Following the release of their fantastic debut single ‘The Enemy’, we spoke to Mars Motel about 1984, nostalgia and what to expect next. Read our great interview and check out their brilliant playlist below!
‘The Enemy’ is such a brilliant track, can you tell us the story behind it?
In a society that is obsessed with social media, cameras, and mirrors its sometimes rare to ever feel at peace in isolation. Mars Motel’s debut track “The Enemy” deals with this notion of never truly being able to be alone. “Watching you every step you take // Following you down the hall // Coming up from down below // They see you as you fall” are the first lyrics you hear in the song and the listener can immediately understands that there is this over-arching, intangible force watching over every move you make – a la George Orwell’s novel “1984”.
To take this concept a bit further, I wanted the listener to not only acknowledge the presence of this force, but also address that many people, because of technological advancements, find some sort of comfort in never truly being alone, broadcasting their daily activities for the world to see and respond to. This concept is labelled as “The Enemy” and can be seen as a sort of “Black Mirror” allusion where one finds a sense of comfort and company being watched and viewed, instead of living through life’s natural moments of solitude. As the pre-chorus goes: “The Enemy will be your friend when you’re alone // The Enemy will take hold of you, when it’s your time of end.”
The songs quick pace in rhythm and riffs is supposed to emulate the speed of the 21st century urban lifestyle and the constant drive and push one needs to excel here. In juxtaposition, the softer, deeper, relaxed vocals are designed to provide a longing to a more pensive time, when the world did not move so fast.
The album art shows our protagonist experiencing a brief moment of peace and tranquility, as the ominous backdrop of the factory & Mars Motel sign watch over her.
There’s quite a nostalgic sound to the song, was this a conscious decision to pay homage to past styles and sounds?
So an interesting note – I actually wrote “The Enemy” and the upcoming Mars Motel singles over 10 years ago (2005-2007) as demos when I was still in High School. When I decided to bring this music to life, I wanted it to feel like it could have existed during the time it was inspired by, but with a modern twist. Back then, this song meant something very different to me, but after some musical and lyrical rearranging, it is now the song you hear today. I wanted the music to feel like a bridge between that time in my life and now, almost like unearthing a lost record that has been forgotten for many years – finding a sound that is new and different, yet still familiar. So yeah, it may feel nostalgic, because it’s already retro!
What artists which have influenced you in regards to how you write and perform your music?
From a writing perspective, Oasis & The Stone Roses were some of the biggest inspirations for me during this time. The melodies, the attitude, the overall power of the band just spoke to me. I wanted to mix that with the raw performance energy of bands like Kings and Leon and Cage The Elephant to create something that has groove, atmosphere, and melody.
You’re also a member of dream pop trio Twin Wave, how would you describe the differences between the two projects?
Yes I am! It’s amazing to have the ability to be in two separate, unique projects here in Brooklyn. In Twin Wave, I always leaned more into the 80’s Dark Pop genre, a la Tears for Fears, The Police, or Depeche Mode. Maxx Berkowitz (guitar) and I would creating multi-layer guitar lines that were ambient and rhythmic in nature to support lead singer, Nick Williams (vox). Additionally, keyboards & synthesizers play a big role in Twin Wave, which certainly helps cater to that 80’s sound. In Mars Motel, the inspiration comes from 90’s Brit Rock and 00’s Indie Rock. You will find a heavy guitar presence that is much more direct and upfront, yet always pleasing & melodic. Mars Motel’s new live line – Wesley Wynne (guitar), Jordan Lipp (drums), Justin Lieberthal (bass) and myself take that Rock energy to the next level, bringing our set into new instrumentally driven sonic areas that are not present on the record. I’ve always wanted to make sure that the live experience builds upon the recorded version, with Mars Motel, you get a very unique experience live. You will have to come see us to get the full picture!
What can we expect from Mars Motel next?
We will have new singles coming out throughout the remainder of 2017, with consistent live shows to support. We are also in the works to create a live EP, which will be filmed in its entirety and released on all audio & video platforms.
Mars Motel – ‘The Enemy’
For obvious reasons 😉
Spoon – ‘Can I Sit Next to You’
What a cool single from their new record Hot Thoughts. Spoon is just one of those bands that can do no wrong in my book. Always inventive and pushing the envelope sonically, yet still holding on to their signature sound.
Ryan Adams – ‘Do You Still Love Me?’
Another hit from Ryan Adams. To me, this single and overall record lean heavy on the Tom Petty vibes, and I dig it!
LCD Soundsystem – ‘call the police’
I have been a big LCD fan for years. Very happy they are back together and putting out new music. This song has that classic drive and push that I love, with Murphy channelling Bowie / Talking Heads style vocals
The War On Drugs – ‘Thinking Of A Place’
I was knocked dead by this single when it came out earlier this year. The production value, the vocals, the guitar are absolutely blissful. I am very excited for this record to come out!