If you’ve been paying close attention to the site and our Noise socials over the past couple weeks, you’ve probably realized that we spent a good amount of time at the last ever Vans Warped Tour recently.
Hitting up Pomona, Ventura, and Phoenix to soak in Kevin Lyman’s last ever punk rock summer camp, while we were there, we were able to spend our time talking with a few kickass bands – bands like horror-obsessed metalcore mainstays, Motionless In White.
Catching up with frontman Chirs Motionless, we were able to discuss his band’s astonishing nine different summers playing the Vans Warped Tour as well as what a new Motionless In White record might sound like their new lineup.
To check out our chat with Chris, be sure to look below. Afterward, make sure to grab tickets to see Motionless In White out on Warped one last time here.
(All Warped photos by Yeshua Flores)
We’re five dates into Warped Tour, what has been your highlight so far?
Chris Motionless: I think the show in Mountain View. When we played there in – it’s hard to remember 2012 but 2014, 2016, 2018, we have a rating system that we do after every show just to give us like a, “Do you remember that show or do you remember this show?” So we rate them and this year was the third year in a row that Mountain View has been 10/10. We’ve had technical difficulties the whole tour so far, all of the four shows so far except for that show. Everything worked, everything connected, it was late and there was still a massive crowd of people, so it just felt great, it was the show that we needed to really feel like, “Alright, everything is settling in now, we can get on track” and it was just great.
What bands have you found yourself watching the most out on Warped Tour?
Ummm, I think Unearth would be one of my favorites because they were a big band for me in the Oncoming Storm era of the band and I mean other eras too but particularly that album. So watching them play songs off of Oncoming Storm is awesome. Senses Fail, huge Senses Fail fan. Our band’s first actual big show that we ever played was opening for Senses Fail at the same venue that I just told you the story about Thrice and Thursday massacre. But yeah, Senses Fail and Unearth so far have been the bands I’ve really made a point to watch.
In the past 13 years or so of being a band, you guys have played Warped nine different times. Are there any bands that you’ve looked at on the line-up and been like, “Shit how come they didn’t play my year?”
Yeah, I think so. I’m trying to remember – I mean of course there are a lot of them from the past but I think back when, in 2005, I think they played two years and we played 2005, 2007, 2008. Bleeding Through had played the dates around that and even though we weren’t on the whole tour, they were just our band’s favorite band. And then Eighteen Visions as well, they were on 2006, and we played 2005, 2007,2008. So I’ll say probably Bleeding Through and Eighteen Visions. I would have died to have been on the Warped Tour with them.
What do you think about the new Bleeding Through and Eighteen Visions albums?
They’re both amazing. It’s so wild to hear what the [new] Eighteen V record sounds like compared to the last one. I knew they were gonna go heavier and it’s just so awesome hearing James screaming again, at least at that volume. The new Bleeding Through, I mean they’re two bands that I love the albums, they could do no wrong either way for me. I’m going to love it no matter what but it’s really awesome to have them both back and see them both doing very well and people are excited about it so it’s great. All of my Southern California heroes are coming back.
Have you ever worked out with Bleeding Through by chance?
In 2016, Brandan Schieppati, he owns Rise Above Fitness, came to the first couple of shows in Texas ‘cause I think his gym donated a lot of the stuff that the workout classes use for the whole tour. So he came out and I tried, I think it was the second day of the tour and I tried and I got my fucking ass kicked. It was so embarrassing cause he’s like my hero. So I go up there and obviously, I [tried to push] to get through it but couldn’t. I felt like such a weak bitch. Yeah, it was hard though, I’ve never done such intense training or working out like that with someone else.
So let’s talk about Graveyard Shift. Obviously, you’ve done Warped Tour a bunch and at different points in the band’s album release cycle. Personally, when do you think is the best time to do Warped Tour? Is it when an album is about to come out, it just came out or it’s already been out?
