banner ad
banner ad
banner ad

A Dirty Dozen with MOTHS – June 2022

According to a recent press release: “Puerto Rican prog/stoner rockers MOTHS have released the first single from their upcoming debut album. The new track, “Unbound,” is out now – with a lyric video premiering now via Ghost Cult Magazine. Every band wants to strike a pristine balance between evoking their influences, embracing their originality, and earning their place within the genre(s) they inhabit. That’s often easier said than done, especially when it comes to styles that have developed so quickly and broadly over the past few decades. As stoner/progressive metal quintet MOTHS proves, however, it can certainly be done. Fusing charming familiarity with captivating freshness, their prior two releases—2018’s self-titled EP and 2020’s split with Philadelphia rockers The Stone Eye—demonstrated an exceptional ability and willingness to saturate shades of their musical forebearers with plenty of wide-ranging and idiosyncratic personality.” We get Weslie Negrón (Bass), Jonathan Miranda (Lead Guitar), and Omar González (Rhythm Guitar) to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Jonathan: Space Force is pretty much a big melding of style from each of the members of the band. A lot of unique sounds just meshing extraordinarily well. I think for those people who have never heard of the band they’ll be surprised to find a lot of Latin Influence in the music, lots of Composite Rhythms and Latin Beats will be present in a genre that is definitely more well recognized as hailing from the States.

Omar: I feel that with this release we really captured all the ideas we wanted to implement in our music. I’m happy with what we did on our first EP, but we were still testing the water as into what direction we wanted to go. This album feels like a more focused and cohesive project. As for hidden nuggets, there are different motifs and melodies that we utilize throughout the whole album, adding to the more structured nature of the songs. After a couple of listens you might notice them.

Weslie: With the first single “Unbound” you can hear a more of a straightforward Doom/Stoner sound with some Post and Progressive Rock/Metal influences. I believe this album captures the versatility of the band in ways that the past recordings may have not captured.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Jonathan: I’ve always been very receptive to music in general, thought it looked fun, but the moment I know I wanted to make music for a living was when I saw Rush live when I was 12 or 13, it was such an insane experience and I really wanted just emulate them for the longest time.

Omar: My father’s side of the family is really passionate about music and there was always music playing around the house. My dad plays percussion and I would always hear him play through many genres of music like Salsa, Jazz, R&B, and many others. It wasn’t until I got into middle school when I started to get more involved with music. I got my first guitar when I was 13, some of my earliest influences were Van Halen, AC/DC, Foo Fighters, Nirvana and Queens of The Stone Age.

Weslie: It really started with Linkin Park’s Meteora for me. I was young and no idea about the existence of this music. Being from the Caribbean in the late 90’s, early 2000’s you didn’t really had too much contact with music other than Salsa, Reggeaton, etc. So, finding out about this music that evoked so much anger, yet made with so much intricacy was something that caught my attention quickly. My musical taste continued to develop to different subgenres in Metal, but I knew that I wanted to play, asked one of my uncles for a bass and the rest is history.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Jonathan: Well as I said Rush kicked it off for me and my love for them has only grown through the years. Think my favorite I’m always between 2 albums as my favorite, Snake & Arrows and Hemispheres. From them I kinda just fell in love with so many others, but you can say they really are the base for it all.

Omar: There are many bands and artists that have influenced my playing as well as my music taste. Metallica, Death, Mastodon, Gorguts, Frank Zappa, David Bowie, John McLaughlin, Bad Brains and Björk are some of those artists.

Weslie: I think I can say that once I found out about Opeth, their story, and their work ethic I was hooked. I wanted to be everything that Mikael Akerfeldt has been able to be in his musical career and that still to this day has a major influence on how I approach music in general.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Jonathan: Well obviously one is Alex Lifeson, but I’d also love guys like Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Jeff Beck, Jean Luc Ponty, Miguel Zenon, Mike Stern, pretty much every insane solo musician or Prog Musician who shaped my sound for that same reason, cause it would be a dream come true.

Omar: A Brann Dailor vocal and drum collaboration would be awesome to see, it could be like a Melvins type of live setup with the two drum sets. Mastodon is a huge inspiration for a lot of us in the band and having one of the members featured in a song would be a dream.

Weslie: There are so many vocal collaborations I would love to do! People like Sara from Messa, Mlny Parsonz, Mike Scheidt, Mikael Akerfeldt, and even Steven Wilson on a producer capacity would be dream collaborations for me.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

Jonathan: Well I do a couple of stuff to unwind, recently been getting back into competitive Yu-Gi-Oh, but aside from that video games, books and ARG’s are my jam.

Omar: Watching movies, drawing, playing video games and going on road trips are some of the things I do when I’m not performing.

Weslie: I’m working most of the time even when we’re not busy on the studio, however, I’m a huge baseball fan and that’s pretty much what I spend my time off with. I also like to watch TV series and go to the movies.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Jonathan: We are Rush if they sometimes went dumb, slow and loud. Huh, good question, I feel I’m okay with any comparison so long as it makes sense, like you compared to… I don’t know, Phillip Glass, that would make no sense cause he makes very light and beautiful music, while I’m over here banging on my amp to see if it can go louder cause nobody is cupping their ears in pain.

