Darren Sykes

11:43 24th September 2003

Motion City Soundtrack Interview - 24/6/03, Manchester

Gigwise: How long has the current line up played together for?

Justin: We have been together for three and half years. After a few changes we now have a settled line up.

Gigwise: How did you all get together?
Justin: We were all in high school bands and got to know each other through playing in different bands. We come from Minnesota and Virginia.

Gigwise: How much does doing this tour mean to you?
Justin: This means a lot to the band, we are all really looking forward to it. Only one of the band members has been to the UK before.

Gigwise: How did the tour with Sugarcult come about?
Justin: It was arranged through Epitaph, the record label, they put it all together.

Gigwise: What are you ambitions as a band?
Justin: He jokingly replies 'Doing different interviews'. It is important to remain original and do our own thing.

Gigwise: Is it difficult leaving families and girlfriends back home? Or do some of them tour with you?

Justin: It is a little difficult but it is hard bringing everyone over due to the cost.

Gigwise: This is your first UK date, how are you feeling?
Justin: We played a free gig in a small room in front of thirty people on Monday night at The Bettsy Trotwood, but this is the start of the tour proper. Last night wasn't one of our best performances we are excited about the forthcoming tour.

Gigwise: How important is touring to the band?
Justin: It is very important to the whole band that is why we formed the band. When we are not touring I am writing new songs.

Gigwise: The live sound is obviously very important; do you have a travelling sound engineer?
Justin: Both bands have the same sound engineer - Andy, who is fantastic.

Gigwise: Have you played any festivals?
Justin: We played a festival in Long Island called This Island Earth. We survived on peanut butter sandwiches and had competitions to see could drink the most Amp (the record stands at nine).

Gigwise: What is the current music scene like were you come from?
Justin: Not really sure at the moment, I have lost touch with it a little. There seems to be a lot of contemporary and indie rock bands.

Gigwise: Who are your favourite current bands?
Justin: My favourite two bands at the moment are Cursive and Alkaline Trio. I have listened to Alkaline Trio's new album which I thought couldn't be better than the last one, but it was!!!

Gigwise: What exposure do you get in the USA?
Justin: We have had exposure through touring for the last one and a half years, we are also putting together music videos and work DVDs.

Gigwise: What do you think of the current British music scene?
Justin: Not really up to speed with the current scene in the UK. I have heard things I like, but can't remember the names of the bands.

Gigwise: Which bands have you drawn your influences from?
Justin: Both myself and John are strongly influenced by The Pixies, Jawbox, Superhunk, Poster Children, The Carpenters, The Cardigans and Ben Folds. A bit of a mixture really.

Gigwise: What do think gives a band staying power?
Justin: I think that is mainly down to luck, you have to be spontaneous, be in the right place at the right time. You also have to make songs your own. Josh is the song dissector.

Gigwise: Apart from the album tracks, have you had any new songs waiting to be unleashed?
Justin: At the moment we have three new songs, the lyrics are very important, so we make sure we spend a lot of time on them.

Gigwise: If you could have any producer in the world, who would it be?
Justin: Before we were signed, we produced our songs ourselves. This cost around $6000 of our own money. We produced three records before being signed. When we signed to Epitaph we left all the little imperfections on the records. This is all part of the songs make up. The only thing we changed was the bass lines. The right producer has to come at the right time.

Gigwise: If you had to pick a career outside music what would it be?
Justin: I would love to direct movies, ever since 'Twin Peaks' I have been hooked. I would also like to write in my spare time.

Gigwise: Pick one favourite tune from the past two years?
Justin: There have been quite a few good tunes, but I can never remember the year they came out. A few that come to mind are 'Gentleman Caller' by Cursive, 'Jack and Sarah' by Ben Folds but the best band would be The Weakerthans who we toured with. Their last album 'Left and Leaving' was fantastic.

Gigwise: How do you prefer to chill out after the gig?

Justin: I am pretty disciplined, I don't drink or smoke because that would affect my voice, I love to drink lots of tea. It's cool to meet the fans after a show.