Exclusive Interview: MOTOR

Here is another Home Exclusive Interview, this time with MOTOR! We caught up with Motor’s Bryan Black for a discussion on Depeche Mode, touring with Nitzer Ebb, and a whole lot more. Be sure to go out and pick up MOTOR’s new album, “Klunk”, now available on Mute Records!

You and Mr. No got together in London, but you are from America and he is from France, how did you guys meet and start making music?

We met in London. I just finished working for Prince, and decided to move to London. I was looking for a drummer for my band, “Haloblack”, and then I met Mr.No, who started playing drums in my band. After a week of working together, we decided to start a new project together, based only on electronic sounds, no guitars. We called it XLOVER, and after we finished the XLOVER album, which we released in 2005 on Gigolo records from Germany. MOTOR was born during the recording sessions with XLOVER. We wanted to make something even more electronic and experimental.

When I was working on this interview I was listening to your new record, “Klunk”, and thought to myself “This guy used to work with Prince”? Can you tell us a little about working with Prince? Was it as weird as they say?

I worked for him about 18 hours a day, every day for 6 months. He taught me so much about making music and performing it live. I don’t think he is so strange, just very focused and determined to do so much more than anyone else. I still listen to all the music he made from 1980-1990 whenever I can.

You mentioned you’re a really big Depeche Mode fan, can you tell us a little about how you got into them and what their music has meant to you over the years?

I bought ‘Black Celebration’ on a whim when I was a kid. I thought the cover looked cool. But it wasn’t until the ‘Personal Jesus’ single was released, that I really go into them. ‘Violator’ is probably one of my favourite albums from any artist. One of the best electronic albums for sure. And I was into Nitzer Ebb and Nine Inch Nails at the time, and they all were being produced by Flood. I thought of my first band’s name ‘Haloblack’, by writing down all the DM song titles and putting together combinations of words. ‘Halo’, and ‘Black (Celebration)’.

Every year I go through a phase, where I will listen to DM everyday for 2-3 months, all the b-sides and remixes mostly. It drives my girlfriend nuts.

Martin Gore recently commented that Motor’s remix for “Precious” was one of his favorite remixes. Had you heard that and how does that make you feel?

I read in a magazine about him choosing our remix as his favorite DM remix. It’s beyond my wildest dreams to have come this far. I always thought my music was too edgy, but Martin seems to appreciate the more crazy stuff we’re doing. I always play the violator remixes, and I hope our remix will stand the test of time, like Violator-era remixes do.

What was going though your mind when Mute contacted you about remixing “Precious”? Also, what did you think when you first heard the song you would be remixing?

Ever since MOTOR signed to Mute, I have always begged them to let us do a remix. Then it finally happened. Martin heard the MOTOR single “Yak/ Sweatbox” and became a fan.

Some fans feel your remix took the song in a direction that was too different from the original, what would you say to the fans that might feel that way?

I understand what they mean, but a MOTOR remix does that (take the song in a direction that is different from the original). That’s one of the reasons our remixes stand out. Also, Daniel Miller made it clear from the start that we should make the remix sound more like MOTOR, (not Depeche Mode).

Were you able to catch them on their last tour and did you hear your song “Yak” played in the Pre Show DJ mix that Martin made?

Yes, at Madison Square Garden in NYC. I was shocked when “Yak” was playing, all the people started clapping and going crazy, then DM started the show. It was definitely one of the highlights of 2006 for me.

Having met with Martin recently, did you guys talk about the remix or maybe working together in the future or was it more of a casual thing?

He just told me how much he liked the remix, but we didn’t get the time to talk too much. I do hope to work with them again for sure.

It seems a lot of Depeche Mode fans have embraced Motor, what do you guys think about that?

It’s great, because I am also a DM fan. And even though MOTOR is much harder than DM, we try to make the music presentable and catchy, without losing our edge. Much like Nitzer Ebb complimented DM in the 90’s.

Your record “Klunk” has finally come out in The States and you will be touring there with another DM fan favorite Nitzer Ebb, how did that come about? Also, in another connection to Depeche, Nitzer Ebb’s Doug McCarthy, who sang vocals on Alan Wilder’s Recoil project, has now done vocals on your song”1 X 1″, how did that collaboration come about as well?

I met Douglas McCarthy (of Nitzer Ebb) after a MOTOR concert in Berlin in 2005. I remember talking to him for hours and hours about his experience working with Flood and Depeche Mode. I am such a big fan of Nitzer Ebb and DM, it was something of a dream to get the inside perspective on the music.

Soon after we invited him to come to our studio in London. Within a few hours, we had recorded a new song together, called ‘1X1’. As soon as Nitzer Ebb started talking about reunion tours, Douglas started pushing for MOTOR to be a support act. We will do 4-5 shows together in the US this month (Sept) and also a tour of Germany in Oct/ Nov.

Nitzer has a long history with the band, is it a little surreal to be working with such legendary bands like Depeche and Nitzer being a newer artists?

Of course. A lot of people think of MOTOR as a new version of Nitzer Ebb. We definitely were influenced by their sound, as well as Flood’s work with Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails too. As a fan, you never really think about being on the same level as your idols, but when it happens, it’s something very satisfying.

How has the tour been going so far? Also, are you excited to get out on the road with Nitzer Ebb?

MOTOR has been on tour all year. We love doing shows. Unlike many electronic bands, we chose to perform live most of the sounds with instruments and give the fans a powerful show, complete with visuals. We start touring with Nitzer Ebb in 2 days, so I’m sure this will be amazing.

“Klunk” is a fantastic album, what would you say you are most proud of on it?

Thanks. I like “En Trans” a lot, its very emotive to me. I remember, clearly, everything about the day when it was made. Also, “Botox” is so pure and hard like classic DAF/ Nitzer Ebb, a sound which I love.

When I listen to the record it makes me think of all those classic industrial/EBM bands, but with a new and fresh edge. It’s really good, driving techno with some classic industrial elements, was that what you guys were going for? How would you describe you’re sound and the over all feel of the album?

It started as a techno project, but we could never seem to follow the rules to making DJ-friendly techno music. Our first single, ‘Din 9’, is basically noise with a kick drum. After Mute signed this single, we knew we could keep pushing the envelope with MOTOR, and it seems people appreciate that element. Naturally, because we grew up with Industrial music, that influence creeps in when we write. After a few songs, we started using vocals, and from there we were able to make a whole album which showcases what MOTOR had become.

What can we look forward to from Motor in the Future?

Lots of tours, we love to play live. The next single, ‘1X1’ which features Douglas McCarthy, will be released in October. Phil Kieran has made an amazing remix. We are also currently recording a new album and hope to have a new single from it released at the beginning of 2007.

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Interview by Glen. (C) Home. Do not steal this article without giving full credit and a link! Photo appears courtesy of Motor