An Interview With Musician ELANA JUSTIN All About Her Band MOTIVE BLACK, Staying Busy During The Quarantine and More!
Los Angeles-based Motive Black is the creative phoenix born of singer Elana Justin’s pain, tenacity, and resilience. The New York raised rocker pulled up roots in 2018 and moved to the West Coast for a fresh perspective in her life and art. This would ultimately lead to dynamic new relationships and the formation of Motive Black
Elana connected with Grammy-winning producer Nick Rowe who has worked with everyone from Vampire Weekend and Lamb of God to Madonna and Snoop Dogg. The duo wrote all the tracks for the band’s upcoming debut EP due out later this year. Together they have created music that is inspired by life’s tragedies, and the strength and fortitude it takes to move past them and embrace life again. They have released their first single and video for “Broken.”
Elana explains the origins of “Broken”: “I had just moved to LA after a rough few years in New York. I had built up emotional armor, to protect myself. I was proud of being cold, and comfortable with feeling numb. Then I met someone new and everything changed… I feared I was becoming weak again, and it made me angry and combative. I fought against it, but eventually the positive new feelings became addicting, because I felt like I was waking up and being my confident self again”.
She continues: “I didn’t want to be exposed, I felt like I was going crazy… I wanted this to work so much, but I was also petrified of having it. It was conflicting – terrible and amazing at the same time. Ultimately “Broken” is about the fight I had internally that allowed me to break down the walls I’d built up around my heart for protection. By being willing to take a chance and open myself up again, I came back to being myself.”
Working with producer Rowe (who is also the guitarist for Blood Simple), the music developed as their synergy grew. Rowe produced all the tracks, which were mixed by Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God, Korn, Papa Roach). The songs were recorded in Rowe’s studio and at the legendary NRG studios in North Hollywood, CA. They were fortunate to recruit Ray Luzier of Korn to play drums on the songs from the forthcoming EP, which also features guitar by Marcos Curiel of P.O.D. on “Broken.”
The members of the band kept running into each other while playing gigs on the Sunset Strip at the Viper Room, and various jam nights at other venues. These chance meetings led to conversations about music, and what they all wanted to do with their careers. They collectively realized they had shared musical tastes and an interest in growing together as a group, and hence Motive Black was born.
Connect With Motive Black Online Here:
Official Website: http://www.motiveblack.com
Smart URL: https://ffm.to/motiveblackbroken
Learn more about Motive Black in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today, Elana. So how are you and the rest of the band keeping busy and musical these days during this crazy Covid-19 pandemic? How are you staying connected to your fans? Is it hard to be away from each other or are you all part of each other’s quarantine crew?
Hey! We actually released out first single during the quarantine, which has been a little strange. Ideally we would love to be out playing and connecting with our listeners but we’re hoping that the content of the song is resonating with our fans. We have a few things in the works – it’s interesting working together, but from different locations. We are really looking forward to playing together again asap.
What kind of music do you think is going to come out of these challenging times? Are you and the rest of the band working on anything new right now?
I think there will be a lot of uplifting and empowering music coming out this. The creative world is really banding together and helping people get through this period of isolation.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could all be in this group together? Do you find that your band name still represents you and your music today? Where did your name come from exactly? What other names were you considering? I’m also curious how you decided to form a band and not be a solo artist? Was this ever something that you considered?
We went through a lot of names, but none of them felt right. Motive Black represents us well. Dave Buckner actually came up with it after hearing the music. I prefer the camaraderie of a band, the guys are so talented, I think the vibe we have together is really cool and will inspire a lot of really great music.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group? If not, why do you think that is?
I’m from New York originally, and I do think there is a rawness that runs through every song that may not be present had I been from somewhere else. Who knows? Im pretty laid back in general, I think and love living here in LA now. I save all my angst for the music!
What was it like working with the Grammy-winning producer Nick Rowe? Was it overwhelming at all being in the studio with someone that has worked with so many big-name acts like Vampire Weekend, Lamb of God, Madonna and Snoop Dogg?
Working with Nick is great – we really vibe well together. I wasn’t really overwhelmed by who he had worked with, it was more his talent. It took a minute to get used to! We also recorded most of the EP in his home studio – so it was a relaxed atmosphere. He has so many great ideas, it was a lot fun writing and recording these songs with him.
Let’s talk about your newest track, “Broken.” What was the inspiration for this song? What was it like having Marcos Curiel of P.O.D. play guitar on it? How would you say that it compares with the rest of your upcoming EP due out later this year?
The song was initially inspired by a new relationship, but ultimately the song is about living life fully as opposed to safely. It was great having Marcos (Curiel of P.O.D.) on the track, he really added some cool guitar layers. I think each song on the upcoming EP is pretty unique, I’m really looking forward to releasing it – once we get past the current chaos of this awful virus.
What was it like making the music video for “Broken”? How creatively involved with the process of making it were you and others in the band?
The Video was directed by Dale ‘Rage’ Resteghini of Raging Nation Films. He came up with the concept, it was a great visual representation of the song.
I always like to ask bands how much you hang out socially apart from when you are creating and performing music?
We hang out a good amount, often at the Rainbow in West Hollywood. I met most of them doing jams on the Sunset Strip, so we tend to be in the area a lot.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
I would definitely have to say on stage performing!
What do you think makes for an ideal show for this band? What have been some of your favorite shows and venues lately?
I think as long as there are people with good energy, there is a great show to be had. I saw Bad Flower at the El Rey a little while back and they put on a great show. I also saw Rival Sons at The Wiltern, they were amazing.
Do you have any tour dates scheduled for later this year? Have any dates been canceled yet due to the Coronavirus?
We were in the process of booking shows and then Covid 19 pulled the plug on that. We’ll get some dates together once we all get through this.
What musicians have really been inspiring you all since you first started making music? Who would you still love to work with?
I’ve always been a huge Joan Jett fan, she really inspires me. I’d love to work with her one day.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
I want people to hear my songs and reinterpret them into something that is meaningful to them. I want them to empower, and be an outlet for whoever is listening. “Broken” is about breaking through obstacles to get to what you want… it’s about fear being a feeling versus a boundary. Be Bold, Be Brave and always keep moving forward.