One of my favorite experiences as a music fan is hearing something I don't know over a restaurant loudspeakers, or in a car radio, and getting so excited I have to look up the song. Thanks to Google and Shazam, it's not as hard as it used to be (just think of how you held off getting out of the car/going to the bathroom/answering the phone–just to make wait for the DJ to announce the tracks they were playing).
These serendipitous music discoveries are now few and far between, but Motopony's “King of Diamonds” broadcast on KCRW whipped me up into a frenzy until I found the Seattle band. On the phone with frontman Daniel Blue, we talked about Motopony's conception, and where the band got its name.
Blue, 31, was a fashion designer based in Tacoma–“I did any kind of art job, threw shows in my warehouse and made one-offs, anything I could do to keep doing art,” before he conceived Motopony in 2007. He went through a few lineups until he met bandmate Buddy Ross, recorded the album and took a year to figure out “how to make it happen live.”
By the end of 2010 Motopony were ready to be signed–and they were. “It's all been kind of perfect and magical like that,” Blue says. “We're just blessed that when we've completed a certain amount of work, [the universe] congratulates that with an opportunity and it feels like it was meant to be.”
The trick, he says, is to “stay sane and strong. Honor the work and the sky opens up [with opportunities.”
Speaking of the sky, Southwest just took Motopony coast to coast, and asked the band to perform at various airports throughout the country. It was fun, Blue said, but it was "17 hours of straight work.” Plus, he says, "it was cool to watch our music create a community. Airports can be pretty cold, but people were talking about [us] with each other.”
Motopony, young as it is, has been compared to a lot of '80s soft rock (such as the Cars). Blue says, “I don't get that feeling–I just try to be wild and free and beautiful…and meaningful.”
Neither do any of his influences (Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Neil Young and Cat Stevens) really intentionally make its way toward their music. The push to creation (from clothes to music), he says, was inspired by a Leonard Cohen documentary (I'm Your Man).
So about “King of Diamonds.” What is that song really about? “It started out with me trying to express a feeling…of looking for something I might never find,” Blue says. “And [wan[wanting to]grateful for what I have. It's [als[also about]earch for father figure.”
So is it autobiographical?
Blue answers coyly, “A good song is always half true, half made-up.”
Motopony perform with Those Darlins' and White Arrows at the Echo, 1822 Sunset Blvd., L.A., 90026 on Friday, July 29.