Motograter, ‘Dorian’ – Exclusive Video Premiere + Interview
Motograter are back with new music! The band just released their first new album since 2003's self-titled effort and they're teaming up with Loudwire to bring you the exclusive premiere of their new video for "Dorian."
The clip, seen above, was directed by Chris Davis and finds the band performing inside the famous Ohio State Reformatory where many films had been shot over the years. Frontman James Legion says of the track, "This song is the first real single the band has released in many years. For it to be doing so well at Active Rock Radio is really awesome. It was interesting and fun to get to shoot the video for it in the Ohio State Reformatory. That place has so much character. We are very thankful to the staff for letting us stay all night and work."
In addition to the video premiere, we recently spoke with with drummer Noah "Shark" Robertson about the band's new album Desolation (available at iTunes), the video itself and some of the key tracks on the disc. Check out the chat below.
Congrats on the new album. I know it’s been a journey to get to this point, with the band reforming in 2014 with James on vocals. Can you discuss what touched off the reunion and when you knew that it was the right time to approach a new album?
Everything we have done and are currently doing, is driven by the fans. There was still a huge demand out there for new Motograter music and we wanted to give it to them. It was inevitable that Motograter would rise again, it just needed to be the right time. Around 2013, a perfect storm of events happened and the gears were set in motion once more. The Moto machine just can't be stopped!
Can you discuss the process of finding singer James Legion and what made him the right guy for the job?
A former member of Motograter actually suggested James to the band... Legion, as we call him, was in a group called Deadform. We were sent a music video he had done with the group and the rest is history ... We sent him a demo of one of our songs and he recorded some vocals for it and sent it back and we knew right then he was our man. He is an amazing lyricist and he has a natural ability to generate truly haunting melodies. His vocal range is quite impressive as well. Perfect frontman for this new version of Moto.
Take me inside the process of making the Desolation album. Did you have an idea what you wanted before going in or was it more of a process that came together as you recorded? What was your vision of what you wanted out of this album and now that it’s ready do you feel you accomplished it?
We knew that we didn't want to stray too far from the classic Motograter vibe, but with a fresh approach. It was a conscious effort to create an album that was true to our roots, but with an added "modern" twist to it. We definitely feel we achieved that with 'Desolation'. Our producer Ahrue Luster from Ill Nino really helped the process along. He's an excellent songwriter, producer and musician.
It was chaotic at times, with members flying all over the country to record their parts, but it came together nicely. There were a lot of awesome people working on this album with us and without their help, Desolation wouldn't be what it is. Josh Wickman was monumental in helping this album to take shape as well, among others. It was an exciting process seeing these songs come to life and transform from pre-production demos to full fledged studio tracks.
The song “Dorian” is a solid track. Where did the song come in the process of putting the album together and is there anything you can share about the creation of the song?
The song "Dorian" has a really unique story actually. It started as a completely different song. Before going into the studio, we had a song written and it was much, much heavier. When James arrived in Colorado and began recording vocals with Ahrue, they were trying some different things and experimenting a bit and the song transformed into what you hear today. We knew right away that this song would be a great "radio" song and would end up being one of the singles. We are throwing around the idea of recording the original song at some point in the future.
The video for “Dorian” was shot at the Ohio State Reformatory where they did Shawshank Redemption and other films. Can you share your thoughts on the video shoot and what it was like walking into such a familiar location?
Recording the video for "Dorian" was a surreal experience for all of us. We knew we needed to get a video made to help promote the new album and single, but the Moto members are somewhat spread out all over the country. The logistics of getting a video made is a little tricky for us. When we found out we'd be traveling to Mansfield, Ohio to perform at “Ink In The Clink," we recognized an amazing opportunity. The album was dropping not too long after the festival. We were sort of scrambling, to be honest but it somehow all came together.
We reached out to video director Chris Davis (Human Twelve) and he agreed to make the trip out to Mansfield and shoot the video. It almost didn't happen! Chris couldn't make it out until late at night, he drove something like six or seven hours to get to us. By the time we had everything setup and ready to go, the festival was shutting down. They were literally trying to get rid of us, just as we were about to start filming. We thought the video shoot was doomed. The staff had been working around the clock for three days and were ready to shut everything down and go home.
If it wasn't for our hero, Mike, one of the staff members at the Ohio State Reformatory, the music video wouldn't have happened at all. He agreed to stay and supervise the shoot and ended up staying there with us until around six or seven in the morning when we finally finished shooting. The prison is insanely spooky and creepy. You can just feel the history in that place. It was the absolute perfect location for a Motograter music video. We are extremely pleased with the results, it turned out better than we could have hoped for.
Another solid track off this album is “Parasite.” Can you share a little about the track and where it came from?
