MOTHXR chats Centerfold!

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This month, New England Sounds truly took off. I was at shows at least four nights a week, completed countless interviews but one that truly stood out were the Brooklyn boys in MOTHXR. The band is easily one of the most buzzing bands these last few months especially with the debut full length “Centerfold” dropping this past February! Close to set time, I grabbed a few minutes to chat mostly with lead singer, Penn Bagdley , and a cameo by Simon Oscroft at the end to chat the new record and what is to come from MOTHXR. Will it be a feature length film, will it be a headlining tour? You have to read it to figure that all out!

The record just came out, soft one to start, maybe the three things you must have with you while on tour? 
Penn: Must haves while I’m on tour? Nothing material man. A good tea.
Good attitude?
Penn: A good attitude and a good book. I don’t think the other guys would answer the same but that’s mine.

Maybe how has it been going? T his project has been pretty steadily touring since the inception of the band but this record only came out in February. How do you think this album is kind of going over?
Penn: It’s hard to say exactly but it seems to me that it’s getting a pretty warm response. It’s not like outlandish, not overwhelming but to me, it seems to have like a very slow and steady response and that’s good because it means it has legs. It means that in time hopefully we’ll still be there.

And are they songs that you had written recently for this project? Are some of the songs older songs, kind of how did you go about the collection of the songs for this record? 
Penn: I mean they all feel like they’re of the same time. Even as they came out over a period but so much of the sound that is this band came out kind of very suddenly. I think only as time passes, we realize how special that was. Just like the first five days literally we had nearly five songs finished and “Easy” was one of those. “Impossible” was another. Trying to remember the other ones I’m not sure but I think that to me, the last one that we finished was “She Can’t Tell”. That was finished pretty recently.

From what I’ve been reading about it, it’s pretty collaborative. You guys have been collaborating together for a while. When it comes to the songs themselves, do you bring your own ideas? Is everything done as a band?
Penn: It’s both. I mean it’s hard to say. It’s hard to separate those two. I know what you mean. You can’t really draw the line. I think when you’re truly making something together, if one person has an idea it doesn’t necessarily mean it came from them. If I have an interesting lyric or melody in my head, it could be because and in fact it is always because of everything else that’s happening around it. And the same goes for all the other guys with their parts. I think it is very collaborative. Truly collaborative in that sense.

And even though the band is so new, you’ve been touring steadily and playing music since 2014 as MOTHXR. Is it something where you think you’ll put out some new music pretty quickly? You guys have kind of always been putting out music. 
Penn: Yeah I mean I think we all want to have a record out by early next year, another one. I think in this day and age you kind of have to. Albums are also becoming less and less relevant so I don’t know. It’s hard to say. We’ll definitely be putting out new stuff soon.

And I know it from looking at your socials and stuff like that, you’ve been doing kind of the weekly video or video for each track. Maybe is there one that stands out to you or maybe something that’s coming up? 
Penn: I love the video for “Victim”. Actually that’s a good one. It’s coming so I can’t reveal like anything about it but it’s really legit. You know we shot them in a progression so even the concept was kind of revealing itself to us. Not that it was that high minded I mean it was fairly simple but by the time we shot “Victim”, I was starting to have a lot of fun with it and you see that. There’s more dancing actually.
More dancing?
Penn: Yeah, you’ll see. Then “She Can’t Tell” is the last one we shot and it’s just straight dancing. It’s funny because you shoot it in double time. You speed everything up so a song that’s three minutes is a minute and a half and it’s so fast. So trying to dance to it was actually quite fun. It was unrehearsed. They’re nice little snap shots I guess.

And then while MOTHXR is still relatively new, you’ve done music in the past. You’ve kind of always been doing music as well as the other guys. Maybe how long has this band kind of been an idea? Have you known each other for a while before you started it? 
Penn: I’d say for about four years. It was percolating for about two years before it came so it was like two years off, two years on. It’s the simplest answer.

Perfect and maybe a soft one for you. The first CD or first cassette you can ever remember getting as a kid and then the first concert? 
Penn: Yeah the first cassette, I got it as a cassette then as a CD, it was The Fugees’ “The Score” and it really left an imprint on me. I think I was about nine or so and the first concert I ever went to that I truly wanted to go to was Puff Daddy. It was so embarrassing. I went with both of my parents because they got me two tickets but then none of my friends wanted to go. I think I was about ten, maybe eleven so I was young enough where there weren’t a lot of kids that wanted to go to a Puff Daddy show. So bizarrely, they both decided to go with me.
Must have been an experience. 
Penn: So awkward. Busta Ryhmes and Usher opened for him and they were both just going wild. I think my parents were just like what have we done.
Was it something where you liked asked them to go or they just kind of bought it?
Penn: No I really wanted to go. I remember me wanting the tickets so they got me the tickets. They got me three tickets thinking I could take two friends with me or something like that. Then I think the two friends that I had lined up, they pulled out and so their last minute thing was like well we’ll go with you because they didn’t want me to go alone. I think I was a little heartbroken that like I couldn’t go with friends. It was just very awkward. The whole time just standing there. I guess it’s sweet in retrospect but it was super weird at the time.

Then maybe to end it off, you’ve been on this tour for about seven shows or so, so far but you’ve just had a European tour and you’ve been playing Boston a ton. Maybe what’s coming up for or MOTHXR for the rest of the year, what’s the plan? 
Penn: Here they come (Simon enters interview with Devin)More touring. More videos and more music. What else do you need, what else do you want? That’s all the band can do.
Simon: Touring a record which is cool because we haven’t even had a record out yet. So now we’re actually touring a record.
Simon: We’ll be out for about five months of the rest of the year touring.
So it’s been support touring so far. 
Penn: We have a headline set up, there is one coming just can’t say when.
Simon: For sure, yeah.
Penn: And then we’ll be releasing a movie and a tv show. You know, just a book.
Simon: Like every format.
No big deal. That’s it huge, you say movie like a full length, a short. 
Penn: No.
Oh you’re just joking. I was like maybe they are. I mean you see all these videos that you’re doing. You’re doing a video for each track, it could be something you do.
Penn: The reason that I make the joke is because lots of bands, at this point in time, if you do it well you can kind of do anything. I think we’ll just make lots of different kinds of stuff but mainly just videos, music and touring. Just this year we’ll be hitting that.
Perfect, so just kind of going full force. 
Penn: As much as we can.
Simon: It will be hard not to just because we’ve put two years into this record.
Well they say the first record takes the longest to make and then it just kind of comes naturally. 
Penn: Maybe (laughs).

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Colleen has been writing about music since 2009. Interviewing bands since the glory days of Warped and has continued to do so for now over fourteen years. As well as doing freelance for other publications, the love for everything rock continues today.

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