The Motet Talk About Expanding Their Sound on "Death Or Devotion": "It’s Our Job to Explore the Reaches of the Human Condition"
Denver-based funk and soul ensemble, The Motet are proving that there’s always room to grow with their upcoming ninth studio album, Death Or Devotion, out January 25th. While most funk music revolves around partying or having a good time, The Motet were keen to push the boundaries of what a funk album could be, using catchy songwriting and groovy melodies to explore different moods, subjects and themes on Death or Devotion. The result is one of the band’s most dynamic releases to date, and one that has been a long time in the making. With near constant live shows and tour dates, the album was created a couple of songs at a time when the band had down time, allowing them to hone in on exactly what they wanted from each track.
Never slowing down, Death Or Devotion promises to just mark the beginning of 2019 for The Motet, who have a few tricks up their sleeve for the rest of the year. Read what vocalist Lyle Divinsky had to say about the upcoming album below and stay tuned for more exciting news from the band soon!
Interview by Dom Vigil
You guys are kicking off 2019 with the release of your new album, Death Or Devotion this month! What are you excited for fans to hear on the album?
ALL OF IT!!! Haha! This record has been fun because we’ve released some singles along the way to give everyone a chance to experience the wave of inspiration we’ve been riding. Each single has shown a different side of how our influences are manifesting themselves into the current sound we’re digging into. This record has an incredible continuity, while really exploring the depths of our musical and mental explorations. We couldn’t be more excited about it in its entirety, and we cannot wait to share it ALL!
What are you most excited for in 2019?
Continual inspiration, motivation, creation, exploration, connection, and experience to fuel the cycle of learning.
Can you tell us a little bit about Death Or Devotion? What goals did you have in mind for the album when you first started working on it?
The biggest goal we had was to make the truest music we could in reflection of where we all are as people and musicians. The greatest thing about this band is it’s relentless willingness to explore that which inspires us. It’s been such an honor coming into a band with such an incredible mentality with the open, encouraging, and passion-filled community that surrounds it. I think we’ve achieved something really special with this record. It’s a funk record, a groove-rooted, dance-inducing album that pushes the norm of what a funk song is and can speak to. So much of the time funk songs surround party/having a good time, but the reality is that life holds so much more than that, and it’s so important to discuss the furthest reaches of the mind, the heart, and the soul no matter what style of music is behind it.
You’ve talked before about how you wanted to expand on what a funk album could be with Death Or Devotion. What did that mean for you guys when you first began writing this collection of songs? How do you feel this stands out from the pack?
Like I said, we didn’t necessarily set out with the intention of writing this or writing that. We just wanted it to be true and genuine. Everyone goes through happiness, sadness, love, heartbreak, social and societal awareness/critique, and as songwriters, I believe it’s our job to explore the reaches of the human condition. Throughout the course of this album, there were mental, emotional, and spiritual peaks and valleys for a few of us, personally as well as in reflection of the world around us. We wrote about what we felt, what we hope for, what we needed to for the music, for ourselves, and for our listeners.
Were there any challenges you came across when working on the album?
I think the creative processes always presents you with challenges... it’s one of the most fun parts about it! There is the initial inspiration, the initial lyric ideas, a constant flow of ideas, or the moments when you feel like the song is a Mack truck that has you backed against a brick wall revving it’s engines. This album was done a song or two at a time because we tour almost every weekend. Because of that, we have a really cool relationship with each song, and as we all know, relationships present many challenges - it’s a matter of how you choose to work those challenges that allows the real beauty of those relationships to shine and grow. I think our willingness to all put that love and work into those challenges made these songs so special to all of us.
What was the most rewarding part of the writing and recording process?
Exactly what I was speaking to in the previous questions. The most rewarding parts to me are the genuine exploration of our inspiration, the relentless devotion to allowing that inspiration to grow, and the willingness to work tirelessly, together, in order to achieve the truest versions of each one of the songs. All our voices shine through in this album.
Last year, you released “Whatcha Gonna Bring” from the album, which ended up being used in HeadCount’s campaign for the midterm elections. What does this song mean to you?
It’s a call to action. It doesn’t have to be political, it’s just a matter of being involved with the world. In such a global and technological world, it’s easy to feel removed or helpless, but simple actions can create so much beauty and bring communities together. With small efforts, you can bring joy not only to others, but to yourself. The division in this country, and really the world, create walls in wide open spaces, and if we just see through those walls, and realize we’re all here trying to find our way, we can support each other and grow as a culture instead of creating more boundaries based from our own fears and insecurities.
What would you like fans to take away from the new songs on Death Or Devotion?
Sore legs from dancing too hard, a more flexible neck from nonstop head-bobbing, a connection and empathy to others’ experiences and journeys, and a freedom and safety to explore their own personal experiences in this life.
Do you have any other big plans in the works for 2019?