An Interview with Chris Motionless from Motionless In White

3, Motionless In White, Fran Dignon Visuals (12)

Motionless In White are a band riding a high right now. They are back in the UK for a massive run of shows in support of their latest album ‘Graveyard Shift’ which was released last year. This is the first tour over here since the album has been out, so fan expectations are high. I was able to pin down frontman Chris Motionless for a brief chat on the opening night of the UK leg to discuss touring, the band’s fans, his aspirations and covering Ariana Grande…but more on that a little bit later.

So, we haven’t seen you guys since Download last year. What have you guys been up to since then?

Chris: Well, we did a few tours throughout the summer, and then a tour in the fall that ended on Halloween. Then surprisingly, for the first time in quite a while, we had two months off at the end of the year, so we are coming off the longest relaxation period we have had in so long,  so it’s been cool to step back and reintroduce yourself to the passion of wanting to come back out on tour. When you are away that long to start to miss it.

Aside from Download, this is the first chance UK audiences will have had to hear songs from Graveyard Shift live. Obviously, as a band, you have been living with the album for a while, but does it change the dynamic of those songs when you play them to a new audience for the first time?

Chris: Yeah. I feel like for us it helps us feel what songs work where. It’s odd, some songs don’t do well in certain areas. When we played Necessary Evil in Australia they went wild, but in the states, they went wild for a different song. Over here, after the two dates in Ireland, there doesn’t seem to be one song everyone has freaked out over yet, so it just helps to get a sense of whats working throughout the rest of the world and break out of the mindset of just playing the U.S.

For you personally, because you have lived with the album for so long from writing it and recording it, then going out and playing them how do you feel about those songs now?

Chris: It’s so funny because I feel like we are already starting to open the box for the next record. We’ve been listening to things we had left over and talked about starting to write the next one, and I think that is because we have had these songs done for so long that it feels like its time for a new album already for us, I think we are actually going to try and put one out in less time than previous records because we want to ride the momentum we have going from this one.

For me personally, it seems like you always seem to have a record come out at the exact moment something big is happening in my life, so I always have those albums as a snapshot of that moment in my life. For you when you are writing are you thinking about the connections your fans are making or will make to those songs or are you always just writing for yourself?

Chris: Yes, I think just because there are songs on the album that are directly linked to conversations that I’ve had with fans. There are two songs on the album that were very influenced by a few moments I had over the summer of 2016 where I had a lot of really intense personal contact with a lot of the fans that I was seeing every day. So it is something I think about, because a lot of these people have a lot of the same issues that I have and I think a lot of the songs I write about are speaking for everybody and are meant to appeal to the people that I know it is going to because we feel the same on certain topics in life. I think about what’s going on in the world and what’s going on with our fans and just try to build a world with our music that relates to that stuff and just gives me a chance to vent what I want to say as well.

As someone who does interact with their fans a lot and has that connection with them, do you find there has to be a point where you draw the line between how much of yourself you share with fans and how much you have to keep to yourself?

Chris: I’ve actually really struggled with that over the past couple of years. Because I always really liked when you didn’t know anything about the artist, and you were searching because you wanted to know, but there wasn’t a whole lot out there, but now every aspect is out on the internet, so there’s no mystery, so that really bummed me out, because I want that about myself and the guys in our band, I think there is something special about that mystery. This point in time, in this age of social media, it’s almost bad if you aren’t posting all that much and you’ve got to stay relevant or people forget about you, and it’s a struggle to ride that line. For me, I got to a point where I feel like I’m not a slave to social media, if I want to respond I will, then I’ll go dark for X amount of time, then I’ll come back and answer fans, I’ll talk to fans, post stuff then I’ll go dark again and it helps me balance that line out. But it’s sad that unless you’re constantly posting or don’t have anything at all, it’s either extreme then it’s a weird grey area where you feel like you have to do it.

Visually you are a band with a strong look, and you reinvent yourselves with every album cycle. Do you think what you talked about with keeping the mystery of the band away from social media feeds into reinventing the bands look with each album?

Chris: I don’t think it has directly so much of an impact. I think any reinvention of ourselves is stemming from each one of us getting older and just looking back over everything we have done and looking at where we are at, and what we are interested in, in our lives now, so it doesn’t feel like we are letting any outside sources mould the way we are aesthetically. it’s just where we are in the band now, We have discussions about things like ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we tried this thing… or in a music video we should all wear things so it all looks cohesive’ but it’s never really anything from outside that affects it.

As a band with a strong identity that relies heavily on striking imagery from your videos or your artwork, have you ever had conversations about taking the band into other mediums, with something like a clothing line or a comic book, or a film…something along those lines that takes the band does something else with it?

Chris: Yeah, our drummer has his own music project, our guitarist Ricky has his own candle company. Each person does something that reflects their interest outside of the band and that’s really cool because it’s not only great for them that they get to do something that they are passionate about, but the fans also get to be a part of an extension of each person in the band. I think that is really cool about a lot of us, that we get to do that as a band. As far as something collectively the biggest thing we are trying to do is some kind of documentary style movie of some sort, where we give fans…I mean we talked about the mystery and we are going to be destroying the mystery and will be showing fans what it’s like to be on tour, I mean it’s been done before…

Yes, Bleeding Through did an excellent one called Wolves Among Sheep…

Chris: Yes, that is one of my favourite DVDs, but there are a lot. It’s something I’ve always loved, watching bands in the studio or on tour, it’s cool to see how they are, so that is what we are trying to focus on doing, we have a guy out doing it with us now.

