December 4, 2014 Interview – Chris Motionless of Motionless in White
Blazing one’s own path and sticking to their own visions is one of the biggest challenges anyone can face. For Scranton, PA based band Motionless in White, that reality is faced with their unique blend of Metal, Industrial, Gothic, and everything in between. Storming onto the Heavy music scene with their debut full-length album Creatures in 2010 was just a sample size of the band’s talents, which has grown with each passing release as they have risen in popularity. Becoming veterans in a short period of time, with tireless touring, intense songwriting, and vivid imagery, Motionless in White are a household name with extreme music fans of all ages. Looking to push the envelope even further creatively, with their latest album Reincarnate the band shatters expectations and has achieved their highest charted release to date. Recently we sat down with lead vocalist/songwriter Chris Motionless for an introspective look at life perspective, remaining stead-fast with his artistic vision, Horror movies, and much more.
CrypticRock.com – Motionless In White came together almost a decade ago and has really grown since the release of your debut EP The Whorror. Tell us a bit about the road traveled thus far for the band?
Chris Motionless – It has been a fucking long, hard road; I will say that. We basically have just been touring our asses off since we started touring. We never wanted to be a band that took a lot of time off. We were constantly trying to figure out where we could be touring and whether it be the USA, or Europe, or South America, or whatever, we are always touring. That has been our most constant thing we have done as a band. Over the years we have put out three records and a couple of EP’s. The only time we are ever really off is when we are writing or recording a record. It has just been non-stop pretty much since we started doing the full-time touring circuit. At this point, I am so used to that being my lifestyle, to have off time and go home, is just weird to me. We are road rats and that is just how it is and how it is going to be for the next bunch of years. It has been quite a journey.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, as you said, you have really kept yourself busy throughout the years. Honestly, that seems to be the way a band must be nowadays days to be successful because as far as people buying records, nowadays that is non-existent. People do not really buy records; it is all about touring and getting your name out there and building fans that way.
Chris Motionless – Yes, we definitely live in a disposable generation where if you are not keeping your band out there, relevant, and in people’s faces at all time, they are just going to move on to the next band. People do not hold on to music and bands anymore, they are just not as sacred anymore. There are fifteen other bands that sound just like you do and they are trying to take your spot on someone else’s shelf, and they are going to do it if you do not get out there, do your thing, and constantly put yourself in front of everybody. Unfortunately, that is the world that we are a part of. We realize that and try our best to just challenge that, stay relevant, and do what we got to do. It definitely does get complicated some times.
CrypticRock.com – That is completely understandable. The band’s style and sound has always had strong Gothic music textures involved in the music with a touch of a Horror theme. How important is it to you to have these two aspects part of the music?
Chris Motionless – It has always been an organic thing for us; we never thought we have to do this because this is in the rule book of what we have to do. It is nothing like that, it has more been that these are our interests and this is what we are into. This is what we want to found the band on; this type of sound, this type of image, and these subject matters. It always just ends up being our go-to and part of our sound is what makes our band our band. It has just been what it has been founded on. It has never been an effort outside of that. It is where we were from the beginning.
CrypticRock.com- Right, and as stated, the band really has grown since you first started. There has been maturity in the band’s sound and also in your voice, which has grown dramatically. One thing that has always been prevalent is the strong lyrical content which really sets Motionless In White apart from others. You unapologetically touch on social issues and there is a level of sincerity in your approach that really grabs listeners. How important to you is it to get your message across through your words?
Chris Motionless – I am definitely a fan of some music that does not take that kind of approach. I love music of all different styles and lyrics of all different styles, but for me personally, I have always just been the kind of guy that I would not be able to live with myself if I was not writing about something that was coming from the heart or that did not feel entirely sincere and honest. Of course I write some songs that are these fictional stories and just dumb humorous things that are meant to be fun; there are a few tracks on the records that are like that. For the most part, I have always been the kind of person that really has a lot to say about some things and I really want to use the music as that outlet because you can write something online, and if you write it down people are going to read it, but if someone is fucking saying something to you then you are going to listen, for the most part, and that is just my outlet of doing that.
I have always found solace in writing about things that I felt very deeply about and towards. Thankfully I have this band to do it and I have never really held back from writing anything that I wanted to write and, basically, people seem to appreciate that. It is good to be recognized for that. That is just how I am going to continue to write. I like that I can do that and that I can also write the not so serious stuff and still add a touch of humor and entertainment to our band that keeps us a little bit from going in one direction entirely.
