World, meet Motive. We think you’re gonna like each other.

The praise – and criticism – of our 20-something generation is that we’re doing things differently. And making it in music is no exception to this different-philosophy. The standard stages of start band –> find label –> make album –> achieve rock stardom is no longer the only way to make it in “the biz.” And Motive is a prime example. They also gave us one of the best answers we’ve ever heard for when life gives you lemons – but we’ll get there.

First a little background. The boys – Nick (vocals, guitar), Dave (guitar), Andrew (bass), and Chris (drummer, guitar) – have been together for “three glorious years” touring the country and spreading their music – and their charm. When the venue they were set to perform in was too loud for us to do our interview, they were just as cool and comfortable heading outside to do the interview outside. And we so love calm, cool interviewees.  That’s when we got to hear their story. Nick, Chris, and Andrew grew up together in Seattle, then “came over to New York at the ripe young age of 18 or so, where we met Davey and Motive was formed years after that. But that’s the story,” Nick, who sings and plays guitar for Motive, explained. Their sound, as they would describe it, comes closest to a mix of The Beatles, Radiohead, The Strokes, and Nirvana. Of course, they made sure to first point out that the best way to describe them was “better than the Beatles.”

Over the years they’ve toured the country, performing at bars and clubs, trying to get word out about the band and the music. But a packed van with high mileage isn’t their only means of pushing the music. In fact, it’s not even close to the only method.

Let’s talk about a little something called crowdfunding. You’ve all probably heard about sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but Motive is using the former to fuel their first album. “We’re making a documentary, music videos, and an album” with the money raised from the Kickstarter, the band told Sweet Lemon. “When the album comes out the cover is going to be artwork with the signatures of all the people that donated like $50 bucks or more.” Nick explained: “We have our own manager, booking agent, publicity – we do all the things a label would do, we just do it ourselves.” And while this wasn’t the way they set out to “make it” their fans are obviously responding positively. Motive set a goal of $15,000 on their Kickstarter and raised $16,355 in a 35 day period from just over 100 backers. That’s some serious crowd support.

So where’s that money going? In short towards their first full-length album, a documentary of their career (so far!), music videos, remixes, and, of course, publicity. “Please know that it is because of you, and only you, that we are able to follow our dream,” the Kickstarter description reads. “Right at this moment we may not be able to hug you, but we’re hugging you with our thoughts and when we see you, know that a hug is in store.” Free hugs? See? We told you: charming.

And, quite honestly, kind of hilarious. We asked them about their dream venue for a concert and the back and forth went a little something like…

Nick: I’ve always said Radio City Music Hall.
Chris: Mine would be suspended in midair a couple miles above Central Park with like teddy bear backup singers with wings and they’re flying. And the crowd is in hot air balloons and we’re all on fire, but it doesn’t hurt.
Nick: Yeah, that’s way better than Radio City.

Points for imagination. And more points to this answer about what to do when life gives you lemons, which we’re guessing was mostly snark until he really got the ball rolling with the story:

“When life gives you lemons it might be a good idea to take those lemons and buy a blender. And after you buy a blender, you can take it home and plug it into the outlet in your kitchen. And then after you plug it into the outlet in your kitchen, you lift the lid up and then you take maybe a watermelon and a banana and an apple and maybe peel an orange and get the skin of the orange put it in the blender then put the orange in also then take the lemons and put them in a triangle around the blender, but not inside it’s more like an aura thing. Then take your belt and undo it one notch then put it back in to the notch after that…” Andrew began. The story took a twist when a cat was introduced as a main character in the story, who lapped up the concoction on the porch. Andrew’s band mates promptly cut him off after that point.

But seriously: It’s always a rare and wonderful experience to get to be around people who not only love what they’re doing, but who want others to feel that passion as well. Drive is a funny characteristic. While sometimes it can be overpowering and alienating, other times a group of people find just the right mix of good-humor and ambition. The Goldielocks mix, if you will. Motive has that. In the half hour or so that we spent with them before the show, their drive was palpable but so was the lighthearted nature one can only assume got them through some of the tougher moments that are sure to come from touring in a rather small, and frequently jam-packed van.

It’s hard not to root for these guys, both because the music is awesome, but also because they’re doing their thing their way. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, as they say, and these boys are succeeding and being innovative in a social media world where crowdfunding is about to become the next big thing (if it hasn’t already). Of course, we hope the metaphorical cat is not not that same cat who ate the smoothie you made with the lemons, but you get the point.

Chris summed it up best: “When life gives you lemons, come to the Motive concert — and bring the lemons.”

Check out more about Motive on their site, here. And watch their newest video for “Burn Down Brooklyn” just below.

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1 Comment

  • Reply September 20, 2013

    Adair-Hayes Crane

    Sweet! These guys are awesome :)