Omar: I’d say it takes all the aggression and dark atmosphere of Doom with the dynamics and musicianship of Prog music. It’s good balance of experimentation, technicality and melodic passages.

Weslie: I like to say that is literally whatever you want to think about it. I don’t like to create any false expectations about our music. However, I usually use the references of Mastodon, Baroness, and The Mars Volta as some of the bands that could be somewhat related to the stuff that we do and let people look at it with that perspective a little bit. Regarding comparisons that made me cringe, I don’t think I got any. However, we’ve gotten comparisons from Gojira to Pearl Jam to, the most recent one, Mercyful Fate.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Jonathan: Damaris cooks, Danny brings the drinks, Omar and I are talking about wrestling and video games, Wes is taking a business call wishing he could be drinking with Danny. Nobody does singalongs, we only do singalongs to the Unholy Cover of Unholy Confessions (Bringing back the Classics).

Omar: Damaris is usually the one who brings food to the rehearsals. Snacks, home baked cookies, pizza, you name it.

Weslie: We really don’t think about performing music if we’re out of the studio. (laughs)

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Jonathan: Unrelated to music, I went to a couple of wrestling events in the US not so long ago and I was around a couple of wrestlers from MLW, Impact, Ex-WWE and AEW, it was awesome.

Omar: I wouldn’t say I was starstruck, but I got to see Thomas Pridgen in drum clinic were he talked about his time with The Mars Volta and other projects. I was in awe watching him perform.

Weslie: I’ve met Mikael Akerfeldt three times already and I never know what to tell him. I even rehearse before the meet and greet and I just forget everything. He’s definitely my biggest music idol and influence.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Jonathan: The part in which you wake in the morning with immense pain… No, I’m kidding, it’s definitely the creative outlet, being able to express myself artistically is such a great feeling and so therapeutic. As for what I would do if I wasn’t a musician, I would probably be an Ethnomusicologist, always loved learning about cultures and their social activities, so why not their musical activities, if that counts as cheating well… Game Dev probably?

Omar: All the people you meet while performing, whether it’s other musicians or people who listen to your music. Having the opportunity to travel around the world to play guitar is something I’ll never get over.

Weslie:  The best part of being a musician is being able to interact with other musicians and get to learn about their perspective of their craft and how they go about it. I love having conversations about some of their favorite artists and how they apply some of their tricks into their own playing. Every musician is its own world and it’s cool to explore that even if it’s for a bit. If for whatever reason I wouldn’t be a musician, I’d love to work at the Post Office. There’s just something about it that I find quite interesting.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Jonthan: Man, I like when interviewers ask questions related to my hobbies, so like favorite wrestler, favorite Comic Book, Favorite Deck, Favorite video game, that sort of thing. Now I don’t like open ended questions/request like “Tell me a bit about yourself.” Like what do you wanna know, my star signs or some shit? Be more specific, I’m not in a Job Interview… wait, am I?

Omar: I guess the typical “How do you guys write your songs?” or “What are the band’s influences?” questions can get repetitive. We’re always listening to new music and coming up with new ideas during songwriting, so giving a straight answer to those questions makes it less authentic.

Weslie: I’m pretty much open to any type of question, I think that when you have an interviewer asking you deep and researched questions about your music those tend to be the most exciting ones. However, I’m not really into getting to talk about politics and my views about it, sometimes these may be taken out of context and you can come out looking bad on the other end.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Jonathan: I don’t think it’s a misstep, I did the best I could at the time, but I sure do wish I do all my shows again with the confidence I have nowadays, I think it would have looked better, but I’m happy that I got here now and that I can use it to my advantage now.

Omar: As cliché as it may sound, I wouldn’t change a thing. Growing up I was a very shy person and I managed to let go of that fear by going to shows and playing live. I’m happy of all the good memories I have because of music.

Weslie: I think the biggest misstep I had was trying too hard to make things happen. I’ve learned in the past few years that the combination of hard work and kinda just letting things take their course on its own definitely work. I continue working on this every day.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Jonathan: Oh man, although I’m a huge Rush fanboy, I would totally love to be a fly on the wall for like a Frank Zappa album, any Frank Zappa album honestly, mainly cause he’s such an intriguing composer and he surrounded himself with some of the greatest performers of all time. If not, I would probably love to see Moving Pictures by Rush being done.

Omar: Many recording sessions come to mind, one of those would be Bowie’s time recording what is known as the Berlin Trilogy (LowHeroes, and Lodger). His 70’s discography is unmatched, but those albums stand out to me because of all the wild ideas he was throwing out there. Just watching him record with so many legends like Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, and Iggy Pop must have been something to behold.

Weslie: Dark Side of the Moon, hands down. Just being there and watch the whole creative process for one of the most iconic albums of all time and try to absorb and learn as much as possible it would’ve been such a privilege. This album is one of the most influential albums for me. I’m constantly looking over at our music and going about it like “is this Dark Side of the Moon worthy?” Of course, it isn’t but you guys get what I mean… (laughs)






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

Leave a Reply

Please verify you\'re a real person: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

banner ad
banner ad