Motopony kicked off a tour last week with Viva Brother. The tour will have them returning to New York City to play the Bowery Ballroom as part of the CMJ Festival. Last month, the band played a headline set at NYC’s Mercury Lounge. Check out photos from their show below thanks to our photographer Patrick Eves (HippieDeathBed.com) and go to motoponymusic.com to see the band’s upcoming tour dates.
Motopony frontman Daniel Blue shares with us the final post in the band’s diary from their west coast tour. Read on below:
8/7 Last night we played the Urban Lounge in Salt Lake City. Iâ€™ve often thought that the towns with the heaviest stereotypes come with a built in counter culture. Youth rebel harder when the pressure is extreme. This is our last show with White Arrows. Everyone is high fiving and trying to get in the best time despite the watered down beer. Mickey and I hug and take pics holding each otherâ€™s stickers and talk shit about places to stay in our cities. There are thousands of bands out there. Not all of them are cool like we were cool with it this week. During the Darlins last song we all (three bands) got on stage and had a moshpit tambourine freak out. I felt like I was in a cool kid cult. All smiles all around, and Iâ€™ve never seen a crowd get off like that. All whipping hair and flailing limbs. Its fun to give people permission to be themselves. Like, â€œhey, there are over a dozen people on this stage in various levels of dork-out…whatâ€™s youâ€™re excuse, cool guy?â€ Even the stoic fucker in his metal jean jacket had to crack a smile, shuffle his feet and get with the program.
Last time we checked in with Motopony’s Daniel Blue, he told us about how his little accident with foam nunchuckas before heading up to the band’s San Francisco show. Would Daniel be able to avoid injury again? Would the band’s show at the Tractor Tavern be their best or worst ever? Read on below to find out:
8/3 Brantley and Buddy grew up in a little logging town called Longview Washington. As far as I can tell, itâ€™s the kind of town where you either get real good at making magic on a musical instrument, or you die a lumberjack. We love to play Portland because itâ€™s a weird sort of class reunion for the boysâ€¦our friends in 1776 and Hawkeye had the luck to dodge the chainsaw and hop log jam down river. They pretty much make every PDX show a party. Bunk Bar was our third venue in Rose city and easily the largest crowd we have played to. For some reason I decided to wear daisy dukes and these cheap yellow suspenders I bought at American Apparel. I looked weird to myself and thought about it a lot later, especially when I saw the pictures. I showed the boys in White Arrows my nunchucka chaos dance, and while they were into it for a second the wild bit near the endâ€¦wellâ€¦ I think it freaked them out. Good thing Mitch was there, he always grounds my shit. If I was into boysâ€¦.Iâ€™d marry that one. Mental note: Buy more tambourines.
8/4 We have played the Tractor Tavern in Ballard more times than any other venue in Americaâ€¦so far. But instead of being predictable and ordinary, last night was the weirdest, wildest most insane lava tsunami of a rock show I have ever had the pleasure of surviving. All of the sudden in the middle of my meditation in the green room, I heard our opening song beginâ€¦I thought, â€œwell, thatâ€™s odd, we already had a sound check.â€ I hit my head on the mic when I walked onto the stage and when I dodged it in mock recoil I hit my head on mikeâ€™s mic. Things got worse from there. At some point I threw in the towel and was just like, “if you cant remember the lyrics to king of diamonds you may as well dance the creep out.” You find yourself
infiltrated by the stares, but you have to get that creep out. Dance him right off your shoulders. Dodging bullets shot from heaven, we closed with the painted jawbone of a gold toothed horse held high. People said it was the best they had seen us …ever. Go figure.
Motopony is on a west coast tour now with Those Darlins and White Arrows. Frontman Daniel Blue wrote to us about a small accident he had after the band’s show at the Echo, his first impressions of the San Francisco venue Bottom of the Hill and finding the inspiration to perform live.
Check out his post below and make sure to go to motoponymusic.com to buy some of their music!
