|Punchy Power Pop for Post-Generation X
Ed Guardaro - July 5, 2012
A long time ago, the founding members
of Motive were shredding through jazzlead sheets and getting carted
across the U.S. and Europe to showcase their young talent. Nowadays,
Motive populates a different scene. Erupting from a Clinton Hill
practice space onto stages and club circuits around the city, the band
is taking NYC – and the internet – by storm. In the dawn of a
quintessential political election, their song “Nobody Eats Dinner” was
synced to clips of Mitt Romney at his worst. This video went viral and
with it, Motive. Their music is masterfully layered and meticulously
produced. With a new age, larger than life sound that slowly seeps
intoyour brain, it’s hard not to hum the enchanting hook of “What’s So
Bad” right before drifting into a rock and roll daydream.
Where are you guys from and how did you come together as a
Three of us grew up in Seattle (Nick, Chris, and Andrew), and we
starting playing jazz at school together from the age of 14, which
brought us to competitions in New York and a European tour in '05.
After high school we came back east to study music, and Nick's first
NYU roommate, Dave, was a veteran classical piano player. We started
rehearsing in the coldest garage available, in Clinton Hill, and Motive
was shoved from the uterus of obscurity into the beautiful world of
When creating songs, does one of you come to the group with an
idea, or is it more of a collaborative process?
Nick is the primary song writer, although the entire band writes.
Usually, someone comes with an idea, or pieces or an idea, and the band
works out the other parts. We like it to be collaborative, and its
pretty easy to hear each member's individual voice. The great thing
about the collaborative effort is the compromise, and that can be heard
in the parts. That tension/release really makes the band work well
You’re video for “What’s So Bad” features your heads singing
on four sides of cardboard boxes, what inspired this visually stunning
The amazing Daniel Etura (director) came up with the original concept.
He's from Madrid, and we still have not ever met him in person. All of
the work we did was through english/spanish emails, which Ari (our
manager) did a great job handling. There was a lot of back and forth
(across the Atlantic) - we shot all of our heads in Brooklyn, and
Daniel filmed everything else in Madrid. We feel like
musicians are often put in a box, so we wanted to get in one and see
how it felt. It wasn't as bad as it seems.
Your EP “Motive” is produced to near perfection. Could you
briefly describe the recording process and how you got such a crisp
We got that sound by recording multiple takes of each song, all live
minus the vocals, until will got one or two that we all felt sounded
together and captured what we wanted out of the song. Once that was
accomplished, Gary did a great job of helping us mix and tinker with
the tracks until we got the overall sound we were happy with. We're
glad you're happy with it, too.
Your song, “Nobody Eats Dinner” was featured in a politically
charged video, “Nobody Loves Me: A Mitt Romney Music Video” how far do
politics play in your songs?
We never intended for that song to have any political meaning, but we
support anyone who wants to use our music for good.
You once tweeted, “Just fell in a pot hole in front of 3 cops
and a whole bus stop full of people. A woman said, ‘mmm he cute but he
clumssyyyy.’” As a band, onstage or off, have you had any other
memorable moments like this?
It seems like we have good and bad moments like that all the time.
After a show in Chicago, we were invited to a house party, but after
sitting in this girl's car for ten minutes trying to figure out why the
keys wouldn't work, it turned out we were all crammed in a stranger's
car that happened to be unlocked. Also, Dave frequently holds doors and
winks at long haired men who he thinks are women.
"We started rehearsing in the coldest garage available, in Clinton Hill, and Motive was shoved from the uterus of obscurity into the beautiful world of also obscurity."
"What's So Bad?/Lay Some Light"
A crisp modern take on an age-old rock formula.
For those who like: The Strokes, The Ambassadors, Interpol.