An Interview With The Rockers MOTOGRATER On New Music, Biggest Inspirations and More!
Posted On 12 Sep 2017
A genre-defying alternative metal outfit founded in Santa Barbara, CA, Motograter was formed in 1995 and take their name from a homemade springed/percussion instrument that’s made of heavy cable, cranks, and gears. With the release of new single “Dorian“, the band is ready to build on its legacy and climb back to the top of the Hard Rock and Metal world. The song is off to the fastest start @ Active Rock Radio in the band’s career, with more than 30 stations already playing the song. It is charting Top 30 on both the Billboard Rock Indicator chart and the Under The Radar Active Rock chart.
The band recently shot a music video for “Dorian” that premiered last month. The location for the video shoot was the famous Ohio State Reformatory where the Oscar nominated movie “Shawshank Redemption” was filmed, as well as music videos from Godsmack and Lil’ Wayne. Directing and producing the video is Christopher Davis (Human Twelve).
EMP Label Group released ‘Desolation’ on August 11th. This second full length album was produced by Ahrue Luster (Ill Nino/Ex-Machine Head) and mixed by Joshua Wickman (Within the Ruins, KING 810). The album was engineered by Luster, Wickman, and Jon Berrier, and recorded at Illustrious Productions, Dreadcore Productions, and BlackPlate Productions. Art for “Desolation” was created by Mister-Sam Shearon, who has created covers for comic books and graphic novels including Clive Barker’s “Hellraiser”, Judge Dredd, The X-Files, Mars Attacks, KISS and Clive Barker’s “Books of Blood” as well as artwork for some of the biggest names in rock music including Godhead, Ministry, Rob Zombie, Iron Maiden, Powerman 5000, Biohazard, American Head Charge, Rammstein, Fear Factory and Kill Devil Hill.
The band is widely known for their image, notorious for covering themselves in tribal style body paint. The early stage of the group’s career consisted of heavy experimentation with industrial sounds, samples, and tribal drums. The band has released two EP’s ‘Hugh Chardon’ and ‘Indy’ and were signed to Sever Records, founded by Dez Fafara of Coal Chamber.
The band’s sound continued to evolve, eventually incorporating a dark, groove-oriented guitar styling, that would help broaden the band’s appeal and reach a wider audience. In 2003, the band inked a deal with No Name/Elektra Records and released the highly acclaimed. self-titled album, ‘Motograter’, featuring Ivan Moody (Five Finger Death Punch/Ghost Machine) on vocals. The song “Suffocate” was featured on the soundtrack to the film “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. The song “Down” is featured on the EA Sports video game Nascar Thunder 2004. The band went through various periods of dormancy over the years as members worked on their own side projects.
Motograter reformed with its current lineup in 2014. The band has been active since then and has performed at Knotfest multiple times. They have toured with Ozzy Osbourne and Ozzfest, 5 Finger Death Punch, Korn, Marilyn Manson, Chevelle, Disturbed, Ministry, Nothingface, Anthrax, Mushroomhead, Killswitch Engage, Chimaira, Shadows Fall, Voivod, and many more. The “Desolation” tour starts in Septermber.
Connect with Motograter Here:
iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/desolation/id1259272045?app=itunes&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
Official Website: https://retargotom.com
Learn more about Motograter in the following All Access interview:
These were answered by lead singer James Anthony Legion
Thanks for your time! Where does this interview find the band today? Is there music playing in the background? What music do you all like to listen to when you are relaxing or answering interview questions?
Actually, I am sitting at home watching “House Of Cards” while I answer these questions. Kevin Spacey is the shit! This is a very busy time for us – We’ve just released our new album “Desolation”, and we’re getting ready to start our national tour in September.
How does 2017 so far compare to last year? Did you all approach this year differently then you did 2016?
We approach every year with intensity. Always trying to make each year better than the last. I believe we have been successful at that.
Growing up, did you always want to be musicians? Can you recall the moment you realized that you could really make music together and be a band?
Yes, I have wanted to be a musician for as long as I can remember. When I was very young I use to sing in church with my grandmother. That is kind of an odd origin I suppose… but long story short, I have been singing for a very long time.
Why do you think your name truly represents this group and the music that you create?
I think that a band’s name is given meaning by the actions of the band. In that way I feel like MOTOGRATER means what ever it means because of all the things this band has done over the years and the music it has created. That – and we actually have a homemade springed/percussion instrument that’s made of heavy cable, cranks, and gears called a Motograter that we play and record with.
I always like to ask artists how their hometown has been an influence on the kind of music they make and really what kind of a band they are today. So how do you think your hometown of Santa Barbara has affected you?
I am not from Santa Barbara myself. Most of the band is from that area but I am from North Carolina. I can only really speak about my experience. I have lived in Raleigh, NC for a few years now but before that I lived in a little town called Autryville, NC. It is in the middle of nowhere. I feel like growing up in the sticks like that causes you to really use your imagination. There isn’t much else to do. I was always drawn in by theatrical bands and vocalists. I was interested in the kind of strange altered reality they seemed to exist in.. It seemed so much more awesome than my life living in the woods.