7/31 I woke up in Koreatown and got in the van after practicing with my new foam nunchuckas. We made a game called invisible ninja baseball. I hit my eye, but I can still see. I selfishly left the driving LA-SF to my mates. The bottom of the hill is a club that lives up to its name geographically. Inside it looks like a Tim Burton inspired lounge for Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Load-in, sound-check and a coffee cup later we played again to a full room. Before our set I was all nerves and bad text messages, but some zen happened in the green room while I bonded with the ‘Darlins badass Nichole and her bestie. I found my knees and my breath….and the fucking thunder came into me again. Sometimes you’re like “god damn it I can’t even swing this tambourine my arm hurts so bad, ” But then you feel the thunder above you, and look up into those lights where you know the top point of your triangle lies….and that fucking tambo turns into gamma rays like its swinging itself off the end of your feathered arm. After a conversation with the front man of White Arrows about shamanism I watched their set with wider eyes. These kids are hot, we are going on a skateboard adventure ritual when we get to Seattle.
In a unassuming little venue in Echo Park, Motopony rocked The Echo. While they were the opening band, they were the best of the performers that night and definitely left their mark on the crowd.
They played a fantastic blend of upbeat tracks and ballads, making sure to include their newest hit, “King of Diamonds” early, and ending on the song that they first broke out on the scene with “Euphoria, Euphoria” and hitting every note in between.
While I had talked to Daniel Blue earlier, his philosophy on life and live music seemed to shine through in his performance. The emotion and passion was evident in every word, in every note. In my interview, I asked him about drug culture and while he said he’d seen it in the rave community, it wasn’t something he was interested in because that’s not what the music is about. Well, had it not said it himself, I would have thought he was on something while performing; he was just so engrossed in the music that he was high on the experience.
In addition to his unique stage presence, the audience was completely invested. The highlight of the show for many was when he passed out tamborine’s the audience to give the crowd a part of the performance. As he said in his interview, he believes live music should be like a religious experience and the only way to get close to that is that have everyone as engaged in the performance as the performers. One of the girl’s who caught a tamborine even came on stage; the joy on her face was evident.
If there’s one thing I hope Motopony accomplishes on their tour of the West, it’s to get all bands to have as much energy invested in each and every song at each and every performance. Maybe the religious analogy isn’t too far off – you need to believe in the performers for them to put on a great show, and that show could be something you keep with you the rest of your life. While I don’t think Motopony is there yet, they’re certainly on the right path. Do yourself a favor and catch their show if they end up in your town.
Last Friday night, Motopony kicked off their tour with White Arrows and Those Darlins. Frontman Daniel Blue checked in with us to tell us about playing in Los Angeles and his first impressions of the bands he’s touring with. Check it out below and head over here to see their YouTube Guest Editor playlist.
Our first of seven shows with White Arrows and Those Darlins was last night at the Echo in Los Angeles. During soundcheck, a friend texted me that there was a line around the building…it’s been a while since we’ve opened…but I’ve never opened to a full house before. I love LA. Barring the typical comedy of errors involved getting to Southern California from Seattle in 48 hours (read: stopping for gas and forgetting to pump any, getting lost in Hollywood Hills with a 36 foot van and trailer…etc) we found ourselves energized and ready to put it out for as long as they let us stay on the stage. A quick camaraderie was forged in the green room. We all pretty much fell in love with Those Darlins on YouTube…in person they are just as wildly adorable. Live they are rock goddess status. I found myself irresistibly convulsing and generally hypnotized by their gyrations and near psychedelic wind outs. The White Arrows are equally deserving of their current hype status…far more local to LA than Ponies or Darlins, they acted the perfect hosts and even invited us to the after party in the hills. Suffice to say, I never had my doubts or anything, but this tour is going to kick ass.
When you ask someone about how they came up with their band name, you donâ€™t expect to get into a deep philosophical discussion about the state of the world and societyâ€™s path towards destruction. However, Daniel Blue from Motopony is not your normal band frontman.
Daniel started writing songs in 2008 and had been working with musicians on their own lyrics, giving them a poetic flair thanks to his writing background. Through his work with musicians, he met the guys who ended up being the Motopony piano player and producer. Through back and forth emails, they started writing the album together. After a while, they hooked up with Tiny Ogre last summer and things moved quickly; signed a deal by November and then re-released the record with an extra track not long after.
