Motopony and Shelby Earl presented by Band in Seattle
Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 7pm
- All Ages, Live Music, Free Beer, Shelby Earl, Motopony, Studio Audience
What's more Seattle than supporting your local businesses? Supporting your local musicians, that's what. So be a responsible Northwestern-er and get yourself down to Victory Studios for the taping of our next episode of Band in Seattle with Duke Evers and Snuff Redux on February 10th. Front doors open at 6PM at Victory Studios, 2247 15th Avenue West (near the Interbay Golf Center).
While reading a book called "The Spell of the Sensuous" by David Abrams, Daniel Blue came across a shamanic tradition that suggested that animals, plants, tools, and even stones have a kind of perception and they echo what they are offered. It was suggested that a life lived in poor relationship with the world around oneself was perhaps the cause of all the sickness, war and suffering in the world.
Seeing the earth burning and taking this to heart, Blue decided to experiment with the theory and attempt to "have a relationship" with his (rather small) motorcycle. He called it "pony", spoke to it as if it were alive and tried his best to respect it as a living thing or at least as a part of life as a whole. Of that time he said, "It changed me forever riding my bike that way. It was undeniably more enjoyable to coax and caress the machine like a friend rather than take it for granted like a meaningless gathering of extruded metals, rubbers and gasses. For the first time, I began to see myself as part of the world and not just a user of it." The resulting joy and empowerment of that moment was infectious and thrilling to Blue, and he coined the term "Motopony" in celebration of the revelation. From then on he began to use the word Motopony to define any tool that he used respectfully with a relational intention of healing himself and the world.
A dark night not long after, mourning an anniversary of the early death of his late mother Kathleen Antoinette, Daniel reached for a broken guitar he had purchased some years earlier and leaned into it with all of his soul. "I had a great need for that guitar to release me from the despair and doom that I was feeling. Somehow I believed that this guitar also needed me to strip it of its extra strings and tune it in triad to the timbre of my untrained voice. We had a conversation, and in my grief, we fell deeply into love." That night he sang a poem he had not yet written, "Hero's Lullaby" and came to call the guitar "Old Blue".
From that moment on Daniel threw everything he had and everything he was into song and music. He closed his event space and warehouse, sold his burgeoning fashion design business, disavowed himself of nearly all possessions and began to couch surf so that all of his time could be devoted to learning the craft of music. Within a year Daniel had partnered with a local hip hop producer named Buddy Ross and an eponymous "glitch-folk" album was already finding itself on noncom airways all over the world. Motopony was born.
The band immediately found home on the road with multiple US tours and dates all across the UK. An EP with a full-length followed owning its roots to the iconic Abbey Road studios. Jetting to Indian festivals and entertaining their international fan base, the band grew with their popularity.
Wrapping up their third full-length release Daniel believes that he is perhaps just now hitting his stride as a musician, a businessman-by-proxy, and a leader of a band. "The system that surrounds music and the industry that we have created to sustain musicians and the people who work to support them; it is also a tool that can be used with intention. It's complicated, but I still believe that it's possible to be in a respectful, intentional healing relationship with the music industry. It is, after all, a thing we ourselves have created, and therefore a part of the whole that is life. It can be loved." Perhaps this is what he means when he sings "I still believe in the magic babe" in the upcoming song "a little death"
"I will probably never stop looking for the magic that I found reaching into that broken guitar for help and for a friend. The effort, intention and desire were not wasted. Something...some third party came along and allowed it. To me this third party is Love and that is my God. This God and the recipient of my worship is that what allows relationships to produce this kind of fruitful beauty." What may seem foolish to some, that leap into “hope in love”, this is what Daniel sings of in the single off the upcoming record "when we were young" when he says, "we were dumb enough to try."
Daniel took this idea of “playing dumb” and being willing to throw yourself in harms way for the sake of a dream to Timothy Graham. Together the two created the song, “When We Were Young,” which they felt was important both to them as career musicians and in regards to what they wanted to say to the world. “I remember texting my management team and saying something like "mark my words, game changer". Timothy gave me that awesome feeling that my strengths were matched well as a writer. It's a hard to thing to come by to be understood and joined by another musician, the result being greater than either of you could do alone.”
On their third full-length "50 Katrinas" the new band echoes this seeker’s journey with long wistful interludes woven between sharp and neat trippyfolk inspired rock gems. Like living quartz crystals growing out of flowing canyon walls, catchy inspired and distinctively Pacific Northwest psyche-pop singles hide amidst the foliage of a free-spirited kaleidoscope of unhinged compositions. Biting lyrics mock the information age while admitting their home in it, and love and relationships are a carefully crafted theme.
When asked about the environmentalist overtones and rather ominous title Blue says, "In a way this is my warning to the people of earth (or at least the people of USA) but many of these songs feel like I'm listening to them 150 years from now...like when people look back to this time and say, "what the fuck were they thinking letting everything go so long?" I want them to hear in this record that some of us weren't blindly following or distracted by what some idiot tweeted that morning. We called out. We resisted. We tried to turn things by loving the machine and not just using it. We raised our voices in dissent. I also see the sentiment behind “50 Katrinas” as adorably hopeful in two ways: my fantasy that people on the earth will be around in 150 years, and that our music will still be, you know....out there."
With music described as “gritty and soulful, raucous and beautiful,” Seattle singer-songwriter Shelby Earl was named by NPR/LA Times music critic Ann Powers as her "new favorite songwriter" (see below for full letter), and her solo debut album, Burn the Boats (produced by John Roderick of the Long Winters, out on Local 638 Records) was named the "#1 Outstanding 2011 Album You Might Have Missed" by Amazon.com. She has since garnered praise from the likes of Rolling Stone, Paste Magazine, NPR, KEXP, No Depression, American Songwriter and many more. Earl’s sophomore album Swift Arrows (produced by Damien Jurado), was released in late-2013 to further critical acclaim, and in the words of Benjamin Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie/Postal Service) it “proves [Shelby] has the most heartbreakingly beautiful voice in Seattle.” Earl's 3rd full-length studio album will be out March 10, 2017.