Motionless in White’s Chris Motionless Says Pain Is Where Art Flourishes
Motionless in White mastermind Chris Motionless was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. He discussed the band's newest album, Scoring the End of the World, and how therapeutic the writing sessions were for him. The themes are a bit apocalyptic and the musician expressed that expressions of pain help art to flourish.
Motionless views writing a positive impact on mental states for both him and fans, who find catharsis in hearing your own emotions reflected by another in such powerful music. It's a connection that's vital to the band as they aim to relate to fans on various levels as they continue to climb the ladder of success and increase in popularity. "We will never abandon or give up" striving for ways to maintain that connection, he affirms.
Read the full interview below.
Scoring the End of the World is out now and it's a pessimistic, even apocalyptic album. What makes hopelessness and despair creatively appealing?
I've always found that that is where the true depth of honesty and sincerity in my music has come from. I do enjoy writing songs that are just fun and uplifting and just generally happy, but the ones that seem to hit with fans or [the ones that] seem to be my favorite songs, it's always the ones where you're pulling from the depths of something tragic or some life experience that was really tough.
Then you have the music and the lyrics as the outlet to deal with those things. I think that's how fans interpret it as well. I feel like most art across the world that is highly regarded and all these masterpieces are some sort of story of pain beneath them. That's just kind of where art flourishes.
Brian Garris from Knocked Loose and Caleb Shomo from Beartooth both appear on Scoring the End of the World. How do outside collaborators magnify aspects of the music that are inherently you?
When you have a person on a song, it gives a second life to a track. You get a cool moment of the song where, even though you like the band that you're listening to, there's just something about a feature that really kind of makes your head turn or your ears perk up.
There's an excitement level that gives the song a moment beyond what the band itself can do. I I've always been a fan of features, especially if I'm a fan of the artist, I anxiously await that moment of the song. I sit by just salivating, "Oh God, I can't wait for the bridge or the second verse where they're going to come in."
It's such an exciting component to a song that definitely makes it have something beyond what the band could do itself. With these two guys on these tracks, especially Caleb on "Red, White and Boom," it's so exciting when he comes in and you're finally like, "Yes, the rock star has arrived. Caleb is here, let's go."
Motionless in White, "Red, White & Boom" (ft. Caleb Shomo)
The band built its reputation on heavy music, but more tender songs are becoming prevalent for you. What's empowering about broadening the musical parameters of the band?
I have to thank the fans for that. We started as a very heavy band and we, we had songs that were not as heavy, but it seems like the fans kind of gravitated toward those tracks that were a little bit more melodic where the lyrics captured the emotions that they were feeling.
It's a way for us to expand our sound. We never want to abandon the roots of the band — the heavy stuff. There are songs that are really heavy on this record and this is heavier than our last two records. We always make sure that we keep that component as part of the band, but it's really cool for us to get to explore songs such as "Werewolf," where it's an '80s theatrical thriller, 20/20 kind of song.
It gives us a way to create in a way where we're not ever going to get bored and where we're constantly pushing ourselves to try new things. I love that we don't get stuck in quicksand.
Motionless in White, "Werewolf"
Mental health awareness has become very relevant. What aspects of making the new album and being in this band are unexpectedly therapeutic for you?
I only have therapy sessions once a week, so when I'm working on an album, I have therapy sessions all day, every day, for better or worse. Writing the lyrics is that [therapeutic] moment and it's why I listen to music and why I've been a fan of music for my whole life. I wanted to be in it because I was an angry teenager who wanted to play punk music or heavy music and let out that frustration.
Although I might not be as angry anymore on this record, there were sure as hell a lot of things around the world to be pretty angry about.
I recognize how much music really is an outlet for myself on this record, as well as recognizing that fans find it to be a very therapeutic scenario to put on an album and have someone essentially sing your feelings. I loved when I put on records that were like that. It's a very cathartic experience. It's therapy every day — you get to sit with yourself and solve problems. Even if you're just feeling like you just want to be shrouded in despair that day, then go ahead. That's kind of healthy in its own way. That's how I approach it.
How Chris Motionless Learned to Scream
Release parties give people a chance to hear the new album and interact with the band. Why is face to face contact with your audience so important to you?
We're a band that's, all for one, one for all. Although things have certainly gotten more distant just by organic nature of the beast, so to speak where, we can't just walk out at a festival into the crowd and be like, "What's up?" It's just not how it works anymore. We try to organize any type of way that we can to come face to face and have that moment with the fans that says, "Hey, we're real people. We may be on a stage, but we're on there because of your support. So let's find a way to hang out and share this together."
That's something that we will never abandon or give up. We really want to try to find those ways where we can get the face time and let people in. A lot of bands don't do that. We want fans to see the full dimension and the full dynamic of what the band is. It's cool now with the internet because there's so many ways to do that. You have days like a release party where we're going just party with fans and have a great time. It's so cool to be able to do that.
Thanks to Chris Motionless for the interview. Get your copy of Motionless in White's new album 'Scoring the End of the World' here and follow the band on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Spotify. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.