After learning about the history of the band, things took a turn for the serious with some great discussion on everything from music influences, live music as a religious experience, and where the name â€œMotoponyâ€ came from and how it serves as a reminder to humanity to respect the environment.
Who would you say your musical influences are?
I wasnâ€™t allowed to listen to music growing up, so I used to pick through my friends my CDs. I feel I personally was influenced by classic rock like Cat Stevens, Neil Young, and Led Zeppelin. While people were listening to Blink 182 I was pretty heavy into 60s rock and roll. I was pretty heavy in to that, but I donâ€™t know if that sound comes out in our music. You absorb so much that youâ€™re not sure exactly what is coming out in your music.
Actually, I was heavily influenced by The Holy Ghost movement that was happening in Colorado and the Pacific Northwest; there was this idea of the spirit of God moving through these people. I was really taken somewhere, that was really trippy almost like drugs, by the music. I want to invite whatever that power was into my music. I think itâ€™s out there and you can channel that regardless of your religion. Itâ€™s not just for the religious, I do believe thereâ€™s a trance or a presence when people come together for something. We called it worship, but itâ€™s a participatory thing. Iâ€™ve seen it at Raves. I would go places where people were coming and moving together. Weâ€™re all here to take care of each other, with peace, love, and respect. Thereâ€™s nothing like 5,000 people coming together in a warehouse for one cause.
You mentioned drug culture, do you have a history with that personally?
I have a level head about that, but Iâ€™ve seen that in some close friends and Iâ€™m not willing to lose control. When I started seeing that in the rave community when I was 18 or 19 years old, I realized I was not going to be a part of that. People were losing their minds. If youâ€™re at a rave for drugs, then youâ€™re missing the actual experience. I donâ€™t want to generalize and stereotype, not all ravers do drugs and not all rockers do cocaine, but itâ€™s out there.
How has your experience on tour been so far?
A humbling and thrilling experience. You can go from LA and 1,000 people watching you, to San Diego the next night and no one knows who you are. It can be a rollercoaster if youâ€™re basing your success solely on the attendance. For us, weâ€™re in the studio practicing every day. You get to a point that youâ€™re so bored playing the songs for each other. But now that weâ€™re touring and playing for others, itâ€™s such an adventure and a thrill to play in a new place to 6 new faces even if thatâ€™s all you get. To go from being an audience member, to being a congregation member, to go from the guy hosting, it for me itâ€™s wild and itâ€™s such a rush in and of itself.
Do you have your next project in mind already?
We have so many song ideas already, with about 50 unrecorded songs right now. Neither of us have stopped writing and now we have a new guitar player named Mike Notter, and he writes as well. We donâ€™t take breaks because weâ€™re emotional creatures and we need to get that. We have enough for 3 more albums even if we stop right now. The real problem is whittling them down and grouping them together into something that will live up or even exceeed the first album.
Recording and touring are two different things and we love both of them. But they take a lot of time. Weâ€™re hoping to take December and January to boil it down and craft an album.
Where did the band name come from?
It comes from me spending a lot of time thinking about the crisis surrounding global warming. Our culture is abusive to the planet, how we love disposable things and how our phone and technology is obsolete in 3 years. I wanted to create an idea that helps people to consider the objects around them as being alive and therefore deserving of our respect. I started calling my motorcycle a pony, like a brave with his horse, so I called it a motopony. I give anything that I try to make alive the name of motopony: itâ€™s become a sort of game to play with myself to help me remember that things around me are actually alive and are deserving of my kindness and consideration.
And to close out the interview, Daniel elaborated on his general philosophy on why live music just might change the world:
We see music as an event, not a product or a consumable. Technology is incredible, and the fact that we have the instant gratification of Spotify and iTunes where everything is available as soon as we demand it is wonderful. But I donâ€™t want people to forget that there is a moment where the song is brought out in an instrument and that event is magical, especially if youâ€™re there to hear it with a large group of people who are there to see it too. Itâ€™s as close as we get to the magic of our ancestors and itâ€™s something we need to invest in and consider again because weâ€™re losing it. And if we donâ€™t, weâ€™re going to forget it and get more isolated and if we donâ€™t weâ€™ll continue driving this planet to its doom. If we can remember that, we can start to turn this boat around to bring people together to remember this world.
