For a band who dabble in all things dark and deathly, Motionless In White’s dressing room is a surprisingly welcoming place. Maybe it’s because the sinister scale hasn’t been cranked up to 11 yet – eyeliner and body paint is in the midst of being applied when we pop in for a chat before their sold-out Underworld show on January 24.
Chris ‘Motionless’ Cerulli, all gangly limbs and flawless smoky eyes, relaxes on a grubby-looking sofa. In person, he couldn’t be further from aloof, often manic, protagonists he portrays in videos. He’s relaxed and friendly, and even chivvies his bandmates to chip in their suggestions for songs that have influenced them, knowing we’ve got limited interview time. Motionless In White haven’t been afraid to experiment with their sound throughout their career, dabbling in aggressive, riff-led metal, industrial breakdowns and synth-infused metalcore. Still basking in the success of their third album Reincarnate, which Chris has called their ‘best release so far’ in previous interviews, the band are currently working on album four, which is due out this year.
Here, Chris, guitarist Ricky ‘Horror’ Olson, bassist Devin ‘Ghost’ Sola and keyboardist Josh Balz reveal the 10 songs that helped make the Scranton, Pennsylvania quintet the band they are today.
METALLICA – Enter Sandman (Metallica, 1991)
Chris: “This was the first Metallica song I ever heard. I credit them with being a band that came along at a turning point in my life. Once I heard them, I started getting into metal music, which then lead to punk music and all the great things in that realm. Not only that, it made me want to play guitar and drums. I was an anxious teenage kid, and I thought, ‘I need to do this’.”
IT DIES TODAY – A Threnody For Modern Romance (The Caitiff Choir, 2004)
Ricky: ”It was the first song – and band – that I heard that mixed singing and screaming together. I’d never heard that before. I was around 14 when I heard it for the first time. It blew my mind, and I’ve been hooked on them ever since.”
HIM – Join Me In Death (Razorblade Romance, 1999)
Balz: “Basically, it’s my favourite HIM song. That’s it!”
KORN – Freak On A Leash (Follow The Leader, 1998)
Ghost: ”Prior to this, I’d only heard Bush and other rock bands like that, but nothing freaky – no pun intended! This opened me up to Slipknot, Mudvayne… all that heavier rock.”
SLIPKNOT – Wait And Bleed (Slipknot, 1999)
Chris: ”This was the first Slipknot song I heard. When I first heard it, I was actually weirded out by it. I saw the video – that was my exposure to Slipknot, the song and the video at the same time. I was so confused; I’d seen bands that had a ‘look’ before, but nothing that extreme. I was just like, ‘What is this?’ Then, of course, on further investigation, I became blown away and hooked. Slipknot are a massively influential band for us.”
EIGHTEEN VISIONS – Vanity (Vanity, 2002)
Ricky: ”This is the title track of the first metalcore album I ever heard, back when I was about 13. Someone had given me a burned CD with that song on it, and the breakdown in it was the heaviest thing I’d ever heard in my life. It blew my mind. Looking back now, it’s funny to listen to, because it’s not even comparable in heaviness to music now. But at the time, it was something else.”
AS I LAY DYING – 94 Hours (Frail Words Collapse, 2003)
Ghost: “This one’s for similar reasons to the things Rick just said. It was just [puts on a hammy British accent] absolutely facking mental! The breaking point of the song where the double pedal comes in in the second verse, that just blew my mind.”
Chris: “That’s the theme of the interview – which songs blew my mind!”
BREAKING BENJAMIN – Polyamorous (Saturate, 2002)
Chris: ”That band’s from our area, so I watched them go from being a bar band in local clubs to being this insanely huge band. There was a lot of pride in watching them; they’d been in bars covering songs to doing these huge gigs playing their own. Polyamorous was their first big single, so when I put on the local radio station and heard it, there was a lot of hometown pride and a lot of inspiration to follow in that kind of path.”
HIM – The Foreboding Sense Of Impending Happiness (Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice, 2010)
Ricky: ”It’s quite an electronic song. I like it a lot just because it’s so different from their other stuff. It’s kind of like the Wasp or Sinematic of that album. I really like the imagery of the line that says, ‘By your heartstrings I am hanging from a dream…’”
ROB ZOMBIE – Dragula (Hellbilly Deluxe, 1998)
Chris: ”Aside from the fact that it’s a super badass song, it’s the first song that we as a band covered. We recorded it and put it out on Hallowe’en years ago. In retrospect, there are a lot of things I’m sure we would have done differently now, but it’s the first song we ever took a shot at covering, and people seemed to be really cool with what we did to it, so that was exciting to see we did it justice.”
For more information on Motionless In White, visit their official website.