The screen of the television set feels blurry at first as a static image washes over it. Then suddenly, an image of niche seventies flare and modern grandiosity transforms the set into a new world— saintmotelevision, the eclectic realm of Los Angeles based band Saint Motel (SM). Since their fruition, now nearly seven years ago, the band has been working hard to curate a unique, alternative space and sound for their creations, and what they have inspired feels too big to fit into any one category with its bright rhythms, kitschy lyrics, and Las-Vegas-production-like performance tactics. With their immersive, ranging musicality and continued rising success coming off hit singles like “My Type” and their latest album sophomore album saintmotelevision, it seems Saint Motel is set to bring a new era of sound and vision to the industry, one of old Hollywood and a sensational world made all their own.
Now that you are on the release of your sophomore album, how do you think you have grown as a band and as individuals since first coming together in 2007?
SM – Well, we are all a bit taller and probably hairier than our baby faced early days. One of the biggest developments for the band was when we started self-producing in the middle of our album Voyeur. It was 100% out of necessity and ended up forever changing the essence of our band.
A/J has said that he writes songs in a bit of an unconventional way. What value do you find in embracing the mystery that comes with songwriting?
SM — The magic and mystery of writing music is one of the main joys I take away from this whole experiment. When I write a song often times it feels like I am solving a puzzle. When it fits, you just know. It feels right. Why it feels right? There’s a million possibilities but no answer.
A/J has directed a number of the band’s music videos and Aaron also has a background in film. How does this connection to visuals influence you as artists and why is it important to you to incorporate them into your music?
SM — Visuals are just a great extension of the music. For saintmotelevision, we have been trying to coordinate everything visual from the virtualizers, album art, music videos, and live show to be a cohesive experience.
Your sound is very eclectic and reaches beyond the boundaries of any one genre. Why does this eclecticism speak to you?
SM — Like the concept of the album title, saintmotelevision, we’ve always found balance in blending various ideas and art forms. Eclectic is maybe a loose synonym for curious in this situation.
Your music also elicits a very euphoric feeling. Why encapsulate this joyousness in your music? Has this tone always spoken to you?
SM — We play it live so much that if we wrote depressing, sad music, we probably would have killed ourselves years ago.
You’re known for your lively, wild performances. What sort of experience does this evoke for you as a band?
SM — It’s what we look forward to every day on tour. Looking for that connection with the crowd where you feel invincible and totally high.
How did recording saintmotelevision in Joshua Tree influence the experience of creating the album and the final product?
SM — Not sure anything from Joshua Tree made it on the album. We were only there for a little bit. Most of it was written in downtown Los Angeles or on the road and produced around LA.
Since the album is called saintmotelevision, in what ways might it provide a lens into the world of the band? How would you, personally, categorize this world?
SM — The world is saintly and seedy, full of beautiful contradictions.
Based on the stories that you’ve shared about some of the songs on the album, it seems like much of it was written on the road. In what ways is the album an amalgamation of the band’s stories and experiences over the past year?
SM — In many ways I think you can hear that lyrically and musically on this album. Some of the songs were written a while ago (“Born Again” and “Sweet Talk”) but some were written all the way up to a month before mixing.