CrypticRock.com – Exactly, and that is what kept Motionless in White extremely interesting and actually even more interesting as time has gone on, because there is a delicate balance between too serious and too silly. You really have that perfect balance of humor and as well as seriousness involved in the music.
Chris Motionless – I cannot tell you how much I appreciate being acknowledged for that. I think a lot of the younger fans do not realize that. They kind of just read into everything way too much and many fans criticize the music without really stepping back and seeing it for what it is; that we are trying to mix the two and do exactly like what you said and not be too serious or too silly. We are a band, we are trying to have fun and that is what music is about. It is supposed to be fun and entertaining and we fully embrace that.
CrypticRock.com – Completely, and in 2012 you released your third full-length studio album Infamous. This record took many dedicated fans by surprise, but it also grabbed the attention of a whole new audience. The record definitely sees Motionless In White take a great leap forward. Now you released Reincarnate back on September 15th. What was the writing and recording process like for this record?
Chris Motionless – This one was amazing for me. Out of all the records and all the EP’s that we have done, I have always been really stressed out. As the main writer of the music, lyrics, singing, and everything with the band, a lot of the weight of everything that is written falls on me. The main writers of the band are Ricky and myself and there is a lot of weight on us to create these songs that carry our band and our career on its back. The last couple of records, especially Infamous, were some of the lowest points in my life where I was consumed by the stress level of everything. I did not really like myself. I like the songs that came out of it. I am proud of the songs on the record as a whole, but there were a lot of internal disappointments and a lot of internal problems that just really grabbed hold of me and pulled me down. This record, thankfully, was the complete opposite of that, I felt like no matter what I did I could not stop writing songs I liked. We had to cut songs at the end because we had too many and that was even hard to do because I really loved the songs that we had cut. That being this experience this time around was very weird for me.
On top of that we worked with people this time around that really knew what the fuck they were doing. Last time we worked with one of the producers, Tim Skold, which was really amazing. The other guy that we worked with was just not as professional as we would have liked, we did not see eye to eye, and the record came out in a way that we did not want it to. This time was not like that . This time we worked with someone that was very particular about making sure that I was comfortable and getting exactly what I wanted. All around, everything about this process with Reincarnate was fucking awesome and it just helped out tremendously in the creation of the record and the recording. I think that you can hear that there is a lot of fun stuff on this record that would not have come along if I was not was as unhappy while doing it.
CrypticRock.com – Yes and it definitely shows in the final product. The record is very good and takes things to the next level from Infamous. It has a lot of different textures and you really introduce a lot of Industrial type sounds in this record. It really has a great sound.
Chris Motionless – Thank you. We definitely wanted to fully embrace that Industrial sound of the band were we stopped caring about what would the Warped Tour fans think, what are these people going to think, and we just said this is who we are and this is what we wanted to do for a long time. We dove into it on Infamous and we take it to where we wanted to on this record. I think people are actually liking it based on what I have heard so far.
CrypticRock.com – That is great, now you have mentioned about the stress and when you have down times in life. That is really something that wears on a person whether you are in a band or whatever you are doing when you are trying to succeed. What is the key for you to keep persevering and going forward when sometimes you feel like you just want to give up.
Chris Motionless – Well for me, going back to the lowest point I have ever been in was the entire process from the beginning to the finished product of Infamous was the worst. At the same time I am the kind of person that I am not going to fucking sit there and feel bad for myself. I am not a woe is me kind of artist. I do not sit there and look in the mirror and say, “My life is so fucking hard because I cannot write these songs.” I look at myself in the mirror and say, “You are doing a job that millions of people wish that they could be doing, you have a golden opportunity right in front of you, you work hard. Why are you going to give up, why are you going to cry about now. Just man-up and do your job. This is what you wanted.” You just look at yourself and think this is what you wanted, fucking do something about it. That has always been my approach anytime that anything has gotten hard.
I just remember and remind myself that I chose this. Whether it is writing a song being a pain in the ass, or missing my family, or anything that comes along with what I sacrificed to do this, I remind myself that this is what I chose to do. So I embrace it, man-up about it, and fucking carve through. It has always seemed to pull me out from that point on that I start doing that. It has made me a stronger person, but also maybe it has made me a bit more numb as a person too. I just stopped feeling negative or having depressing thoughts about all of things, because I just flushed that out of me. I look at myself and tell myself the reality.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, that is a good approach to have. That definitely builds internal strength and is the key to life in general, just having that internal strength, just going for it, and doing what you have to do.