For you as an artist and a person. What would you say are the main differences between the person who recorded The Whorror and When Love Met Destruction compared to the person who recorded Graveyard Shift and is talking to me today?

Chris: (Laughs) Oh Man… I’m certainly a lot less embarrassed of the material we put out (laughs). Of course with age comes with wisdom and I really look back on those moments and it’s a love-hate thing, you love that you put out music at the time that you were really happy with, I think there are some fun moments in the older material for sure, but It’s just growing up and being able to focus and hone in on what you really want without sitting down with the mindset of what happens, happens. It is still like that, but it’s a lot more focused now and we know so much more about what we want to do, and what I want to accomplish with the band so it’s a lot easier, but it’s also kind of hard because you put a lot of pressure on yourself with each album, and a lot of pressure to top who you were two years ago, a year ago, even a month ago and it becomes a bit of a mental struggle but it’s one of those things, how can you complain when you have been given this amazing opportunity.

So you are signed to Roadrunner Records, have played the main stage at Download and toured with a lot of your heroes. What is the next milestone you would like to accomplish with Motionless In White?

Chris: We are running out of things now. I guess it has to get to the point where we’re a type of band where people want to tour with us because we’re their heroes, like the next generation of bands. We realised this year our band turned 12 years old, it’s wild because when you’ve been a band that long, there’s a generation coming up underneath you that are the younger kids who are going to be trying to do the same stuff and it would be really cool to be that band where people are excited to play us and want to tour with us, and where we continue to grow the cult fanbase that we have. I don’t ever want to have a moment where things blow up and then disappear, I would much rather the band stay on a steady path, and live until it expires and just enjoy it.

So now comes the weird and random portion of the interview…

Chris: Alright, I’m all about it…

What is the one album that has changed your life?

Chris: I will go with the Black Album by Metallica. That was the first band that really got me into metal and introduced me to the massive world that was the alternative music of all types.Enter Sandman was one of the first guitar riffs I ever learned, it came into my life at a crucial age, where I liked music but I didn’t have an attachment to a lot of bands, I liked bands like No Doubt or that my parents liked, I was never hardcore into a band until Metallica came along,and the Black Album was definitely the album I heard first.

Over the course of your career, you have had a number of high profile guests on your albums including Dani Filth, Brandon Shieppati and most recently Jonathan Davis. With that said, if you could guest on someone else’s album who’s album would you want to be on?

Chris: I would have said Brandon, but he asked me to do some stuff on his newest album, by the Iron Son. hearing my voice next to his on one of his songs was pretty fucking insane because he is my hero. I guess I would say an Eighteen Visions song, they just put out a new album that’s heavy as fuck, so it would be amazing to see my voice as part of the band that shaped our band name and so much about our band

I’m really into the Pop Goes Punk albums, so if you guys were approached to cover a pop song, what pop song would you want to cover?

Chris: (Shouts over to Ricky, Guitarist) Ricky, you’re the pop guy what would you cover?

Ricky: I’ll say something by Ariana Grande

Chris: Into You is a good one, so we’d probably go with that.

I was going to say Shake it off By Taylor Swift just because I’d like to see you guys do a video for that.

Chris: Oh My God (laughs) if it was a current pop song I think that Ariana Grande song is a good one. If it was my choice than I would say Jar of Hearts by Cristina Perri.

You could definitely make that song very dark and very gothic, and the visual of someone with a literal jar of hearts is something you guys could really bring to life.

Chris: There’s a part in that song that is very Danny Elfman in the middle bridge, that sounds very much like hr wrote it, so Jar of Hearts is what I’d go with.

If someone had never heard your band before and you were to hand them a cd with 3 songs on it to sum up Motionless in White, which 3 songs do you pick?

Chris: I’ll probably go with Reincarnate, that is one of those songs that represents the band as a whole, I’ll go with If it’s dead, we’ll kill it, because that is of the most angry songs we’ve ever written, and let’s say Eternally Yours from the new album.

So, if Motionless In White weren’t a band did you have a plan B? What you be doing right now?

Chris: No, as I get older and nobody has any idea how long a band is going to last, so now that I’m getting a little older, I wonder what would I do if it ended tomorrow. I don’t have an idea and that is scary as fuck, but I feel like not having that in my head motivates me to make sure this keeps going, because this is all I’ve ever wanted and all I ever want to keep going. I think I would really like to try producing bands, I feel like I have a lot of ideas that won’t work for this band, but if I found the right band then producing would be a cool thing.

With that in mind, if Motionless in White did end tomorrow how would you want the band to be remembered?

Chris:  I feel like I want to be remembered as the type of band that was similar to the bands that we talked about earlier, that people were really excited about and had that cult following. Bleeding Through isn’t a band anymore and Eighteen Visions wasn’t a band for ten years until last year, but when they came back everyone was really stoked, so I would just like to achieve a really strong cult following, I feel like we have a really die-hard group of fans to the point where I feel like our music will live on through the fans.

What three words would be on your tombstone?

Chris: I’ll go with Still Pissed {laughs)

And in closing do you have a final message out there for your fans?

Chris: It’s always Thank You, just because the fact that we are over here again and welcomed back to the level that we are, this tour will be the biggest UK tour that we have done, and to be touring for 12 years and to be still be climbing and playing for more and more people overseas and in the states, all together is a wonderful thing, so thank you always.

You can check out Simon’s review of when Motionless In White played Southampton last month right here. You can also check out our exclusive photo gallery of when MIW, Ice Nine Kills and Cane Hill took to the stage in Birmingham a few nights later. Further updates on Motionless In White will be available as soon as we have any!

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