Since their debut album Creatures in 2010, Motionless In White have been a permanent, gothic fixture in contemporary metal. Channelling the likes of AFI and Eighteen Visions with an electronic, industrial backbone, they harnessed a much more metallic and robust sound that evolved over the course of four full-length records. We called up frontman and sole remaining original member Chris Motionless to talk about each album, what they mean to him, and how they have stood the test of time.
“We were trying to think of an album name and we had a lot of ideas, but I just didn’t feel like any one of them were fitting what we wanted to get out of it. I remember one day we were getting together to write and our drummer at the time Angelo (Parente) said ‘What if we call it Creature or Creatures,’ and something about it hit me, that was it. At the time we were also thinking if we had a fan club what it would be called, y’know Slipknot has maggots, and creatures is where my mind went first, before we had it for an album title. That helped the record take shape, the title track has lyrics from fans, and it went really deep after that.
“It’s something I was really proud to have as part of our album, and I still am. I didn’t want to limit anybody to write about this one thing, so I took the most recurring themes I found in the lyrics and tried my absolute best to tie them together and tell a story. I think I found something that really spoke for what the fans were trying to say.
“Since the beginning of our band to present day, if someone refers to us as metalcore we always like to include that we’re mid-00s metalcore like Eighteen Visions, Bleeding Through, As I Lay Dying, when they were the metalcore kings. We were very inspired by those bands. It was just a matter of continuing what they inspired us to do. We had aggressive songs with keyboards in them, but it just became it’s own thing.”
“Every day I have a different opinion about this album. I stand by the album but I think a lot of mistakes were made in every facet of creating, writing and recording. I really am proud of what came out of it, I think some of my best lyrics are on that album, but the execution was agonising past a certain point. It’s a tainted record for me. It leaked a month early, without any explanation of preface from the band as to what to expect because it was so different to Creatures. Once the negative air cleared, you found who was really with the band to stay and who was gonna support the band’s new direction, and that was awesome to see.
“I do listen to the album, and I hear unique aspects that make it Motionless In White, but I hear a lot of fear from us trying to stay in a bubble that we thought our label wanted us to stay in. Although our label Fearless were cool to us, they let it be known that they were somewhat taking a risk on our band because we weren’t exactly the most popular band ever, and we wanted to stay in a bubble that they may have expected us to stay in. That’s what I hear on the album, and even though the album has some stuff I’m proud of, it’s not the true potential of the band and wasn’t really the bigger sound we were going for that we achieved with future albums.
“Infamous was the album that was supposed to be what Reincarnate was. If we were given the chance to do the album again it could be great. It’s one of those things where you can’t learn a lesson unless you fail and make a bunch of mistakes, I think it’s an album that had to happen.”
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“Reincarnate was a lot less stressful than Infamous. We had way more time to work on the album. We were more experienced, more mature, more refined, we were able to really harness exactly what we wanted to do and put an album together that really spoke for where the band was at. My favourite thing about Creatures to Reincarnate is that you can really hear Reincarnate within the Creatures songs. We had more time, more clarity over what we wanted to do, we had so many lessons learned, so it made for a nice cocktail of ideas and motivation and passion.
“I think certain songs on it are more aggressive than previous records. Although we’re a lot happier with ourselves and our lives, there’s an intense anger and passion and drive where you want to prove yourself more and more, and that comes out in our music on Reincarnate.
“We wanted to give fans something extra because I’ve always loved it when bands have guest vocalists on other songs. It gives that extra bit of excitement toward a track that maybe wouldn’t have been there. There’s selfishness because I want to have a person on a song because I love what they do, and I want them singing along next to me. With Dani Filth it was this generational gap coming together to meet in the middle and that’s a really amazing thing for fans, and for our band to see happen.”
Graveyard Shift (2017)
“I know I sound like every other band when I say it’s our best record – I don’t think I’ve ever heard a band say their new album is ‘okay’ compared to their other records! There wasn’t this questioning about where we wanted to go, we knew exactly what we wanted to do, we made the album we really wanted to make and every other cliché that bands say about their new album ha ha! I love it and the fan reaction has been really positive. There are things I’d do differently in terms of how the album was rolled out, but I stand by the album and it’s cool to see fans around the world responding to it.
“Being on Roadrunner is great, it’s such a prestigious label that has been at the forefront of metal for years, and they really want to see the band succeed. Our time with Fearless was great and they were cool to us, but we really wanted to take things to the next level.
“Graveyard Shift is seen as creepier and spookier, but I felt Creatures had a large spooky, creepy, Danny Elfman-esque vibe to it. We tried to interpret what fans love about that album because we still play songs from it and we hear about that album being a big album for fans. For every album we try to include what we’ve done over the years to paint a bigger picture of what our band means.”
We’re giving away five pairs of tickets to see Motionless In White on their UK tour this month.Head over here to enter the competition and you could be seeing MIW at one of the below dates:
Jan 18: Southampton Engine Rooms, UK
Jan 19: Bristol O2 Academy, UK
Jan 20: Leeds Stylus, UK
Jan 22: Glasgow Garage, UK
Jan 23: Newcastle Riverside, UK
Jan 25: London Koko, UK
Jan 26: Birmingham O2 Institute, UK
Jan 27: Manchester O2 Ritz, UK
Jan 28: Norwich Waterfront, UK