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An Interview with Founder Dave Watts of The Motet

It has been 20 years since The Motet formed in Boulder, CO and the band still provides the funk, the grooves, and their amazing performances. Since forming, the group has gone on to play plethora of shows and music festivals including Bonaroo, Electric Forest, and the High Sierra Music Festival. The band is also known to throw a kick ass annual Halloween party, with the band covering songs of a particular group for the night. In previous years, they have covered Earth, Wind and Fire, Talking Heads, The Beatles, and Madonna just to name a few. They currently have seven albums under their belt, with their first album being released in 1999 called Breathe and their most recent being 2016's Totem, available on CD and all streaming platforms now. Stage Left had the grateful opportunity to interview the founder, the drummer, the man, the myth, and the legend himself Mr. Dave Watts. The interview discusses the band's writing process, the idea behind the annual Halloween party, and where did the name The Motet come from. Thank you guys for giving me this opportunity! How’s life treating you all so far? Life is going great so far! Making music in beautiful Colorado for the best fans a band could ask for….not much to complain about really. Congrats on SEVEN studio albums. Do you guys still get nervous before putting out a record? Thanks! Not really, we love the writing and recording process and are always very excited to have our fans listen to what we’ve come up with in the lab. More importantly we are even more excited about bringing the new material to the stage. What is the history behind naming the band The Motet? It used to be called The Dave Watts Motet. It was just a variation on quartet, quintet, etc… But I eventually decided to just call it The Motet. Who or what was the inspiration for choosing to make groovy music? We play drummer’s music. Music inspired by rhythm first. If we have our audience dancing to a point of frenzy then I know I am doing my job right. What is the writing process like for The Motet? Do you guys get together and write for a certain amount of time or do you guys jot down ideas as you go? One person comes up with an idea and brings it to the band. The rhythm section works on it first, recording the idea, and then if it sticks we present it to the horns and Lyle to see if they can continue the creative process. Once they come up with some melodies we practice it as a band to see if it’s something that we want to bring to the studio. With your last album, Totem, I read that you guys worked with Eric Krasno of Soullive! What was that experience like!? Eric is an incredible musician. His ears for our style of music are exactly what we needed going into that session. He really brought out a certain vibe that we had never attained before. And he’s a really great guy, the hang itself was worth having him on board. I also read that you guys recorded some of the album in. New Orleans!How was recording in the city? Yup…it was dangerous! New Orleans is a very distracting place to try and focus on making a record. We had to force ourselves to not go out every night so we’d have some energy to record the next day. Is there a certain way the group records music? A dim-lit room full of candles? A certain picture that needs to be in the room at all costs? Haha Not really, we just need to have the trust that the studio is going to have the gear and engineer that will get us the sound we need. You really can’t make up for musicianship and preparedness with anything else, it just comes down to how badly you want to make the music sound amazing. You guys are constantly touring. What are your guys’ favorite parts of touring? The audiences for sure. We love getting in front of an excited crowd who hasn’t seen us for a year…or maybe has never seen us at all. The energy at those shows is life changing. I read that you guys host an annual Halloween Party, portraying some iconic bands including Earth Wind and Fire, Parliament/Funkadelic, and Prince. How did the idea come about curating the Halloween Party and how do you guys choose which artist/ era to portray? We used to do that, but now we are focusing on our new original music. We all love classic funk and soul music, especially from the 1970’s, so playing an entire night of a band like Earth, Wind, and Fire is an extremely powerful way of absorbing that material and being able to bring elements of it to our own sound. A question that I like to ask in every interview, what were your guys’ first concert? Who did you see and what were your experiences like? My first concert was Toto, which is especially memorable for me because their late drummer Jeff Porcaro has been one of my greatest influences. I know you guys are touring until next year, but any updates on new music? We are releasing our new album at the end of January! Thank you guys again for the opportunity! Keep making groovy tunes! I hope to catch one your shows soon! THANKS!!

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