Chris Motionless: The Fans Are an ‘Integral Part’ of Motionless in White [Interview]
Motionless in White singer Chris Motionless was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. He discussed the band's latest album, Graveyard Shift, how important it is to get fans involved with the band, their drive and more. Check out the chat below.
How ya doing, Chris?
I’m doing great.
Congrats on the new album, Graveyard Shift. Let's talk about the song you've got with Jonathan Davis from Korn. I mean, Jonathan singing on a track on your new album is really a full circle for you. How has that inspired you, as the kid who grew up loving Korn, even more?
I just think it’s pretty amazing just because of that. You know, Korn being such a massive band for us and for me and to finally see all these years later — after everything that’s happened, to see him sing on one of our songs — especially [because] I know he doesn’t do it all that often... so it’s inspiring that it makes us feel like definitely we are doing something right and that we’re working really hard towards a goal that it seems like we are really accomplishing. It helps put one of those pegs in the ground along the way to just kind of make it feel like we’re doing something right and going forward carrying the same mentality and hope it will be a promising move and we’re just really excited to have him on.
Motionless in White has gone through a multiple lineup changes since you've formed the band back in high school. How has integrating new players made the band stronger and made you a better musician?
I think for us the biggest thing with the band members, I would say there were two major roles that each one of them play. Of course we want to find people that work well with us and when we bring them into our camp we need to have people that, even if maybe they — our bassist was never a bassist before he joined the band, he was a guitar player, but we really liked him as a person and he really liked us. He was willing to play bass for us just because we wanted him in the band because he’s such a great person. And that’s something that we’ve always had all the way down from the band to the crew is that we want people around who are just great people who make touring such a pleasant experience and make being in a band just such a pleasant experience. And on top of that I think you want to find people that the fans are really going to like and I’m a believer that fans are always going to like a band over a solo artist.
I think that each guy in our band does a good job of having his own character and personality shine through in every moment that it can. And that gives something for fans to cling to and it gives them the ability to pick a favorite band member which is something I thought was cool. I was younger and listening to all these bands — Head was one of my favorite guitar players. I thought that was really cool and it wasn’t just Jonathan Davis from Korn. So I think that those two roles really do play such a huge factor in our touring and our career. It just made me better because I don’t have to worry and stress about being around people I don’t like or don’t get along with. It just makes everything that much more open for people to enjoy what we’re doing.
The cover art for the new album came from a contest for people to submit artwork. Why are opportunities for fans to be a part of the process is important to you?
I would say it’s because that’s where the foundation of the band was built from. Back in the good old MySpace days when the band started, we were always a band that was very upfront about wanting to be involved with the fans as much as possible and all these years later as things progress and get busy and more overwhelming, you realize that you can’t be on Twitter and Facebook answering every single question and every single message anymore.
So in the wake of that, I think you need to be creative and try to figure out other ways to make fans, or to get fans engaged with the making or some part of your band. And for us it’s been, you know in the past I had them submit lyrics to a song [and] I ended up writing a song based on all of their lyrics. In this album it was getting them to design the album cover. I just think that that’s so important for our band because that’s where we’re coming from and even if a lot of fans now weren’t around back in the earlier days when we built that foundation, I still want that to be one of the most notorious factors in our band. That’s what we do. We try to include fans as often as possible. It makes sense. Really just show them that they are such an integral part of this band, just like we are.
The lyrical theme of the record is work ethic and pushing yourself to new heights. What inspired and motivated you throughout the making of the album?
I definitely think that the biggest factor for whatever went into this album all the way from the title to most of the songs — not all of them, but many of them — it's just the fact that we look back on 2016 and were like, "Wow this is our 10 year anniversary. This is the tenth year we've been doing this and working our asses off." That really put things into a whole new perspective for us. We definitely looked at the band and our lives a lot differently because of that realization.
So that went into a lot of the making of the album in that we knew that it's been 10 years worth of time. We're going to take the time on this record — we're going to make this record exactly what we want. We're gonna put out a record, or at least create a record on our 10 year anniversary that we're going to feel like we can look back and say every single minute of every day all the way up until the release of this album was worth it and here is our best effort to show where we've come from, day one until now. That's kind of what went into the album title as well — just really appreciating that work ethic and feeling appreciative for what you have.
One of the advance singles, "Loud" was a bit different for Motionless in White. Why was it necessary for you to take chances like that with this album?
From my perspective it's just a matter of —we've always been a band... at least the second half of our career, that's known for being very diverse and having a lot of different pieces that make what the band is as a whole. With this song, we felt that we really wanted to do something that kind of had this — not exactly a punk rock feel to it. but just this rebellious punk rock anthem. For us, it wasn't like we need to do something different, we need to create a track that sounds — we certainly didn't go into the studio and say, "We need to make a song that's going to upset some of our fans," — not at all.
[laughs] We just really wanted to do something we felt like we haven't touched on before, or at least haven't gone full force with. Maybe we touched on it in the past, it's just our way of needing that outlet for that artistic experimentation part of our band. I think maybe when people heard the song by itself it was kind of a shocking moment, but when you listen to it with the rest of the album I think it makes a little bit more sense. So, it's just a need for us to really keep pushing the envelope as far as what we can do within our own limitations of the band, which I know exceed many other people's personal expectations of the band. That's just who we are and what we've always done. That's what we thought was needed.
The band recently announced more U.S. dates for the fall, so you can see them out on the road. Chris, thank you so much for being on the show.
Thank you for having me.
Thanks to Chris Motionless for the interview. Grab your copy of Motionless in White's new album, 'Graveyard Shift,' at Amazon or iTunes and follow the band on Facebook to keep up with everything they're doing and a list of upcoming tour dates. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show at this location.
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