[Interview] The Motet gets set for another New Year's in Atlanta
The Motet is and has been a big part of the nationwide revival of funk music for quite some time now. With infectiously groovy tracks like “The Truth," they draw fans from all walks of life to live performances guaranteed to help you burn a few calories. We were lucky enough to catch the band’s new lead vocalist, Lyle Divinsky, on the phone for a few minutes in advance of their upcoming New Year’s show at Variety Playhouse.
The band is back for another New Year's show in Atlanta. What can you say about playing here?
I wasn’t a part of the band for the last New Year’s show, but we did play here for an outdoor festival this year (Big Bang Block Party) and it was so much fun. This band has some incredible fans that really get down. Not only do I love the Motet fans, but I know that Atlanta really comes out and rages hard, and really gives themselves fully to the performance. It’s amazing when you feel like you’re going through a performance together as opposed to performing for someone.
What is one record funk fans must have?
The hardest thing is that there’s so many. I feel like if you’re going to call yourself a funk fan then you gotta have your Earth, Wind, and Fire record, you gotta have your James Brown record, your Parliament-Funkadelic record, your Sly record, ya know? If you’re going to really dig into the funk, then you gotta know the variety of all the flavors.
What city best carries the torch for funk music?
Hmm... You know, I would probably say New Orleans hands down five years ago, but right now there’s just such a funk revival going on, and it’s amazing to me that you can find it in so many different places. I lived in Brooklyn for six years, the afro beat resurgence came up there and there’s been this whole funk movement that’s been really cool to see. You have bands like Turkuaz and Lettuce up there. There’s a lot of funk coming out of the West coast. I just moved to Colorado, and it amazes me how much good funk music is coming out of there too. And in the South man, there’s something in the water down there. From Texas to Atlanta, and even on up the East coast a little bit. It makes it exciting to be a part of a funk band right now, being so deep into the energy and expression of it personally, and seeing bigger and bigger audiences come out that are fully on board and fully down to get down.
Totem was self produced by the band. What are some advantages of working without a label?
I’ve only been in the band for a year, and we’ve been without a label since I’ve joined. I’ve personally never been involved with a label, and the advantages I’ve gotten from that are things like creative freedom, we have the ability to fully create the music we want to create. On the other side of it, we have limitations within our means. Recording costs money, and when you’re doing it on your own, you’re self-funding everything. You think of labels as bank loans that have interests in mind. They’ll be able to support you, get you in the studio you want, and rent you the instrument you need. But with money invested the ownership goes away a little bit so you might have to make some concessions that you wouldn’t have to on your own.
How do you go about titling instrumental tracks?
To be honest, those are ones within the band that I haven’t gotten any first hand experience with. That said, these guys are very creative, and very intentional individuals. Every note they play and every move they make is very intentional and with a purpose. That’s one thing I respect so much about them. I know everything about them has meaning, and same goes with those songs. Although, it may not sometimes be what it seems on the surface.
Who is one influence you’d love to have with you in the studio while recording?
That’s a tough one, there’s so many, but I think I’d have to say D’angelo. He’s a very accomplished artist, tremendous vocalist, and can play just about any instrument in the studio.
Can we expect another album from the current band?
Most definitely. We’re all having a great time playing together. We’ve got some new music cooking up, and we’re getting ready to hit the studio soon. I’m really excited about working with these guys, and looking forward to making some great funky music.
The Motet is set to perform at The Variety Playhouse in Atlanta on December 31. Event info, ticket contest, and also ticket purchases are located HERE.