Los Angeles quartet, Saint Motel are our Featured Artists of the week. Making their initial acquaintances during their trek in film school, the band decided to get together to have a go at making modern pop/rock music. Film, however is still quite influential with Saint Motel as band-leader AJ Jackson has currently directed a majority of all their music videos. The concepts are quirky and fit the style of music with much success! They are currently on the brink of releasing their first full-length album Voyeur – out tomorrow 7/10! We spoke to AJ about Voyeur, what we can expect to hear from the record, and more! Check out our interview down below.
There’s that film background for the band, but what I was curious about was that moment when the four of you decided you wanted to get together to make music - what prompted you all to form Saint Motel?
It was a gradual process. We all met at different times in school so it wasn’t like all four of us had a four-way love at first sight sorta thing unfortunately.
Bands always have some sort of story behind their band name – what does Saint Motel mean and why that name?
There are a lot of stories about the origins of SAINT MOTEL. I can’t really disprove any of them. Whether you think we are named after the South Korean motel of the same name, or it’s the name of the 60′s porno movie that someone left at our old rehearsal space, what I can tell you is that we wanted a name that was defined by the music and not the other way around. A lot of band names give you an immediate idea of what they probably sound like. I think with SAINT MOTEL, you let the music tell you.
You all make some incredibly fun, catchy tunes – what other musicians inspire you as a band as well as the music the four of you make?
Everything from Enya to ELO is a reference point for us. It’s weird but true.
You played SXSW 2012 earlier this year, how was the experience this time around compared to your 2010 visit?
Every time it gets better and better. We paced ourselves better and didn’t overload the first day.
Voyeur is coming out on July 10th – What’s the general feeling for the four of you to finally make it this far in releasing your first full-length album?
I can’t believe July 10th is so close! It feels good to have a fully album. It’s like a little baby you can hold in your arms. A baby that was conjured by four dysfunctional fathers.
We’ve heard four of the tracks on Voyeur – which are all fantastic – but what can you tell us about the rest of the album? What can we expect?
I feel like Voyeur is escapist music. SAINT MOTEL plays music that doesn’t necessarily reflect where we are, it’s music that reflects where we want to be. Often times, things are really dark and depressing in our lives, so when we get together we play very fun energetic music to help us escape those feelings.
Can you take us a little behind the scenes of Voyeur? How was the songwriting aspect between the four of you when getting this record together?
Some of the songs are from around the time of our EP “ForPlay” but most of them are we’re made in the past year or a little bit longer.
Voyeur is kind of a two parter. Half of the record is from a batch of recordings we did through a major label. The whole process left us a bit disillusioned and unsatisfied.
How about the recording process – where did you all cut the record and who helped produce it?
We decided to record and produce the other half ourselves. It was something we were all pretty nervous about doing but in the end, we’ve never been prouder of what we accomplished. A lot of really talented people have touched the album. Eric Lilavois, Joe Napolitano, Doug McKean, and a whole lot more.
I wanted to talk a little about your videos – which are pretty badass, by the way. You directed the majority of them. How easy do these concepts come to you all since it’s music and you all are keeping it in the band to produce the actual videos? Which of the videos has been the biggest pain to work on?
Thanks! The concepts can at times come really easily, you just close your eyes and see what happens. But some times, like with Benny Goodman, it’s a real challenge because no idea seems good enough. I would say the craziest shoot we’ve done was a couple weeks ago when we shot Benny Goodman and 1997 back to back. It was intense but the crew was so organized and efficient we pulled it off.
You all have an entire Soundcloud page dedicated to remixes of your tracks but I think I just fell in love with the Orchestral DeMix of “At Least I Have Nothing.” Could you talk more about that track?
I just thought that would be an interesting idea to do with our songs. Rather than just remixes, trying to deconstruct the song to it’s most basic elements, or “DeMix” it. We are planning on doing this again with a couple more songs. It was a great experience and the string players; Ezra, Isaac, and Catherine, were amazing!
Touring is something the band is quite familiar with, but your tour in support of Voyeur is on the horizon and you have a stop in DC. Have you all played here before?
It will be our first time! We are very excited.
Thanks for talking to us at Pick-Up. We’re pumped for the DC9 show! Any last words for the readers out there?
Thanks for reading.