Minneapolis legends Motion City Soundtrack are currently heading around Australia celebrating the tenth anniversary of 2005 hit album, Commit This to Memory.

Playing at The Gov on Wednesday, September 2nd, the tour precedes the launch of their new album Panic Stations, due on September 18th.

The five-piece outfit, made up of Justin Pierre (vocals), Josh Cain (guitar), Jesse Johnson (keyboard), Matt Taylor (bass), and Claudio Rivera (drums), have spent a bit of time here in Australia over their career.

Speaking to BSide Mag from his dining room table at his Virginia home, bassist Matt Taylor says he’s keen to get back over to play Commit This to Memory for us.

Motion City Soundtrack hit the Gov on September 2nd. Photo credit: Shervin Lainez
Motion City Soundtrack hit the Gov on September 2nd. Photo credit: Shervin Lainez

“We’ve been there many times. We love it. I’m just excited to get back down there and play. We’ve done the Commit This to Memory 10 year anniversary tour in the States, the UK and Belgium, so we’re excited to keep playing that record all over the world, and that’s actually going to be the last time we do it down there. Because we have a new album coming out soon, so we’ll switch over to the new stuff soon, but we’re excited to get back down there and play for you all. I guess it’s winter there, so I’ll dress appropriately,” he laughs.

Not one to ruin a surprise, Matt says there may be a little more than just the one album to showcase on this tour, but he won’t say any more than that.

“I’d hate to spoil all the fun, but we’re going to do the entire album as it is, and then we’ll come back and play some new stuff and stuff from other albums, and old songs and maybe some surprises in addition to that,” he says.

Having been to Adelaide for Soundwave Festival, Matt says this tour doesn’t’ have the arduous schedule they normally endure, but they’ll be making thorough use of their time here.

“I have to be honest,” he says. “Soundwave is like the same thing every day, but in a different town. And you’re kind of removed from the town. So it’s kind of hard to get a feel for the city you’re in. Every day you wake up early and fly, so, it’s not that it becomes mundane, but it’s hard to have individual memories of these cities when you’re playing the same festival and you hang out in a tent all day.

“This tour won’t be as hectic as Soundwave, but we have to stay busy. While we’re down there, we have to take advantage of the fact that we’re in your country again and we don’t come that often, so we want to do as much work as we can in addition to playing shows; like interviews and anything we can. I certainly hope we have a couple of hours a day to check out the local scene.”

Kicking off the tour in Sydney on August 28th, Motion City Soundtrack then head to Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, and wrap the tour in Perth.

Following that, they will be celebrating the release of their sixth studio album, Panic Stations, which they recorded with John Agnello of Dinosaur Jr., Jawbox, Sonic Youth and Kurt Vile production fame.

Tracked at the intriguingly named Seedy Underbelly North, Matt says the recording process took them way out of their physical and metaphorical comfort zones.

“In pre-production, we were talking about songs, ideas, and the way we like to work and he [Agnello] said we were going to make the record in two weeks. That scared us really bad, because we’ve always taken about five weeks to make an album; so immediately, we were terrified. But then he said we’d track basic tracks together. That’s how he likes to work, and he thought we’d be great. So it forced us to practice a lot to get our songs exactly where we wanted them before we set foot in the studio,” he says.

“I love the energy on the record. I would definitely do it again. I think it enhanced the togetherness of the band for sure. Because, traditionally, when we’re making an album, we all go in and play with the drummer as he’s tracking, and then we can scrap our tracks. Then we’d all come back and record our own parts by playing in the control room, sitting there in a chair. Sometimes that can feel isolating and you can feel on the spot, like everyone is sitting around looking at you, nitpicking everything you do.

“But being in a rock band is about playing loud together and your playing changes, depending on how everyone else in the room is playing, so you’re feeding off one another at one time. So, to me, this felt right. It felt like it should have felt the last time we made albums. I wished we could have gone back and remade those songs together.”

And the togetherness continued outside of the studio, where Matt says the band were able to reconnect on another level.

“We did it in a studio in the woods in Minnesota, so it was kind of like going to camp. We all lived in a very big house together. The studio was about 150 yards away, so we’d walk down and start tracking when we’re ready. We’d sit and have breakfast together every morning. John would make the eggs, Josh would fry the bacon, and we’d all have our different jobs. I would do dishes because I can’t cook,” he laughs.

“It felt like family, which was fun. It was really different for us because normally we’re all doing our own thing.”

Tracking together has captured the essence of the band’s high energy live shows and has allowed them to create an album representative of their lyric-driven alternative rock.

So before Panic Stations is released, get along to check out Motion City Soundtrack’s live show at The Gov on Wednesday 2nd September.

You can grab your tickets through Oztix and there’s even a VIP meet and greet option.

By Libby Parker
Photo supplied