Motion City Soundtrack are currently enjoying a short break before returning to their colossal Dino Initiative Tour, picking up again in Duluth, back in their home state of Minnesota on April 6th. During their brief trip to the UK Ireviewtoo caught up with the band to discuss the tour, the new album and preparation for an unusual set list with drummer Tony Thaxton.
The band have been absent from our shores since the release of 2007’s Even If It Kills Me and since their return things are noticeably different, in particular the crowds of rabid fans who are flocking to their shows. “After being gone for so long, I kind of feel like they sing louder” explains a road weary Thaxton, “I can’t believe how loud the sing-alongs have been” – and it’s an astute observation, only two hours after this interview took place the band are drowned in sound by fans at tonight’s Manchester Academy gig.
Motion City Soundtrack are here promoting their fourth studio album My Dinosaur Life, a record which reunited them with Blink 182 bassist Mark Hoppus. In 2005, Hoppus produced the band’s second album Commit This To Memory and in mid 2009 he returned to the producers chair to lend a hand during this crucial point in the band’s career. “One of the reasons we wanted (Hoppus) to do it again because we enjoyed it so much and had good results last time” Thaxton tells Ireviewtoo, “We were trying to figure out who we wanted to work with this time and we started throwing in his name again.
“A few of us wanted it to be a little more of a rock record and a little more raw than the last one” explains Thaxton, the band where so clear on their intentions that they entered the studio with everything but one song already written. Curiously the track that was thrown together last minute was the records debut single Her Words Destroyed My Planet, which “just happened, it just kind of came out of nowhere” recalls the drummer.
But what started off as smooth sailing soon took a turn for the problematic. Whilst at a party on New Years Eve 2009 Tony took a tumble off a curb and fractured his arm, the break went unnoticed for a week due to doctors misdiagnosing the problem. When they finally X-Rayed the correct part of his arm the break was found and the long road to recovery could begin. What followed was one operation and four months of physical therapy to get him back into shape for My Dinosaur Life’s studio sessions.
Did this ordeal affect the recording process and songs that ended up on the record? “Oh definitely,” says Thaxton, “There’s one or two that I wasn’t really even involved in, I just got the song then eventually figured out what I wanted to play on it.” The band went on a short hiatus while Tony recovered in which time tracks were developed by sending files back and forth between members. However before the band went their separate ways Thaxton did what he could to complete some tracks, “we actually wrote three or four songs that ended up on the record in a short amount of time, literally just a few weeks after I broke my arm and I just did what I could playing one handed.” In just a two-week period the band wrote some of the new albums most memorable tracks Worker Bee and Disappear.
While Thaxton was open to the idea of drumming one handed – a position where he may be forced to try new things, overall he found it to be a bittersweet experience, “it really just ended up being frustrating” explains Thaxton. But it was worth the frustration; the album was well received by fans and critics alike with Alternative Press hailing it as not only the best of their career but one of the best albums of 2010. Is the pressure now on to go one better? “The reaction has been great so far, we’ve never gotten so many reviews period and then so many good reviews… so right now we’re just enjoying that and not really thinking too much about the next record”
In the meantime the band have announced that they will be covering Nine Inch Nails at Hoodwinked, a event coinciding with New Jersey’s Bamboozle festival in which each band plays a set of another artists work. Thaxton looks anxious when asked about the event, exhales then laughs nervously, “yeah… we were like if we can figure out something that we all actually agree on and feel excited about doing we’ll do it and it took us a while,” Thaxton pauses for a moment, “we have a lot of work to do, it’s not going to be easy”.
The two bands wouldn’t normally appear within the same sentence; surely there set at Hoodwinked will be one to keep an eye out for, “yeah” laughs Thaxton, “we’ll see whether that’s good or bad thing” surely with the year he’s had, things can only get better.