Chris Motionless –Yeah I think that is the key to success; that you can separate the downfalls and downsides of your life and find the positivity in the path that you did choose to go in. That has always been such a big help for me. We were talking about before, these low points in life, it helps you call it out when you look at things in a good way. I do not want to be a negative thinking person anymore. I just want to think positively and and forwardly, and that is the way I want to go.
Crypticrock.com- That is a good way to be. It is very obvious that you have a very in-depth knowledge of musical influence from a lot of different places. What are some of your musical influences?
Chris Motionless – Yes, I started listening to heavy music when I was introduced to Metallica. My influences are very vast and wide because I fortunately have been “blessed” to like multiple, different styles of music. I have discover that I just do not stick to Metal or just Punk. I could like anything and I think that has helped me with writing songs because I can pull from so many different styles of influences that I like. I started listening to Metallica, then came the Misfits, then came AFI, and AFI introduced me to The Cure, Morrissey, The Smiths, and then Depeche Mode. This whole world or circle of bands was introducing me to the next band and a new style of music. I was very quickly listening to multiple styles of music that I could not get enough of because I just loved music. I am a music lover overall and that has really helped shape me into what I ultimately am or what I use to write music.
Of course at one point you have to pick a path or a direction when you choose to be a band. I have a hard time doing that. That is why you will hear a lot of different sounds from one record because I just cannot live with myself writing shred song after shred song. It has to be varied for me. I cannot write just one single style, I have to vary it up. You will hear it on Reincarnate, it goes from really fast songs to toned down a little bit more anthem or like radio songs, to then a solely electronic song, but they all work. That is what I like about us and our records, that they all seem to work with each other and not against each other. If you want to talk about specific musical influences and bands, you have got Metallica, Misfits, AFI, The Cure, Morrissey, The Smiths like I mentioned before, then you have Marilyn Manson, Korn, Slipknot, Rammstein, and Rob Zombie. There are so many different bands in that realm that we pull our influences from. It is all over the place. Then you have Industrial bands like KMFDM and stuff like that, that has always been a big interest of mine. I think you will hear all that kind of stuff on Reincarnate.
Crypticrock.com – Yes, you definitely do hear all of those influences on the new record. It is refreshing to hear someone that is very open about music and not afraid to incorporate that in the music. My last question for you is pertaining to Horror movies. CrypticRock.com covers music and Horror films. If you are a fan of Horror films, what are some of your favorite Horror films?
Chris Motionless – My favorite has, and will always, be the original Halloween (1978) movie. That to me is just the benchmark Slasher for Horror. It always has been, it is never going to be touched. I did really like the Rob Zombie remake a lot, but of course the original is never going to be beaten for me. Halloween is my favorite, but I really like The Lost Boys (1987). That is probably my second favorite; a close tie up there with Halloween. Those two have just always been my go to movies as my favorites; the ones that I always gravitate towards. I also like a lot of the remake movies that have recently come out like the remake of The Amityville Horror (2005) that came out a couple of years ago. I really like the movie that came out in 2012, The Cabin in the Woods. That was totally one of the most clever, amazing approaches to Horror movies that I have ever seen. Halloween, The Lost Boys, and The Cabin in the Woods are my top three favorites.
CrypticRock.com – The Cabin in the Woods was actually very unique like you said. It was different than what everyone else was doing and really takes you on a few twists and turns. It has that good balance of humor in there that I think a Horror movie actually needs.
Chris Motionless – For sure, I was so confused the whole movie. I was not negatively confused. I was not thinking what the fuck is happening. I was just thinking I could not wait to see what happens next because I thought what is going on, this so weird, and then at the end, the grand finale of the movie happened and ends with all those characters being let loose on the world of humans. I thought this is the coolest fucking thing I have ever seen. I was laughing and enjoying it so much. I do not even know how to talk about it. It was so cool, so clever, and unique. I really enjoyed it for that reason, it was one of the more refreshing movies that I have seen come out in a while. I liked Insidious (2011) and The Conjuring (2013), but The Cabin in the Woods was rad, because it was so different. It was funny, but very serious and scary at the same time.