This was some pretty heady discussion, but it just made me respect their creative process even more. Motopony definitely doesnâ€™t seem like your average indie Los Angeles band!
Motopony will be playing at The Echo in Los Angeles on Friday, July 29 (tickets). Their track â€œKing of Diamondsâ€ is a great indie jam that is currently Starbuckâ€™s Pick of the Week. Stop in to get a free download or listen to it right here:
Seattleâ€™s rising glitch-folk band Motopony will perform intimate acoustic sets for Southwest Airlines Customers in Baltimore, St. Louis, Dallas and Los Angeles on June 29 in celebration of Southwest Airlineâ€™s 40th Anniversary. Conceived by Southwest Airlinesâ€™ advertising partner GSD&M, the â€œSouthwest Airlines 40th Anniversary Tour featuring Motopony,â€ will feature the band flying from city to city, beginning in Baltimore at 7:00 a.m. EDT, creating a concert atmosphere out of the Southwest Airlines terminal in each market. The one-day tour will conclude with a set at Southwest Airlines Baggage Claim in Los Angeles International Airport at 8:25 p.m. PDT.
Southwest Customers will be treated to songs from Motoponyâ€™s self-titled debut album, available now via tinyOGRE Entertainment. Along the way, Southwest flight attendants will be handing out Motopony swag, and customers will have the chance to win a limited edition tour poster.
Motoponyâ€™s first album has received early support from the influential KCRW with the band appearing on â€œMorning Becomes Eclecticâ€ as well as critical acclaim from NPR Music, KEXP, NYLON, AOL Spinner, RCRD LBL and many others. The single â€œKing of Diamondsâ€ was featured as iTunesâ€™ Indie Spotlight Download of the Week and NYLON Guys recently premiered the â€œKing of Diamondsâ€ video noting that â€œwith easy vocals and strummy guitar riffs, their self-titled debut is relaxing, invigorating, and downright addictive all at the same time.â€ View the video here: http://youtu.be/ncV8uX4X-HU.
The band is set to tour this summer including dates with Those Darlins (see dates below).
Motopony is fronted by lead singer, songwriter, former fashion designer and writer Daniel Blue along with collaborators Buddy Ross, Brantley Cady and Forrest Mauvais. The four-piece group has quickly risen through the Seattle music scene receiving praise from KEXP while Seattle Weekly called them one of the â€œnine up-and-coming bands at the heart of Seattleâ€™s music sceneâ€ and Tacomaâ€™s Weekly Volcano named them â€œTacomaâ€™s Best New Band.â€ Additional info on the band is available at www.facebook.com/Motopony.
About Southwest Airlines
In its 40th year of service, Southwest Airlines continues to differentiate itself from other low-fare carriers â€“ offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest Airlines is the nation’s largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded and has recently acquired AirTran Airways, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines Co. Southwest serves 72 cities in 37 states and is one of the most honored airlines in the world known for its commitment to the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet. To read more about how Southwest is doing its part to be a good citizen, visit southwest.com/cares to read the Southwest Airlines One Report(TM). Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,400 flights a day and has more than 35,000 Employees systemwide.
GSD&M is an advertising agency celebrating its 40th year of helping some of the worldâ€™s most iconic brands win by articulating and activating their core purpose â€“ the difference a brand strives to make in its customersâ€™ lives. GSD&M is part of Omnicom Group, Inc. (NYSE: OMC). For more information, visit GSDM.com.
MOTOPONY TOUR DATES
June 29 Motopony Across America in One Day
July 29 The Echo Los Angeles, CA*
July 30 Bottom of the Hill San Francisco, CA*
August 2 Bunk Bar Portland, OR*
August 3 Tractor Tavern Seattle, WA*
August 5 Neurolux Boise, ID*
August 6 Urban Lounge Salt Lake City, UT*
August 8 Hi Dive Denver, CO*
August 13 Winter Park Beer Festival Winter Park, CO