On the One: The Motet Wants to Take You to Funkytown
Some bands are there to help you shoegaze, others to rage through the streets, molotov cocktail in hand as you endeavor to smash the state, and others just want to help you knock some boots. The Motet doesn’t quite fall into any of those categories—though they are focused on a key pre-boot-knocking activity: the ritual shaking of the booty. The Denver funk band is coming to perform at the Historic Ashland Armory, and perspective concert-goers should arm themselves with comfortable shoes, and something they don’t mind sweating in, because between the break-beats, the funky synths, and the slamming horns, the dancepocalypse will most definitely be nigh.
To preview the show, the band’s trumpet player, Gabriel Mervine, took the time to answer some questions for The Messenger.
Rogue Valley Messenger: You’ve played Southern Oregon several times now, a market somewhat similar to your home market in Colorado. Any thoughts or expectations? Any parallels?
Gabriel Mervine: The band has a lot of history in Oregon and some of the players, like Joey Porter, lived there for a while and have a following there. I try not to go into shows with too many expectations because at the end of the day, it’s my job to play my trumpet as musically and inspired as I can no matter the audience. That being said, every time we come to Oregon it’s a rager!
RVM: Speaking of ragers… The Motet seems to exist in an interesting between space of drawing large audiences and playing festival stages, but without much in the way of traditional mainstream commercial airplay. Is that deliberate? Does it speak to changing trends in the music industry? How do y’all feel about it?
GM: We want our music to reach as many people as possible, but we also want to stay true to our sound. Writing music specifically for a “genre” or a specific audience for money or radio play isn’t something we do. We don’t want our music and performances to feel contrived. I believe if you take care of the music, the music will take care of you!
RVM: That music has a definitely funk and jam sound. Was it deliberate to court that style when you all got together, or something that arose naturally from your combined musicianship?
GM: I don’t think the band has ever deliberately pursued a specific sound of genre. As individual members of the group we are each rooted in our own favorite styles of performance whether it be Drew Sayers and Reggae, Joey Porter and Funk, or me and Jazz, but when the group comes together it is a melting pot of all our influences to create something ever-changing and unique.
RVM: What is your goal when you step on stage?
GM: When we get on stage it’s a party every time. That’s what we want. Forget your troubles at the door and come shake your ass. There is also a depth to our music lyrically and harmonically that isn’t as common among funk bands. We spend a lot of time when we write our music making sure it hits you in the heart, the hips and the mind!
RVM: What’s on the radar for y’all?
GM: Coming up we have a little NYE tour we’re doing that will take us to Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago and Atlanta. After that it’s a few things in January including Jam Cruise which is always so fun to get to hang out with all your best friends and colleagues and jam out together every night. We also have our eyes on getting some writing done early next year in hopes of another record soon. Stay tuned!
The Motet, with Polyrhythmics
8 pm, Sat., November 19
Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St., Ashland
$25 adv., $30 door