Let’s talk about your newest album, “Desolation” that just came out. What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the whole process?
Putting this album together was awesome! Well, Of course It was not always awesome. A few times we didn’t even think it was ever going to come out. To be honest I would have to say the thing that surprises me the most Is that It is actually coming out at all. haha, I mean lets face it… It took a lot of years for this thing to finally happen. It was a lot of hard work but we’re proud of it and glad it’s finally been released.
I read that the art for “Desolation” was created by comic book artist Mister-Sam Shearon. How did this happen and what was it like having him do the art for your album?
He had done the art work for another band we are friends with, American Head Charge. He was very easy to work with and we really dig the finished product.
What was it like filming your music video for “Dorian” at the Ohio State Reformatory where Shawshank Redemption was filmed? How creatively involved are you all when it comes to making your videos?
Filming in the prison was incredible. That building has more character than any place I have ever been. After I left at 5am after having shot all night long, it still resonated with me. The place really stuck with me for a couple of days. It kind of felt like I was still in there. I was very involved with the shooting of the video. I kind of felt like a director for a bit there. It was fun. Anything beyond that was all our producer and director, Christopher Davis from Humantwelve.
How do you think that Motograter has grown over the years and since your previous two EPs and your self-titled album? What has remained the same?
The band has changed a great deal over the years. Lots of new members and new music that reflects the passing years – but continual growth. What’s remained the same is we do still have the Motograter itself… and Matt “Nuke” Nunes, our guitarist.
How has your summer been going? You’re gearing up for a fall tour – Where are you excited to play once September rolls around?
Summer has been good, staying busy. We just performed at the “Ink In The Clink” festival in Ohio, which was great. We are very excited to play all of the shows we have coming up in the fall. Also excited for Halloween and all the pumpkin stuff. ;o)
You have toured with some of the best in your format of music so I am curious to know what that has been like for the band? What have you learned from all your years of touring?
I have learned a lot from all the bands we have been on the road with. It has really been an honor for me. Some of these bands are bands that I had great respect for even prior to touring with them. It has been surreal, getting to know and share a stage with these acts.
Where do you think you are happiest – on stage performing, in the studio recording new music or elsewhere?
I am the happiest on stage. I feel like I was born to perform.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Is there anyone that you would still love to work with in the future? What would be a dream collaboration for this band?
My favorite band is Nine Inch Nails. I am also a big fan of Deftones, Tool, and Slipknot. For me I would like to work with Trent Reznor of NIN. That is me being selfish though, haha! For the band as a whole I would imagine Slipknot would be the best band for us to work with. That or Five Finger Death Punch. Clearly, the band have a lot of history there.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
I am not sure there is any one thing that I want people to take away from our music. I really just hope that it speaks to people on a personal level. I hope that people hear my lyrics and can relate to them and it helps put their own problems into words and makes them feel connected and not alone.
What advice would you give to a band just getting started? Or even to someone young that is thinking of becoming a musician one day?
I get this question all the time. Usually I like to say… “Give Up”! Of course, that’s a smart ass answer that I give to get a laugh. Really, I think my advice would be… Its a long way to the top… if you want to Rock N’ Roll. You have to really want it, and being willing to work your ass off and persevere through tough times if you want to be a successful band.
Motograter – Desolation Tour
9/19 – Titanfest (Headliner) – Fife, WA
9/27 – Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA
9/28 – Club Red – Mesa, AZ
9/29 – Top Deck – Farmington, NM
10/3 – Rail Club – Fort Worth, TX
10/4 – Come And Take It Live – Austin, TX
10/6 – Come And Take It Live – Austin, TX
10/8 – Southport Music Hall – New Orleans, LA
10/10 – The Dungeon Tavern – Panama City, FL
10/12 – O’Malley’s – Margate, FL
10/13 – The Haven – Winter Park, FL
10/15 – The Drunk Horse Pub – Fayetteville, NC
10/19 – Canal Club – Richmond, VA
10/20 – Fish Head Cantina – Halethorpe, MD
10/21 – Dingbatz – Clifton, NJ
10/22 – The Lost Horizon – Syracuse, NY
10/23 – Amityville Music Hall – Amityville, NY
10/25 – Reverb – Reading, PA
10/28 – Stage On Herr – Harrisburg, PA
10/30 – Trixie’s Entertainment Complex – Louisville, KY
11/1 – The Token Lounge – Westland, MI
11/3 – Route 20 – Strurtevant, WI
11/4 – Top Fuel Saloon – Braidwood, IL
11/5 – The Firebird – St. Louis, MO
11/10 – Dr. Jack’s Drinkery – Omaha, NEB
11/12 – Herman’s Hideaway – Denver, CO
11/18 – Malone’s Bar – Santa Ana, CA