Home has been a theme this week, not only because I was forced to visit my trailer riddled hometown of Cabazon, CA for the holidays, but because of some music I reviewed and the bands I interviewed. The Motel Life and I both grew up in the 909 area code (well I turned into the 951). It’s synonymous for “Bros” and their hoes. You know, those dudes dressed in FOX Racing head to toe with raised trucks ready to head to Glamis. The music scene, as The Motel Life’s vocalist Michael “Mike” Escanuelas and drummer boy Nick Camacho will later tell you isn’t that grand, so I was surprised to even find a band from an area so close to home.
I asked these guys the obvious question they hear more often than not, and yes, they do stay in motels but Mike says that most of their tour nights are spent staring at the road on overnight drives. Other than where they sleep and their local music scene, Mike and Nick shared their love of live music on TV, their not so love of House, and more like dressing up like ladies and Freaky Friday revelations. So continue to read on for all that and a little something extra.
Kendra: I’m from the 909 area, and I am not used to hearing about bands from around there. Is there a whole music scene there that I’ve been unaware of, or are you guys it?
Mike Escanuelas: We have a love hate relationship with the 909. On one hand, Ontario is where a majority of us were born and raised. We can never change or deny that, but on the other hand, growing up and pretty much until this day, the music scene is pretty much nonexistent. Bands that we buddied up with when we first started as a band are long gone and venues are little to none. Of course we have our home town heroes at the Wire, but even then, that’s in Upland, not Ontario. Throughout the years we’ve been together I’ve seen some really awesome music come through here, but damn, it is hard to get people excited about it.
Nick Camacho: Mike pretty much covered it. Sadly there’s not much of a scene in the 909. Since we have started we have seen some progress surrounding our city so it’s not completely foreign to us, but it would be nice to known for music rather than a major airport or mall.
Kendra: With songs like “House” and “Doctor’s Note,” are you fans of the show House, or am I reading too into that?
Mike: It’s funny that you mention that because I’ve never even seen an episode of House. I write the lyrics for the band, but Judcody initially wrote the lyrics for “House.” Both songs have nothing to do with that show. I’m pretty sure Judcody has never seen it either.
Nick: It’s funny you mention that because even though I knew Mike had no direct correlation between those two songs, I figured some people might make that assumption. Don’t put it past us though, we have a song or two that deal with the TV show Lost.
Kendra: But since we’ve come to TV talk…If you guys were to perform some songs off Those Bruises on any TV show, which would it be and why? And it doesn’t have to necessarily be a show you like, just one you think the music would be a good fit for.
Mike: TV is a weird thing for music. I think what TV show that has live performances I personally like is Jimmy Kimmel or Jimmy Fallon. They always have really awesome artists playing; a lot of lesser well known acts. It would be awesome to perform in the same league as them.
Nick: Jimmy Fallon would be my first choice. They always have great big and unknown acts on that show and whoever is in charge of mixing does a great job. I would also like to do the original Degrassi to have a scene with Drake. Perhaps the Ellen show as well. I think she has live music from time to time.
Kendra: Couldn’t help but notice that your albums come about every two years, are you going to keep up that schedule, or can fans expect some new music a little sooner than 2014?
Mike: As we get older and continue our career as a band it does get tougher to get everyone together to jam and practice. The gaps in between our records are pretty long, but we try and fill the void with shows and what not. Honestly, we have no information on our next record at this particular moment in time, but I know at the start of the New Year we will be jamming, making new tunes.
Nick: Well for right now we are having our latest EP re-released on vinyl in February of next year but we are in the early stages of writing for the next album. I feel like we are on a good stride and if all goes well I can see us entering the studio again by the end of 2013.
Kendra: Do you have any plans to tour come 2013?
Mike: We are currently in planning process of getting something going for a 2013 tour. For now we are just playing locally. I don’t feel like we play in our area enough. But sadly we are kind of limited in the places we can play. It’s tough to play the same venue over and over again.
Kendra: Fans across the country would be stoked about that. Sticking to fans for a second, do you find it weird when people ask for a picture with you?
Mike: I think in the context of playing a show, it’s no big deal. We like taking photos with our friends and when it comes to taking photos with people at our shows, they share the same passion as us in terms of music so we consider them our friends.
Nick: It’s always funny to me that people would ask for a photo or autograph from us. It makes me feel bigger than we are but at the end of the day I realize that these people are latching on to the music that we make. It’s a way for them to say something without saying anything. Whether it helps them get over a loss, or through a tough time is a great satisfaction. Over time I realized that taking a picture or signing an autograph with them is us saying thank you for letting us continue what we love doing.
Kendra: Okay, some of your costumes back in October at Jerry’s were obvious, but what were most of you that night?
Mike: Oh those costumes. That was an interesting show to play in those costumes. Let’s see, Al Hernandez, our guitarist was Ryu from Street Fighter. Nick Camacho, our Drummer, was a boy scout, along with our bassist Ray Markel who was also a boy scout. Our guitarist, Judcody Limon was dressed as a woman, and I was a Tobias Funke from Arrested Development in his never nude outfit.
Kendra: If you could switch places with a member of the band, who would it be and why? I mean you’d only get to Freaky Friday for maybe a day or two, not forever, but still…think about it…
Mike: Hmmmmm that’s a tough one. I think everyone has their perks. I guess I would be Judcody, just out of the sheer curiosity of what he does all day. I have no idea what that guy does all day.
Nick: Judcody should be the unanimous decision. That guy is probably one of the most interesting people I know. Whether it’s good or bad, that guy has been and continues to go through it all. I don’t think anyone will full know what goes on in that guy’s head.
Kendra: Since motels are often frequented on prom nights, I want the top five songs you’d put on a mixtape for that “special” night after prom, go!
Mike: Oh I got this one in the bag. I’m really good at making playlists.
The Weeknd “The Morning”
The 1975 “You”
The Lumineers “Slow It Down”
Bon Iver “I Can’t Make You Love Me/Nick of Time”
Los Campensinos! “By Your Hand”
Stars “Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It”
Frank Ocean “Thinking About You”
Tegan and Sara “Closer”
Passion Pit “Constant Conversation”