One of the most sought-after pop punk bands in America is finally making its way to the Philippines.
A Vans Warped Tour staple since 2002, Motion City Soundtrack is composed of Justin Pierre (vocals/guitars), Joshua Cain (guitars), Matthew Taylor (bass), Jesse Johnson (Moog), and Tony Thaxton (drums). The pop punk band is set to bring its hard-hitting sound to Manila for the very first time on March 9, 2013 at the Skydome of SM City North EDSA through CNCA Media Concepts, together with Redstone Productions.
Since 1997, the Minnesota-based five-piece band has released five studio albums and has sold more than 500,000 records in and out of the United States.
They’ve achieved great success in the Independent Albums charts with releases such as "Commit This To Memory," "Even If It Kills Me," "My Dinosaur Life," spawning hits like “Hold Me Down,” “Broken Heart,” and “Disappear,” respectively. More recently, they released their fifth studio album titled Go.
After putting out one album with Columbia Records, Motion City Soundtrack went through a career renaissance of sorts when they returned to their longtime label Epitaph to release Go, the most mature and developed album of their 14-year career.
Having previously worked with Ric Ocasek, Adam Schlesinger, and Eli Janney, as well as Mark Hoppus, Go saw the band reconvening in their hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, to spend an extended stretch of time with producer Ed Ackerson (who the band worked with on their acoustic singles collection).
The result is a cerebral collection of sounds that confronts big questions without sacrificing any of the energy or raw emotion that has endeared Motion City Soundtrack to fans worldwide.
“I think honestly I was really obsessed with death,” Pierre explains when asked about his mental space during the writing of Go.
In addition to entering his mid-30s, his obsession with mortality was also provoked by the passing of his grandmother who he spontaneously visited the night before she passed away.
“That’s where it started and I don’t necessarily think of it in terms of life or death, but more as love and death as two sides of the same coin,” he explains.
“There are choices you can make as far as holding back or embracing your existence and choosing life, which all ties into the album title for me.”
While this might seem like heady subject matter for a band who burst on the scene more than a decade ago with their pop-culture-heavy single “The Future Freaks Me Out,” in reality, Motion City Soundtrack has always maintained a striking dichotomy between upbeat music and darker lyricism—and Go sees the band entering the next stage of their career in a flash of brilliance.
“I feel like this album is a Choose Your Own Adventure book in the sense that you can look at these songs from different angles depending on your mental state,” Pierre says. “My hope is that they will make sense to you no matter where you’re at.”
From the expansive-sounding, intricately arranged ballad “Everyone Will Die” to the sweetly syncopated, falsetto-fueled rager “Boxelder,” their latest album sees Motion City Soundtrack stretching out sonically to push the limits of their sound without altering the solidly-constructed foundation that it’s built upon.
Pierre points out, “I think this was one of the hardest records we’ve ever made because it was so emotionally draining since we recorded it in the middle of winter. In the end, though, I think that frustration helped us make a better record.”
Like all classic albums, Go is teeming with happy accidents such as the guitar solo on “Son Of A Gun,” which Cain originally played as a joke that the band eventually fell in love with. “We did a lot of stuff like that,” he relates. “When a unique moment happened, we kept it. That’s what I really love about this album.”
Ackerson had a huge influence as well on the final product, which features many firsts for Motion City Soundtrack—including a string quartet on “Everyone Will Die.”
Pierre adds, “We probably wrote 30 songs for this album, but nothing was written in stone. We really had the freedom to make up some of the moments as we went along, which we had never done before. It was a really exciting experience for us."
Despite the full-circle musical evolution they’ve undergone with Go, the band members agree that, in some ways, they feel the same way that they did when Motion City Soundtrack was starting to make their mark in the early 2000s.
Pierre reveals: “We weren’t on a label when we recorded this album, so we didn’t have to answer to anyone— which was exactly how we worked when we were first starting out. We’ve never tried to consciously write a certain kind of song, which is why we’ve never fit into some specific category. I do think, though, that this album has a very cohesive narrative that ties it together from start to finish.
Now, fans can finally rock to Motion City Soundtrack’s hits live as they bring 14 years worth of powerful pop-punk sound to the Philippines.
Don’t miss them on March 9, 2013, at the SM North Edsa Sky Dome for the very first time. Tickets are sold for P1,850 (Free Section Standing). For tickets, call SM Tickets at Tel. No. 470-2222 or buy online via https://smtickets.com.
The show is brought to you by CNCA Media Concepts—the same producers behind Jay Sean Live in Manila, Gin Blossoms Live in Cebu, Adam Lambert Live in Manila, and Creed Live in Manila—together with Redstone Productions.