The track "Parasite" is one of the very first songs we completed as a band. The song came from riffs and demos Nuke and Mylon put together before the recording process even began. Once I moved out to California to join the band and the three of us got in a room together, the songs really began to take shape. We knew immediately that "Parasite" would make the album. It was one of the first new songs we began performing live and it was the first official release off of Desolation. It just has the best of everything Moto has to offer. It's brutal and heavy, but it is also beautiful and melodic.
You worked with Ahrue Luster of Ill Nino on this album. What does it mean to have someone who also has that experience of being in a band as your producer, and can you discuss what Ahrue brought to the process?
Working with Ahrue was awesome. He really brought a lot to the table. Before the actual recording process began, we flew him out to California to spend a week with the band and we spent countless hours in the rehearsal room, hashing out these tunes. He really helped fine tune everything, he has a great ear. It's great that he isn't just a producer, but a talented musician as well. He really helped these songs evolve. With us touring a lot and him touring with Ill Nino, it didn't help the process move as fast as we would've wished, but ultimately everything worked out and we created a solid album together. He is a huge Star Wars fan, as am I, and so during the process of making Desolation our motto was "The Moto Awakens." We wanted to please the old school fans, but give new listeners something to latch onto. I feel confident we achieved that.
The cover art has a distinctive look, thanks to Mister-Sam Shearon. How did you connect with the artist and what direction was given?
We first became aware of Sam Shearon because of American Head Charge. He did the cover of their Tango Umbrella album. It was really eye catching. Once we did some research, we knew we had to work with him. He is a gifted artist and his creations are really dark and imaginative. We communicated the lyrics and themes contained in the songs on Desolation and a narrative started to form. A lot of death and decay and "end of the world" type of imagery. Fear of death, fear of dying, fear of aging and decaying. The raven or crow sort of became the "harbinger of death" in the Desolation storyline... a sign of things to come.
You’re hitting the road this fall. What are some of the songs you’re most looking forward to working into the set off the new album, and why do those songs stand out to you in the live setting?
We are looking forward to hitting the road and reconnecting with our fans and making new ones along the way. The “Desolation” Tour is coming up soon! We are excited at the prospect of playing more new material than old material for the first time. We have been performing "Portrait of Decay," "Parasite" and "Paragon" live for a while now. Most recently, we added "Dorian" and "Daggers" into the set, which was a lot of fun. I think we are most looking forward to adding "Misanthropical" and "Locust" into the live set, because those songs are so heavy and have so much energy. It's the heavier songs that really get the crowd moving and we really feed off of the energy of the audience.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else you’d like to share with the fans before we wrap up?
We just want to thank everybody for the continued love and support, and especially Loudwire for talking with us about Desolation and premiering the “Dorian” video! It's been a long, hard road to see Desolation come to light and we appreciate the positive response we have received so far. Moto lives! The gears keep turning and turning...
Our thanks to Motograter's Noah "Shark" Robertson for the chat. You can pick up Motograter's 'Desolation' album via iTunes. The band will be heading out on the "Desolation Tour" this fall. See their scheduled dates listed below. And keep up to date with all things Motograter via their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Motograter Fall 2017 Desolation Tour
Sept. 19 – Fife, Wash. @ Titanfest (Headliner)
Sept. 27 – San Diego, Calif. @ Brick By Brick
Sept. 28 – Mesa, Ariz. @ Club Red
Sept. 29 – Farmington, N.M. @ Top Deck
Oct. 3 – Fort Worth, Texas @ Rail Club
Oct. 4 - Austin, Texas @ Come And Take It Live
Oct. 6 - Austin, Texas @ Come And Take It Live
Oct. 8 – New Orleans, La. @ Southport Music Hall
Oct. 10 – Panama City, Fla. @ The Dungeon Tavern
Oct. 12 – Margate, Fla. @ O'Malley's
Oct. 13 – Winter Park, Fla. @ The Haven
Oct. 15 – Fayetteville, N.C. @ The Drunk Horse Pub
Oct. 19 – Richmond, Va. @ Canal Club
Oct. 20 – Halethorpe, Md. @ Fish Head Cantina
Oct. 21 – Clifton, N.J. @ Dingbatz
Oct. 22 – Syracuse, N.Y. @ The Lost Horizon
Oct. 23 – Amityville, N.Y. @ Amityville Music Hall
Oct. 25 – Reading, Pa. @ Reverb
Oct. 28 – Harrisburg, Pa. @ Stage On Herr
Oct. 30 – Louisville, Ky. @ Trixie's Entertainment Complex
Nov. 1 – Westland, Mich. @ The Token Lounge
Nov. 3 – Strurtevant, Wis. @ Route 20
Nov. 4 – Braidwood, Ill. @ Top Fuel Saloon
Nov. 5 – St. Louis, Mo. @ The Firebird
Nov. 10 – Omaha, Neb. @ Dr. Jack's Drinkery
Nov. 12 – Denver, Colo. @ Herman's Hideaway
Nov. 18 – Santa Ana, Calif. @ Malone's Bar