot of their techniques and applied them to our record. It’s pretty much what we signed up for. We wanted that big “in your face” sound and that’s what we got.
It was a big privilege working with Mark and Ryan at the time. It was kind of mind blowing at first, then you realise it’s just another guy, who makes jokes just like us
BF: Is this your first international tour without Tony on drums? Are you looking forward to touring with Claudio?
MCS: We’ve done Europe and UK without Tony but this will be the first time to AUS without Tony.
Absolutely. We’ve been touring with Claudio now for a couple of years. he’s pretty much got it all down. We’re very used to each other at this point.
BF: You’ve toured with Soundwave several times now, are you looking forward to your own headline tour?
MCS: I am! Soundwave is great, but i always especially love when we play the Sidewave shows as well. Like when we all mash into a club for a night you’re able to connect with an audience more intimately.
BF: How many times is it now that you’ve come down under? You’re almost becoming locals, right?
MCS: I’ve lost count, so that probably means a lot. i’m just going to guess, 7 or 8 – i might be 1 or 2 high. I feel when it’s beyond 3 i just lose count.
BF: What have you found to be your favourite Australian cities to visit?
MCS: I really like all of it. I know that’s a boring answer. Sydney is wonderful, there’s always so much to do. Melbourne is great as well. Unfortunately, we don’t get a lot of time off to explore. In Melbourne and Sydney, we can typically walk around the venue and there’s a lot of cool stuff going on. Melbourne sticks out to me as the club is usually right in the middle of everything.
BF: Have you been keeping an eye on many Australian artists who have cracked it in the US?
MCS: I’m a huge fan of Pond and Tame Impala. I’m constantly listening to both bands. No kidding, I basically have a Perth playlist. I’m just really really feeling what they’re doing.
BF: Courtney Barnett has been ripping it up on the overseas charts, have you had a chance to listen to her?
MCS: Oh! Courtney Barnett, yeah! She’s awesome. Where is she from?
MCS: She’s very cool – I love her album.
BF: You’ve got the famous keyboard handstands and outstanding onstage energy, what can AUS and NZ punters expect from the tour?
MCS: Aside from the energy and the keyboard handstands.. Oh gosh, that’s all we’ve got. *laughs
We’re going to be playing Commit This to Memory front to back and then we’ll come back out and play a whole lot more. So we’ll be playing a whole lot of stuff from the entire discography and there will be some new songs thrown in there.
BF: Lastly, I’ve had a few listens through of the new album, Panic Stations, (and it sounds great by the way) do you have a personal favourite track just yet?
MCS: I do. there’s a song called ‘I Can Feel You’ which I’m really feeling… It has a bunch of different feels to the song and i like that. Im a bit A.D.D so sometimes it’s good to have a song that keeps changing with my brain.
BF: It’s been lovely speaking with you, Matt. Enjoy the tour, I’m really looking forward to the show!
MCS: Thanks Bobby and thanks again for getting up early.