The Motive are a four-piece indie band from Kingston that began as something fun in school until a music teacher told them they had potential.
Since then, this group of nineteen-year-olds have been releasing single after single filled with summer vibes, fuzzy chords, lots of reverb, and retellings of their youth.
So far they’ve been part of BBC Introducing, sold out local gigs, and landed in summer festival lineups, as well as creating some controversy with their music opinion TikToks.
As their songwriter and lead singer steps out to pursue other passions, The Motive are looking to reinvent themselves and we had the opportunity to speak to Jamie and lead-guitarist James about this journey.
The conversation was filled with laughs, good quotes, and an enthusiasm that demonstrates that these young guns are hungry for more.
With the great amount and immediacy of music being created now-a-days, are you guys pressured to better yourselves with every new song?
James: We’re so much better than any other creator. I mean pressure’s a given, whenever they hear ‘The Motive is making new music’ they feel the pressure but we're just chilling, doing our own thing...
Jamie: You’re such a *insert imagination* James!
To answer the question, I do think there’s quite a lot of pressure. As a band, we’re constantly questioning the music we create. We always ask: does that sound too much like the last song we released?
I like to think that we can keep a certain continuity with our sound, but people like new and different stuff. We don’t want to always sound the same, that’s where the pressure comes from.
What have you been doing to sound different? Are you trying to move away from the warm indie rock?
Jamie: At the moment we’ve been having some internal issues with the band as one of our members is leaving. He’s been the one that’s written the majority of songs we’ve released, but he’s decided to go to university and pursue a different career.
It’s great, we’re still really good friends and in a sense, him leaving has become an opportunity to change the way we do things. Me and James have been experimenting with songwriting, and we’re developing a new sound.
So with this in mind, are you guys planning an EP, album, more singles?
James: Hopefully we’ll be able to release the first big project of 2021 during the summer. It is a collection of songs. There will be songs together, the number of them is still undetermined. Probably more than one and less than seven, but it can be fifteen. Who knows!
It’ll be a compilation of the last big ideas we’ve had with Max before he leaves. We’re really excited for it to be out, all the music on it screams summer. You’ll want to drive with it, windows down through a country road kind-of-thing.
What’s the point behind the music you create? How and why do you write?
Jamie: I think Max writes thinking about the future, at least that’s how it feels to me. We’ve created a nice combination of nostalgic-sounding music and lyrics that hope for a better future.
Take ‘Live It Again’ for example: it’s a classic indie, up-beat, pop song about how we wish we could do all the things we did before COVID-19 again.
We wrote that making strong references about how good it was and how much we took it for granted. It’s nice to write from self experience, in a few years we’ll be able to look back at this song and remember what we went through. It’s a milestone.
When you started this band in school, was it just for fun or was there always the ambition to become rock stars?
Jamie: We met in year nine, and we just fucked around in a friends garage playing covers. Then, we played a couple of pub-gigs that were really great at the time, but we sounded awful.
It wasn’t until a music teacher in our school told us we had potential that we decided to record our first single in 2018. The night we uploaded it we got around 200 plays, and we thought it was insane!
We kept recording and at the start of 2019 we decided to view ourselves as a real band. There’s been loads of humps, but it’s what we want to do. You’ve got to take the humps if you want to get far.
I think it’s scary, and brave, to decide at such a young age not to go to university to become a musician, where does this passion for music come from?
James: That’s why we chat the way we do because we will rule it all one day. If we don’t believe that, why are we here? Why are we doing interviews and stuff like that? Trust me, you’ll see us up there one day.
If I were to bring the laptop downstairs and interrupt my parent’s TV time, I’d show my dad’s massive record collection. I grew up listening to all the classics: Led Zeppelin and The Smiths, for example.
I know everyone loves music, for me it was when I started doing it myself and playing gigs - I just know this is what I want to do, forever.