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Interviews |  28 Oct 2014 21:07 |  By RnMTeam

When you download a song and not share it, the music is no longer an art form - Daniel Blue

The upcoming NH7 Weekender will see American folk-rock pop band- Motopony performing in India for the first time. The band was founded in late 2009 by front-man Daniel Blue, who wrote and composed songs for its first, self-titled album. Blue, who is busy performing in New York, took time out of his schedule to speak to Radioandmusic.com’s Aashay Dalvi about the band’s first album, its latest EP ‘Idle Beauty’ and more.

Excerpts:

Since the release of your first album in 2009, to the new EP ‘Idle Beauty’, how has the music changed?

The first album was just me with very little instruments; just a one-string instrument, the monochord. Then, I met Buddy Ross (music producer), who then added the texture and electronic elements to the music. The first album is very folksy and soft because all the songs were written that way based on wherever I was then. ‘Idle Beauty’ was written by the band, after it was formed and the first album came out. So, I loosened my grip on the writing process and wanted the band to have input. Since the band loves rock and roll, they like the music to be a little heavier. But, we had also learned that we wanted to create an environment where people would feel excited and inspired and lifted up and encouraged and happy. While writing ‘Idle Beauty’, we wanted to have people move their bodies while listening to our music. We wanted to play the music live and have them respond.

Was there a certain amount of pressure to produce ‘Idle Beauty’?

There was more pressure while making ‘Idle Beauty’ than while making the first album. For ‘Idle Beauty’, there was money, there was a new band, and there were also expectations from the fans to have more music. Because of the pressure, I took my time and was very careful how it came together.

Did it really take five years to form the sextet that Motopony is now and to come up with ‘Idle Beauty’?

‘Get Down’ was written before we were signed by Tiny Ogre for our first album. ‘She is Spirit’ was written in 2011 while I was walking in Seattle and remembering my mother. ‘Buffalo Medicine’ was written in 2012 when half of the current band was different. ‘Breakthru’ was also written in January 2012 and so was ‘About a Song’. The EP is just five songs from a series of 14 that we thought were the best. We went up to a mountain in Jan 2012 with our instruments for 16 days and decided to write our songs as a band. The same year in July, we went to a professional studio and recorded at Bear Creek with the intention of releasing it in 2012. But, then Buddy and I had a few differences and he decided to take up the job of touring with Frank Ocean in Europe when he was opening for Coldplay. So, we were just left to our own devices. Then my guitar player quit. So, from July 2012 to August 2014, it was just me trying to form the band together, carefully pick the musicians that I wanted to work with. The label that we were on had folded and the management had parted ways. So, we started over and that I think is what took so long. I wanted to be very careful about how we put it all back together.
When did you find out that you are going to perform in India?

Last year, but I did not really believe it until just a few days ago when I got my visa. And, I might not completely believe it until I am physically in India. I know it is true, but it is really difficult to imagine it.

How did you find out about it?

The song ‘Euphoria’ which was in the first album, was used six different times in short films and documentaries about doctors and mountain-biking in India. So, for whatever reason, ‘Euphoria’ resonates in that part of the world in that context. So, I felt that was odd. Last year, NH7 Weekender reached out and said that they wanted to use our track ‘Euphoria’ in one of their YouTube promos for their 2013 edition. Everything until then, I had given away for free in India, so I asked them, “How much will you pay me?” Well, they said that they did not have any money, but they promised me that they would fly us this year for the 2014 NH7 Weekender concert.

What tracks are you currently working on?

Once I formed the new band, we really started writing together as a group. So, once we went to a beautiful chapel in Ballard, Seattle. It was built for acoustic music. So, whenever you went in there and sang, you would sound like an angel. The band was practicing in the church and we wrote 15-20 songs in that place, even though we were yet to release the old stuff. So, when Entertainment One (eOne) signed us on, we told them that even though they are working on new stuff, there are so many tracks already made, just awaiting release. Hence, we decided to release the best five of their previously unreleased tracks, rework on them slightly and release it in the form of the new EP, ‘Idle Beauty’. We have all this beautiful music which is just sitting idle. That is why the name, ‘Idle Beauty’.

What were the musical influences for the first album and what will be the musical influeces for the new upcoming album?

The first Motopony album was influenced by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and the early Beatles. This record is influenced by Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Rolling Stones and maybe some Rush and Queen mixed in there. It is more T-Rex and less Cat Stevens.

Will you be showcasing any of your new work at the NH7?

Oh, yes, definitely. We will be singing tracks from the first album, ‘Idle Beauty’ and the new album. And also, some songs that no one’s heard before; that have not even been recorded. Music that sounds really good live, but has not made the record. We play whatever we want. We are promoting the EP, so we play that, but then we play wherever the environment takes us.

Do you have a special message to your Indian listeners?

It is difficult for me to speak on this context. It is like telling a bunch of people who are eating oranges on how to eat it when all you have ever eaten is an apple. I feel that so much of this part of the world is still quite a mystery for him, even though the internet has provided with tiny window. But, I would caution your culture not to copy the western way of going about being a band or being in a festival. It might feel that we Americans have a lot figured out, but there is a lot of consumerism and greed going around which is really harming the music. When a song becomes something you download and not something you share, that it when things get a little dangerous. It is dangerous when you take an art form and turn it in to a product that you consume. Art is something that brings people together and it should not be exploited.