Q: Hey, for those who aren’t familiar with your music, could you tell us a little about yourself?
We describe Motihari Brigade’s genre as “Rock-n-Roll Thoughtcrime” for independent minds. The concept is inspired by George Orwell, who has become more relevant than ever in this age of big-tech-dominated algorithm filters. It’s a high-energy sound that comes from drinking a lot of coffee and then vibrating the strings and banging the instruments with enough intensity that you can feel the collective heartbeats of the band thumping along together. I do the vibrato electric guitars, lead vocals, and songwriting. Hopefully, it gets your attention and drives the whole hyper-caffeinated dystopian exploration.
Q: You recently released your new single “Algorithm and Blues” – can you tell us what the song is about?
“Algorithm & Blues” is about navigating the overwhelming onslaught of big-tech media that surrounds us and curates our brains. Any remaining crumbs of our attention span are competing just to maintain some remnant of control over our independent humanity. The song is a celebration of rock-n-roll thoughtcrime in this post-modern dystopian psychological crisis that we are all now busily sharing on our smartphones. The lyrics describe a “consciousness of memes” vying to define the prevailing narrative of today’s virtual reality – “the illusion of free will, swallowing the pill.” It ends by saying, “Meanwhile I’m still thinking.” That’s a nod to rock music’s history of cultural defiance – going back to Chuck Berry and T-Rex. It’s about the defiance of unpredictable human behavior in the face of technocratic domination.
Q: What inspirations do you take when writing your music?
I keep coming back to Orwell with his ideas about groupthink and thoughtcrime. On this album, I’m really not trying to convince anyone of anything. I am just trying to understand the contemporary times that we are living through, and with an open mind hopefully, piece together a comment about “reality” – or at least the show that passes for reality. The inspiration is the absurdity of this techno-dystopian age. The first album we did beat you over the head with radical slogans. This one is much less certain. Definitions have changed. The world is re-aligning in new ways than we’ve previously experienced. And it’s happening quickly. In that sense, I think this new album is actually much closer to our guiding concept of “Rock-n-Roll Thoughtcrime” – because it’s more open to interpretation and subtle meanings.
Q: Who are your current favorite new artists?
I am a monster fan of Thievery Corporation. I listen to anything they put out, and see them live whenever I get the chance. They put on a great live show. I don’t think Motihari Brigade sounds much like them, but I would love to. Maybe we also share a few ideas about the world.
Q: Who would your dream collaboration be with, and why?
I often wonder what some of rock’s famous outspoken rebels would say if they were still with us and able to interpret the events of today. People like Joe Strummer from The Clash. Would they still be regarded as saints? Or would they be thought criminals on the wrong side of the official story? It’s often easier to canonize people who are dead. They might be causing offense right now if they were still able to talk. I recently saw Roger Waters on his current tour, and he is way out there saying things that are definitely thoughtcrime – and straight out of the Orwell playbook. The way he incorporated video images and text projections into the show made it impossible to miss. At one point he even threw up an Orwell quote. I would love to collaborate with anyone who is exploring that kind of edgy territory and saying something that challenges the official script.
Q: What does the rest of the year have in store for you?
I will keep banging on about what we are trying to do with this new album. Hopefully, there is an independent audience of critical thinkers out there who are looking for this kind of thing. It would be great if Motihari Brigade found its niche audience – if for no other reason than just to help each other keep our sanity. Maybe we could have a mutual support group of sorts. Then it would be back to writing more songs. I’m sure there is more Rock-n-Roll Thoughtcrime to be created.