By: Stephanie Stevens
I remember back in the day being introduced to the guys in MOTOGRATER at the Worcester Palladium. One thing that stood out were the guys were very kind and were cool enough to show me how the MOTOGRATER instrument was used and how to play it. Probably one of the cooler happenings in my life.
It’s been many years since that day but anytime the band name is mentioned that is my first memory of them and how down to earth they were at our interview. For some of you living under a rock MOTOGRATER started out with Ivan Moody and the debut self-titled album was released back in 2003 with the hit SUFFOCATE and DOWN.
This new release DESOLATION is the band’s first full-length album since the 2003 Elektra/No Name self-titled release. Now fronting the band is James Anthony Legion (Deadform/The Breathing Process). With the bands hiatus and some front man changes they are finally a secured and powerful line up with Legion leading and the rest of the band – Matthew “Nuke” Nunes – Guitar, Jesse Stamper – Guitar, Mylon Guy – Bass, Noah “Shark” Robertson – Drums, Dustin “Skunk” Anderson – Motograter, Joey Vice – Smurs/Samples/Vocals giving him the dark metal/rock backdrop he needs for the even mixture of gritty and clean vocals.
DESOLATION is a record that bleeds the blood sweat and tears of the band. Fans who have stuck by them will be appeased by the record. The MOTOGRATER sound is still there; dark, heavy, melodic and the sound uniqueness filters through from start to finish.
The band gave you a taste with a single/video of PARASITE (produced by Brian Cox of Flarelight Films (Gemini Syndrome/Hollywood Undead). PARASITE also features guest keys/samples from Justin Fowler (of American Head Charge) long before the album came out and even toured a bit to get you guys ready for DESOLATION. Now that the album has been released, everyone’s ears can hear it – and from the rock/metal charts the fans worldwide are loving what the band created. One track I was a huge fan of was BLEEDING THROUGH, which shows off more of a singing quality and just a simple melody driven track – but yet has a “big sounding” display of dark rock.
The band’s second single DORIAN is climbing the charts and a new video will debut this week. For now, the guys keep plugging away on the road and they won’t be letting up anytime soon.
I had a chance to chat with drummer Noah “shark” Robertson about the hiatus, the video for DORIAN and what songs he is most proud of off the album.
You guys have been on quite a hiatus. After finding your new singer, why did it take so long for the album to be written and to come out?
Number of reasons for that… It took a while to gather the finances. Also, our producer is in a touring band himself. We have been touring a lot and we wanted to make sure this album was the best it could be.
The band as a whole has gone through a few different singers. Was it a lack of the commitment that made the band change? Or do you specifically look for something in a singer to front this band?
It definitely takes a special person to front this band… we are constantly changing and evolving. This is the most solid line-up this band has had in a long time.
With new singer James Legion how has the lyrical content changed? How has James enhanced the sound of the band? The lyrics seem deeper and darker on the new album “Desolation”.
Legion is a great lyricist. We all made every effort to keep the classic Moto vibe with a modern twist. The lyrical content isn’t too far from the first album, just an evolution and continuation…
Since this band first created the MOTOGRATER (the instrument) how has it evolved over time?
The MOTOGRATER is sacred to this band. We don’t give away too much info on it… But the sound has grown and evolved along with the band.
Does the MOTOGRATER factor into the writing of music and overall songwriting in general? Could you start a song idea from a sound from it like a guitar riff?
The MOTOGRATER doesn’t factor too much into the song writing these days… But behind the scenes, some really cool Moto jams have occurred.
Which song from “Desolation” are you most proud of? What makes that song so special?
For me it’s “DAGGERS” and “LOCUST”. Very cool songs, drum wise. Fun to play – and extremely catchy.
The tribal paint is a big part of your stage presence. Why does it have enduring meaning for the band and has it changed, or will it change, with each new album you produce?
The paint is a tradition, like many things in this band. We take it very seriously. We experiment and add things here and there… recently we have been bringing the color red back more prominently.
You guys did a tour (which I saw you on) before the album came out. How was it being back on the road and what new dynamic has James brought to the stage that is new and refreshing that long time MOTOGRATER fans will appreciate?
He is creepy! Very scary on stage. Legion has a very intense stage presence, you never know what he’s going to do… I’ve seen him flipping and flying through the air and crowd surfing… Being on the road is a very rewarding experience. It’s insanely tough, but our fans make it worth it.
Your new single “Dorian” has already hit the Billboard Indicator Rock charts after a short period of time. How does it feel knowing that all your hard work is being appreciated by fans and music critics out there, especially with such a long period between albums?
It’s the best feeling in the world. We put everything into this. The response so far has been overwhelming, and we are really grateful.
When will we be seeing the video for “DORIAN”? Why did you pick the old prison setting for the video shoot?
The prison was gnarly! So scary and dark, we had to shoot there! We played “Ink In The Clink” recently and we just knew we had to make a video shoot happen while in Mansfield (Ohio). Being in there, you could just feel the history. The video should be out any day now – It will blow your mind! Chris from Human Twelve is a great director!
You’re heading out on tour in September – any cities in particular that you are looking forward to playing?
Kansas City always; Dallas is rad. The Midwest is good to us, so we love playing there.
Any Last comments – something you haven’t shared in other interviews?
Moto lives – Thanks for all the continued love and support! Pick up a copy of ‘DESOLATION’!
Let’s end with a game of “This or That”: pick one from each question below, and explain why you picked it.
Pepsi or Coke? Diet Coke
Summer or Winter tours? Summer.
Small Clubs or Big Festivals? Love those intimate shows at small clubs.
Pizza or Sushi? Pizza.
Puppies or Kitties? Sharks.
Friday the 13th or Halloween? Mike Myers – Halloween!