Justin Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack talks ‘My Dinosaur Life’, Lady Gaga and what’s next for MCS

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I’m sure most of you are aware by now, but I am a BIG Motion City Soundtrack fan. I remember when I was handed a cute green robot sticker with the caption “I Am The Movie” back in 2002. I didn’t know who MCS was at the time. I liked the sticker I went ahead a put it up in my car.

Check out what Justin had to say after the jump…

Never did I think 8 years, four albums and over 10 live MCS performances later (check out photos of their most recent Chicago show here) that I would be such a fan of the band from the cute little sticker. I am and it’s been a blast.

Motion City Soundtrack is currently busy headlining a tour in support of their new album, My Dinosaur Life. Despite that, singer Justin Pierre took a few minutes to answer some questions for The Dead Hub.
justinpierre.motioncitysoundtrack

DH: My Dinosaur Life. It’s an awesome record. It hit number 12 on the Billboard 200, that’s epic! The critical response was extremely positive. I always thought MCS was terribly underrated and overlooked. How does it feel to finally achieve this response? Is it as rewarding as you anticipated?

JP: I feel like the last time there was any anticipation, a healthy helping of people were let down. Since then we’ve decided not to care about anything other than the music. Now, things like a number 12 spot on the Billboard Chart are amazing surprises and greatly appreciated! It’s all in how you look at things. Focus on what’s important and whatever happens will happen… Or not.

DH: What was the writing process like for this record? How did the creation of this record differ from the last three?

JP: The biggest difference was that we had a drummer with a broken arm. Half of the writing was done before the arm break, but the rest was catered around him as well as the actually recording. The drums were the last thing we recorded. Other than that, we didn’t really do anything different. We knew that we wanted to do more of a rock record than the last one. We all felt we took the pop angle as far as we could and wanted to get back to the noise. As stated before, not caring about the outcome helped in the process.

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DH: “Worker Bee” is my 2010 theme. Tell me the story behind that song.

JP: Nice! The outline of that song and nearly all of the words were written in my apartment one night. It felt like an opening track. Luckily the rest of the boys agreed. To me it is a humorous but honest tale of where I had been many times in my life. The mere fact of drawing attention to yourself negates any accomplishments you may have achieved, in my opinion. I find that kind of thing funny. But it is ment to be uplifting as well.

DH: Tell me about working with Joe Ledbetter to create the album art/deluxe edition/lithograph.

JP: Joe went the extra mile for sure. He brought all these books on dinosaurs to the studio and listened to roughs of the songs. I also gave him all the lyrics I had as I was writing them. It was a very involved creative endeavor on all fronts. Joe would ask questions and do tons of sketches and then we would respond and make comments and eventually we all agreed on the dinosaur that ended up on the front of the record. Joe had free reign to interpret the songs and came up with pictures for every song. He is one talented mother.

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DH: I attended the three shows at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall last December. (They were amazing) How did you come up with the concept and why did you choose Chicago?

JP: It is not a new concept and I’m unsure of who decided it would be a good idea. I think we were all terrified and interested in doing it. Some of the songs we had never played live before. I feel as though this was a way to battle that demon or elephant, if you will. It was a lot of fun. Especially having the Ultimate Fakebook play with us. They were one of the first bands who took us under their wing, gave us advice, took us on tour and simply influenced the style of music we would eventually write. It was a good time for sure.

DH: It seems like you’ve toured non-stop since 2003, I see you at least once a year. You’ve toured with so many bands. Who was the most fun to tour with? The least fun?

JP: That’s a tough one to answer. I’ll try not to rip on anyone too hard, good or bad. Opening for other bands is tough because you have to win the crowd over. Headlining is tough because you have to be brilliant and play for an hour plus vs. 20- 30 minutes. Each has positive and negative aspects. Dreams come true: Touring with The Weakerthans, Sunny Day Real Estate, Limbeck, All-American Rejects, The Matches, Jenny Owen Youngs, Weezer. The most hurt I’d ever been was when a band I loved and fought to get on a tour decided to cut and run in the middle of it without telling us.

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DH: Who are you listening to right now?

JP: NIN. We’re learning songs for our upcoming Hoodwinked set.

DH: How was it working with Max Bemis of Say Anything on your last album?

JP: Max was great. I felt bad because we didn’t have anything bigger for him to sing on. A guy like that you definitely want to feature. But he was all pro and we were grateful to have him.

DH: What do you think of a MCS and Lady Gaga duet? Would you do it if you had the chance? Discuss…

JP: I try not to use words like always and never. I really dig her videos. I’m not sure I would recognize the songs if I heard them without the visuals. She’s definitely the most interesting visual artist since Marilyn Manson and seems like she has a sense of humor. I can always get behind people with a sense of humor. I doubt very much she’s heard of us or would be interested in doing anything with us.

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DH: What are the vital things to know for someone just discovering MCS for the first time?

JP: We are self-deprecating fuck-ups who don’t take ourselves too seriously. We try to write songs we’d listen to and simply enjoy what we’ve been allowed to do for a living.

DH: What does the future hold for MCS, besides more touring?

JP: Not much more than touring to be honest.
Motion City Soundtrack’s new album ‘My Dinosaur Life’ is available now, be sure to pick up a copy…it’s awesome. You can also catch MCS on tour now and this summer at Warped Tour.

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