Historically, for us, I think we’ve had the best response when an album is either coming out on Warped Tour or maybe right after. I mean, we credit Warped Tour with being the push that got us, we feel like it’s still kind of a lie, we ended up being #9 on the Billboard Top 200, #9 overall with I think 31,000 albums sold of our album Reincarnate and we credit a lot of that, most of it, to fans on Warped Tour buying pre-orders and really helping support the album when we were releasing it. For us, I would have to say judging by that alone, definitely as the record is coming out ‘cause without those fans and without Warped Tour, I don’t know if we would have had that level of success, it was pretty wild.
Well, Graveyard Shift has been pretty successful too and you took a lot of risks with this record. Like approaching rock radio, for example. Were you nervous trying to put together a song that might be “radio-friendly”?
The weirdest part about that is, the songs I thought that weren’t gonna be well received by fans, like in particular a song called “Voices,” that to me, that song has a big active rock radio feel to it. I mean it’s a very personal, deep song and I know the lyrics at least would resonate with the fans deeply but I just felt like it was packaged in a way they might be very weird about and then here it ends up being one of the top three fan-favorites before we ever released it as a single. So clearly, either I don’t know shit about what our fans like or I don’t know if maybe after having our band have radio presence for the past couple years that its okay now. Or if with a lot of bands having radio presence, fans have finally said, “Okay, this is cool now. It’s alright that my band is on the radio.” So I think it was nerve-racking. And you know, sadly some songs weren’t well received that I knew weren’t going to be and I thought maybe it would have been cool if they surprised me but they ended up being great so we’re very happy about that.
So when you approach this next record, what are the ideas? Do you want to keep pushing the envelope and keep going down that route?
I think for us right now, with the music that we have, it’s pretty centralized around the same, I guess, limits that Graveyard Shift had. I’m sure there will be one or two songs that kinda explore something that we hadn’t or at least more in the direction of something we’ve lightly touched on. But I think we’re really happy right now with where the music is at. We don’t, of course, want to write the same album twice but we also feel like we’ve taken a long time to find our identity and what we’ve been truly happy with the most. So now that we’ve found it, it would be weird for us to try to step away from that just for the sake of not writing the same album twice. So it’s gonna be a little bit of a challenge to stay close to what we’re really happy with without becoming stagnant but I think we’ll figure it out, I think we have some time still.
With Josh and Devin leaving, is that going to impact the record at all?
It’s not going to impact the writing. I mean obviously, the fans are upset about it and I think that it more so affects the overall presence of the band, whether it be just that it makes people feel different about the music or the look or the stage or whatever it is. I’ve seen a few bands over my time, you know we talked about Bleeding Through earlier, where I loved the original line-up and then things changed a lot and now the original line-up is back and I was so excited about it. So I know the gravity of what it’s like to be into a lot of the original members and the members that you know. So I think fans will be a little hesitant at first or at least maybe be upset in the background but thankfully our fans really support the band through anything which is great. As far as the songwriting, no its never really been an issue before when any members left ‘cause primarily all of our music is written between our guitar player Ricky and myself. And now our guitarist Ryan is really stepping up to the game as far as writing as well, so I don’t really anticipate that it’s going to make anything different at all.
You started playing guitar in the band and you grew up playing guitar. When people find out that you play guitar and they’re kind of surprised, “Like wow, you play guitar?!” Do you take that personally? Are you like yeah I play guitar… what the hell?
No [laughs]. Actually, I know Tim from As I Lay Dying writes a massive amount of their music and plays the guitar and I, for the longest time, didn’t know that. And when I found out I was like “Oh my god! That’s so awesome, that’s just like me!” I used to play guitar live and sing and I stopped and I don’t think a lot of fans know that. The diehards do but not a lot of the causal or non-diehards. I’m not offended at all. I wouldn’t expect people to know. It’s been 10 years since that’s even been a thing. But its cool maybe to see that somebody could discover something new about the band after being a fan for such a long time.