Interview: Motionless in White’s Chris Motionless talks, new label, nu-metal, death of Scranton scene

Posted by on May 1, 2017

On Friday (5), Motionless in White will release their fourth full length album, Graveyard Shift. While the band are veterans at this point, the album, their first for Roadrunner, will espose them to a new audience. The album’s first single, “Loud (Fuck It)” is getting them active rock airplay, and their metalcore/nu-metal sound is drawing comparisons to vintage Korn or Marilyn Manson.Vocalist Chris Motionless spoke to Metal Insider about signing to what they called their dream label, getting to meet and tour with their idols, whether nu-metal is a dirty word, and the sad decline of the Scranton, PA scene they emerged from when the band formed in 2005. You can pre-order Graveyard Shift here and scroll down to listen to the just-released track “Rats.” 

You’ve said that Roadrunner was basically your dream label. How so and in what ways?

When we were a younger band that was the label that had the bands that we loved on it like Slipknot, Megadeth, Killswitch. It’s just a huge label and it seemed like when we were a younger band, the talk was ‘Don’t sign to a major label!’ Not that we thought we ever could, but there was that talk of ‘Don’t sign to a major label’ to us. Although Roadrunner, I guess you’d call it a major label, it has a very indie label spirit and I’ve known that for a long time and it seemed like the most upper label that we could be on that always got rock and understood what we wanted to do. It’s crazy to think back to then and having those thoughts and now realizing that it was exactly true. They have an indie label spirit. They’re very connected to the artists. They understand the vision of each artist individually and they’re not trying to change that and I had that feeling all along and it worked out very nicely and it’s pretty cool to see that.


So you were on Fearless before. Did you wait for your contract to be up, or were you aggressively courted by other labels?

We were with Fearless and we had a good time over there and it was just time for us to feel like we wanted to go to the next level. Once our contract was up, we did start meeting with people that were somewhat interested or interested so there were a few choices to go through that we really liked, but like I said, when Roadrunner was offering, it was kind of hard to turn your back on it when it was the dream label we wanted to be on. It felt like we knew we were going to go in that direction all along and I’m really happy that they saw something in us and wanted us to be apart of their family.


On Roadrunner you’ll probably be exposed to some people that might have never heard of the band before or not been that familiar with you. You’ve been around for a while now, so how would you say your new record is similar or different to your past work?

I think it’s similar in that it’s still a heavy record. There are moments of not so heaviness, but I think we did a really good job at maintaining that aspect of the band that built us a foundation, being heavier and aggressive and having a pretty deep and impactful message. That’s something we’ve carried on throughout all the albums and maybe even more so on this one than some of the past. I think that’s part of the reason we’ve had success. As far as new listeners hearing us now, I think there’s a lot for all different types of listeners but at the same time is has a central theme so it’s not like there’s a song crafted for rock people and a song crafted for metal people. Anyone can listen to it and that’s what I like about it.


There’s a nu-metal vibe going throughout the record that’s probably your influence rubbing off on the new record. How do you feel about nu-metal being a dirty word and coming back? It seems like there’s a whole new generation of people that might not have even have been around for the first time that are completely embracing it. What are your thoughts on the whole nu metal movement?

It’s so funny that you say there’s a whole generation of people that weren’t around for the first round of it, the big years of it at least, and it sounds new to them. I just assume that people have listened to Korn and bands in that time period that we really like, and Korn is still a very popular band, but I think people know their old songs very well and I’m just happy to carry on the style of music that we like and in some ways I think that there’s more than nu metal found in some of these songs. There is a very present influence on a lot of the tracks and I think it’s awesome. I think Korn is clearly still a massive band for a reason and their new record is doing really well for a reason. Clearly Limp Bizkit could go play a venue and sell it out no problem because people still really enjoy that stuff. They really enjoy those bands, and if there aren’t a lot of bands doing it now, those kind of bands might be hungry for that style in a new form and here we are to provide some of that for them.



You’ve gotten to work with some of your idols, having done stuff with Slipknot and now you’re on Korn’s label and I’m sure you’ve bumped into them on the road. What’s it like meeting bands that you grew up worshipping?

It’s really fucking cool man. It’s especially special when you meet these people and they’re really great guys. Corey Taylor, Jonathan Davis, all these guys from all these bands, Ben from Breaking Benjamin, and all these bands that we love that we’ve been so into since before the band even started. It’s really awesome to meet these guys and see them not just being like nice guys but to see them welcoming younger generation of bands coming in behind them to walk on that path that they paved. I think they can see that they paved the way for these bands and I hope they appreciate what they’ve done when they see bands like us coming behind them and carrying on stuff like they helped bands like us to achieve. I really love getting the chance to meet these guys and none of them have let me down yet and that’s pretty awesome.


Is there anyone you’d love to tour with that you haven’t yet?

We’ve been able to tour with Slipknot, we’ve been able to tour with Korn, we’ve been able to tour with Breaking Benjamin, it’s insane. There’s definitely tons of bands we want to tour with, some unrealistic I’m sure, like touring with Rammstein or System of a Down, and then there’s others that are in a bit of a different genre than ours that we’d love to tour with, like Cradle of Filth. I think it’s cool that we can tour with those bands if the opportunity presented itself and do well on either of those tours, so there’s quite a few bands.


You mentioned Breaking Benjamin, and I definitely wanted to ask you a little bit about Scranton and coming out of the Northeast Pennsylvania scene. Was there really even that much of a scene? 

The scene there that used to be is responsible for giving us that foundation, that launchpad to go from. Our scene used to have so many venues, so many shows coming through. There was a bigger venue, there was an amphitheater, tons of smaller clubs and DIY venues. There was so much everywhere and there were shows all the time. It was a huge community of fans. That was pretty strong I’d say for 5-10 years. Some of the hardcore venues were definitely longer than 10 years, but there was a 5-10 year period where there was just show after show after show. My entire high school experience and shortly after high school was just going to so many concerts and shows and after when the band started, we were playing so many of these shows. I really do thing that Scranton is in our blood and that’s why we have a song called “570” which is my favorite song we’ve ever written. “570” is the Northeast PA area code and it’s such a strong force behind us and I think that without those days we wouldn’t have had much to go off of.


Is it still a vibrant scene? Do you guys keep in touch with your Scranton peoples?

Sadly no. One by one, once one big venue went, venue after venue just crumbled, and a lot of the areas were just gentrifying. Some of the venues got kicked out and just didn’t make sense in a city anymore and just one by one they all disappeared and that group of friends and everybody just moved away and everything dissipated and there’s rarely a show there and a lot of those people I used to know don’t go to shows anymore, they’re not even from the area anymore so it’s really, really upsetting.


That’s a bummer. So where does a Scranton band play around other than Scranton?

Closest to us would be Allentown or Stroudsburg so it’d be Croc Rock or Sherman Theater. We just played in Stroudsburg at a place called the Sherman Theater which we’ve been playing at for about 8 or 10 years that we’ve been a band, and I think it was the first time we ever saw it sold out so it was really, really awesome to come back and see that there are still people going to shows, it’s just a whole different group of people than we remember from back in the day.

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