Interview: Chris Motionless of Motionless In White
MOTIONLESS IN WHITE will embark on their first national Australian headline tour this September in support of their new album Graveyard Shift. Joining them on the road is metalcore quartet, CROWN THE EMPIRE and one of Australia's fastest rising acts, DARKCELL. While their hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania is mostly known in popular culture for being perfectly mundane, gothic metalcore band MOTIONLESS IN WHITE make music that's anything but tame. Blending the raw fury of metalcore with the dramatic atmospherics of goth-metal and industrial, the band has cultivated a dark and moody sound that has gained them one of the most loyal and passionate followings in music, millions of YouTube hits, and a live show that you have to see to believe. We caught up with vocalist, Chris Motionless, backstage before their first show in Sydney for a quick chat.
Hey Chris, thanks for taking the time out to chat before your show. Are you excited about playing your first ever headlining tour here in Australia?
Very, very excited. I'm happy that we're starting with Sydney as well because they've always been great to us in the past. Just trying to get over the long flight right now but it feels great to be back.
It's been a while since MIW have toured Australia, when was the last time you were here?
It was December of 2015, we were supporting The Amity Affliction and A Day To Remember.
Very cool, and what was the most memorable moment about your time here in Australia?
I think if I was to pick any highlight moment, it would probably be the second time we did Soundwave Festival. I mean, the first time we did Soundwave, we were still a pretty new band and it was our first time touring Australia, so of course that was memorable. But the second time when we came back, the difference in fans from the first time compared to the second time was just insane. To any normal person it might not have seemed like a lot but for us it was like astronomically different, and we were so happy to see that in just two years later we can come back again. Especially with a new album that was kind of not very favoured by the fans out of all of our albums, it's just so great come back and see the amount of support from our fans here over that time period. It's really surprising and made me go - "Oh Shit!" I guess they like us here.
You had a special meet and greet at Utopia Records with your fans, how did that go down?
Yeah, it was amazing. That's our second time that we've done one of those things there. Definitely different compared to the first one we did I think. We had a lot of people that were dressed up in costumes and they came ready to see the band, which is really cool to us, to see fans showing up and going to all of that effort, it means a lot. They're not just there for a signing, they're there for the event and the spectacle and to have a good time. That's kind of how we like to run everything that we do, whether it's an event like or whatever, it's just a special experience rather than just another casual experience. So yeah, it was really great.
Totally. You've definitely got one of the most loyal fanbases of any genre, not just heavy music. How important are the fans to and all of their support?
I mean. they're obviously the most integral part of a band, and not just us but any bands success. I think that they're really important to us and I feel like about once every year we really try to do something that includes them in a much bigger picture type of way towards the band. For example, last year we had fans submit artwork to be the cover of our new album. We've had them in countless music videos and we've had them in one music video already this year. We try every way that we can to incorporate them into the band on a deeper level, and I think that they feel that love and they understand that's what we are trying to do, keeping things close between us. In a time where the band is so busy that it's really hard to do that, so I think they get it and we get it and we share a pretty awesome connection, and that makes people like yourself start sentences off with - "You've got one of the most loyal fanbases" - and that's so cool to hear and it's very special to have that.
Growing up as a huge Korn fan, was it a dream come true to have Jonathan Davis on your new album?
Yeah, totally. I've got my Korn hoodie right here. It's just amazing and I've said this a bunch of times, I think back to 7th grade when I heard Follow The Leader for the first time and I was just like - "Holy Shit" - I remember seeing on TV the 'Freak On A Leash' music video with the bullet that's flies through all of the scenes and I remember just thinking, this is so f*cking cool. It was so intriguing and just amazing to me, and thinking back to those moments of just being a kid and watching those music videos all the time. To go from that to now where he's singing on one of our songs is just, you don't really know how to describe it other than just... WOW! You know? So yeah, it's very cool and we are very grateful.
10 years of Motionless In White, that in itself is something to be proud of. What's been your favourite moment during your time in the band?
Oh man, to pick a favourite moment is pretty rough. I'm going to pick a moment that hasn't happened yet that I'm really trying to make happen this Halloween. I really want my Dad to come up and sing a song with me onstage. My Dad is like our number one fan and he's always been so supportive throughout our entire career and even before anything was happening. He and I work so closely on a lot of things that you see on stage, like he and I hand-make all of our props and everything like that. He's the behind the scenes guy, and he does sing every once in a while and I'm just trying to get him up onstage to do a song, it will probably be a cool cover of something and I think that will be one of my favourite moments ever when that happens.
Has he been working on his screams and his growls?
(laughs) Yeah, it's a little different than mine, but he definitely likes James Hetfield and he usually goes for that kind of stuff, so it will be interesting.
With your music progressing over the years, in what way have your live shows also progressed and evolved to where they are at now?
Thankfully, because the band has grown and evolved, we've been successful enough to be able to keep continuing to grow. Along with that fortunately comes a bigger budget for tours and a bigger crowd to see the show, so that way it makes it easier for us to bring this arena like mentality to a club show. We're not in arenas, we're in a club, and at least in the States where we have that kind of budget, we really try and put on the best show possible. We spend the money and absolutely just try and go for it and build the biggest show possible. I think just as a band in itself and the music portion and the performance side, I like that things haven't really changed. We still go out there and we're still excited to play, we're still so affected by the fans reactions everyday, and if they're not feeling it then we go out there and try to f*cking make them feel it. It's not like, oh they hate it so let's just get through this show. Sometimes it can be like that but for the most part we're just very much the same, we want to put on a good show and we go out there and we try to get the crowd into it. If they already are into it then you can see a bunch of guys just smiling having a great time.
What's been the craziest moment you've ever experience whilst on tour out of all the shows you've played?
I have a long list on my phone of crazy moments (laughs). I would say, probably for me personally, just recently on our last tour in the States, we were staying in Chicago and me and my girlfriend were right outside the bus just having a conversation and about 20 feet away there was a drive-by shooting. Straight up, just like right next to us, we were just outside of the building right near this sketchy little alley way that you're not supposed to go down, but that's where we were parked at the time. Seriously, just to see a drive-by shooting just happen to close, we just dropped to the ground and it was just like the first moment that made me scared and think - "Holy F*ck" - We could have gotten shot, who knows what could have happened? That is something that's pretty funny to think about now, just being like, wow, that really did happen. It's pretty wild to think that shit like that can just happen at any moment, it was a pretty gnarly wake up call.
Written by Steve Jenkins
Watch the music video for the track "LOUD (F*ck it)" below:
Catch Motionless In White while you still can at the following dates: