Saint Motel | Movin’ on Up

“Move” hit the airways, funk-filled and falsetto-laced.

February 3, 2015: The day is forever etched in memory (well, OK: immortalized on the web) as my first date with Saint Motel. The place was Denver, the venue Larimer Lounge, and the release was 2014’s My Type EP, home to the rapidly rising single of the same name. When the band next returned to the Mile High City, it was at a much larger venue with a much larger marquee.

Following that four-song Elektra Records debut and countless cross-country stops at increasingly larger stages, Saint Motel dropped the full-length saintmotelevision in 2016. Lead single “Move” hit the airways, and grabbed my ears the first time I heard it. I didn’t immediately recognize it, funk-filled and falsetto-laced, as Saint Motel, though when I found out, I wasn’t surprised. Even now, many plays later, it still sticks in my head and makes me want to, well, move.

A/J Jackson took some time out of the busy tour to answer my questions.

I know you all met in art school, so it’s completely logical that Saint Motel has become not only an aural sensation but a visual one. I’m looking forward to seeing the show for myself when you hit Denver with Panic! At the Disco later this month, but in the meantime can you tell me a little bit about it? Why did you decide the music merited an artistic accompaniment? Who created the animation? How does the virtual reality aspect work?

For our live show, you can see timed-out visuals playing on my TV keyboard stand and on the side monitors during the show. The virtual reality components at the moment are the Virtualizers which are a VR/360 experience for each song. It’s a mixture of a lyric video, visualizer, live-action performance, and song specific graphics. You can watch them on your phone, computer, or with a VR headset.

“Move” is a very fun, funky song. I love it, but I don’t think the previous release hinted at this sound, which is a bit new for the band. Where did the falsetto/funk come from?

Not sure where any of it comes from! That’s part of the beautiful mystery of it all. I will say this one was a fun one to make, though.

Along those lines, I think the new album’s a bit of a departure, too. Had it not had your name on it, I might not have recognized A/J’s vocals. What was different about the writing of this release as compared to the My Type EP?

saintmotelevision was written primarily while we were on tour around the world in support of the My Type EP. “Move” was written in Germany, “Local Long Distance Relationship” was written on an airplane, “Getaway on a beach.” Each song is kind of a different channel within the same TV set.

I love all the influences and inspirations for the songs on saintmotelevision, including Lou Reed, Donna Summer, the Kinks, and even Beethoven. Such a list suggests your listening palette is quite broad. What song by another artist do you wish you had written and performed? What is it about that song you’re so enamored with?

Oh man that list would be so long! “Shout” by the Isley Brothers, “Downtown” by Tony Hatch/Petula Clark, “Satellite of Love” by Lou Reed, “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” by Talking Heads, and on and on and on…

What do you remember about past visits to Denver, either the shows you’ve played or the city itself?

I remember Kegs and Eggs last year was pretty insane, so early! Very impressed by Denver’s will power to drink on St. Patty’s day. | Laura Hamlett

Saint Motel’s tour opening for Panic! At the Disco continues into April, with a stop in Denver March 17 and one in St. Louis April 5.

03.17 | Pepsi Center, Denver
03.18 | UCCU Center, Orem UT
03.19 | Taco Bell Arena, Boise
03.21 | WaMu Theater, Seattle
03.25 | Oracle Arena, Oakland
03.26 | Viejas Arena, San Diego
03.28 | The Forum, Inglewood CA
03.29 | Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix
03.31 | Allen Event Center, Allen TX
04.01 | Toyota Center, Houston
04.02 | Frank Erwin Center, Austin
04.04 | BOK Center, Tulsa
04.05 | Scottrade Center, St. Louis
04.07 | BJCC Arena, Birmingham
04.08 | FedEx Forum, Memphis
04.09 | KFC Yum! Center, Louisville
04.11 | Greensboro Coliseum Complex, Greensboro NC
04.12 | Infinite Energy Center, Duluth GA
04.14 | Amway Center, Orlando

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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