The band Motograter are definitely no strangers to the ups and downs to the ever changing landscape of the music industry. Lineup changes and a couple hiatuses later, Motograter are still going strong and are working harder than ever. Their most recent album “Desolation” was released this past August and they are currently in the midst of their Desolation Tour. We recently had the chance to chat with Noah “Shark” Robertson about the history of Motograter and the new album.
Chimera- First and foremost, tell us about your latest album ‘Desolation.’ What were some of the inspirations for the album, and how did it develop?
Noah –“Desolation” tells a tale of death and despair, but there is a hopefulness to it as well… Desolation contains themes of death and decay and a lot of “end of the world” type of imagery. Fear of death, fear of dying, fear of aging and decaying. Hopelessness and self-loathing… Prophecies of the end times. The raven or crow sort of became the “harbinger of death” in the ‘Desolation’ story line… a sign of things to come. The Raven is the “death coach” in some of the folklore found in parts of Europe. In Irish folklore it is known as the “silent coach”. It is said that the sight or sound of the coach is the “harbinger of death”. It is a warning of imminent death to yourself or someone close to you. Christians believed crows to be companions of Satan and carriers of damned souls. The bird was thought to have “a special taste for criminals and enjoyed plucking the eyes out of sinners.”
Some cultures believe that a group of crows or a “murder of crows” seen perching on a tree, signifies the presence of souls from Purgatory. Crows are also known for being very clever and highly intelligent and are considered to be wise souls. Northern American cultures see crows as a sort of spirit guide and at times even a prophetic being. They are seers of the future. North American tradition sometimes views the crow or raven as “the mediator between the land of the living and the land of the dead, accompanying the dead souls on their final journey.” In Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”, depending on how you perceive the story, Poe appears to believe that the bird has come to predict his own death, and that he has perhaps even come to speak to Poe as death himself… So that is the origin story for the artwork.
Chimera- The video for your first single off ‘Desolation’ was “Dorian,” which was shot in the abandoned Ohio State Reformatory. Can you tell us about the location for the shoot as well as the theme behind the visceral video? “
Noah- Recording the video for “Dorian” was a surreal experience for all of us. We knew we needed to get a video made to help promote the new album and single, but the Moto members are somewhat spread out all over the country. The logistics of getting a video made is a little tricky for us. When we found out we’d be traveling to Mansfield, Ohio to perform at “Ink In The Clink,” we recognized an amazing opportunity. The album was dropping not too long after the festival.
We were sort of scrambling, to be honest but it somehow all came together.
We reached out to video director Chris Davis (Human Twelve) and he agreed to make the trip out to Mansfield and shoot the video. It almost didn’t happen! Chris couldn’t make it out until late at night, he drove something like six or seven hours to get to us. By the time we had everything setup and ready to go, the festival was shutting down. They were literally trying to get rid of us, just as we were about to start filming. We thought the video shoot was doomed. The staff had been working around the clock for three days and were ready to shut everything down and go home.
If it wasn’t for our hero, Mike, one of the staff members at the Ohio State Reformatory, the music video wouldn’t have happened at all. He agreed to stay and supervise the shoot and ended up staying there with us until around six or seven in the morning when we finally finished shooting. The prison is insanely spooky and creepy. You can just feel the history in that place. It was the absolute perfect location for a Motograter music video. We are extremely pleased with the results, it turned out better than we could have hoped for.
Chimera – Do you currently have an idea on what the next single will be?
Noah– The next single will be “Daggers”, release date is TBA, but soon.
Chimera- For this album you guys went over to EMP, the record label founded by Megadeth’s Dave Ellefson. Can you tell us about the transition onto that label, and why you felt it was a good fit for Motograter?
Noah– The label was new and exciting. It’s David Ellefson, need we say more? They were stoked to have us and so it was a no brainer.
Chimera – You guys are currently on tour for the album, with a packed schedule in the upcoming future. What are you most looking forward to about this tour, and what have been some of the highlights thus far?
Noah– It’s been a very smooth tour. It’s a LOT of work, but we love playing for the fans. Hearing people sing our new songs is very rewarding. It makes it feel like everything we have endured is worth it.
Chimera- Speaking of tours, are there any tracks, both past and present, that you feel almost always must be included in your live set list?
Noah- If we don’t play “Suffocate” and “Down”, something is very wrong. Those seem to be the favorites. But there are new favorites emerging, like “Dorian” and “Paragon”.
Chimera- Throughout the years there have been several lineup changes in the band. Can you tell us how that has affected who Motograter is at present, and how the shakeups may have actually helped you evolve as a band?
Noah- People come and go. Some have contributed quite a lot and some, not at all. We had to go through all that to get to our current lineup, which is the strongest to date – People tell us that a lot. This incarnation of Motograter is very strong.
Chimera- The band has obviously been around for over 2 decades now, which is huge considering the massive changes to the industry that have occurred over that time. From going to having to promote shows through fliers and word of mouth, to now having the whole world at your fingertips with social media, the way artists promote music has shifted entirely. Can you talk a little bit about how the band has adapted to that ever-changing way of getting the music out there, and what some of the pros and cons have been?
Noah- Motograter’s reach was very organic in the past. Word of mouth spread the band like wildfire. Especially performing Ozzfest and getting played on MTV. These days, social media is a big help. We have instant access to our fans and friends. It’s great. In the past, people had to get their hands on a Demo or a CD, but these days people can look us up on Youtube or Spotify. It’s much easier to spread your name, but there is much more competition. It will continue to evolve and change, no doubt.
Chimera- Again, being veterans in the industry you’ve probably seen and heard just about everything. What advice would you give to bands in regards to staying humble and maintaining longevity?
Noah- Your fans are top priority. We see a lot of guys taking this for granted. You should make time to hang out with the fans, sign autographs, and take pictures. They remember that kind of thing and they tell their friends. Don’t let the fame go to your head. At the end of the day we are just regular people.
Chimera – Before we go, are there any final thoughts you would like to share with our readers, either about the tour or what’s next for Motograter?
The Moto gears will keep turning. Stay tuned for more soon!
You can see Motograter on the remainder of their Desolation tour :
11/9 – QZ Expo Center – Ringle, WI
11/10 – Dr. Jack’s Drinkery – Omaha, NEB
11/11 – Aftershock – Merriam, KS
11/12 – Herman’s Hideaway – Denver, CO
11/15 – Beauty Bar – Las Vegas, NV
11/16 – The Viper Room – Hollywood, CA
11/17 – Pamona – Santa Clara, CA
11/18 – Malone’s Bar – Santa Ana, CA
Connect with Motograter:
Official Website: https://retargotom.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/motograte r