Exclusive Interview: Saint Motel Paints the Stage Blood Red


September's been a red-letter month for indie rockers Saint Motel – not only did they release their debut EP ForPlay to critical raves, they've also been picked for a month-long residency at LA club Spaceland, for which they designed a series of genre-themed stage shows, with each week's performance based on their collective love of movies (the band members went to film school together). Of course, what really grabbed our attention was hearing about their plans for the final show on Monday the 28th – a DIY splatter spectacle they're hoping will be the grand finale to a wild, weird month – and this one sounds like a must-see. But if you're planning on getting close to the stage, be prepared to get a little red stuff on your shirt.

We were lucky enough to line up a little Q&A with the entire group – frontman A/J Jackson Jr., bassist Dak, guitarist A Sharp and drummer Greg Erwin – in the days leading up to their gore-riffic finale. Read on to find out what horrors the guys have planned for their victims… uh, fans, that is...

FEARnet: So what's the story behind the multiple themes at Spaceland?

A/J:  We decided to do the film genre themes in honor of the six music videos that are being released. Our new EP ForPlay is equal parts video to audio: every song has a music video that you get free with every album purchase. We picked those concepts because we wanted very bold, fun themes.

Why those genres in particular?

DAK: We picked the genres that we all love, and made them our themes for each night, because we want our audience to have some kind of audio-visual experience... so it would be special and different for each night.

What is that experience, for those who haven't seen a Saint Motel show?

A/J: We generally put a lot of thought into our live shows, especially the local ones. We've all seen hundreds of concerts, and we want to keep the experience fun and new – not only for the audience, but for ourselves. It started with us trying to turn the stage into a living room with deer heads, lamps on amps, and trees, but it's progressed to a complete audio/video world.

A SHARP: The experience includes (but is not limited to) wild video projections, sexy costumes, loud rock music, brief nudity... and certain subject matter that may be unsuitable for children under the age of 2 years.

DAK: Last time, we had a camera pointed to the audience, and it showed on the screen behind us. It was like they were all over the place and I couldn't get away from them! So in a way, we were having as much fun as our audience.

Obviously we're particularly interested in the upcoming horror show... can you give up any details on that one?

A SHARP: Well, we're not at liberty to divulge TOO much information...

A/J: Well... all I can say is we have loads of blood, cheese cloth, boxes of surgical gloves, loads of various body parts, flood lights, red gels... and we might even convince the local prison to let a couple of their worst convicts come enjoy the show... without any shackles. We have a bunch of mannequins that we are going to be, in effect, tearing to pieces; things we might go to prison for, if we did them to a human being, are a pleasant decoration on a mannequin. We've been working with friends to help decorate the night; my sister's a DIY master and she can take twenty dollars' worth of supplies from the Home Depot or 99-cent store and transform the space into a haunted house of terror.

DAK: We’re going to make it both one of the scariest concerts to experience and one of the most fun. Since it will be our last night of our month-long Monday night residency at Spaceland, we expect it to be quite crazy. We’re excited to save it for the last.

A SHARP: There will be blood...

You mentioned you'll be doing a horror-themed video for the EP... and ideas yet what that will entail?

A/J: Well... we're certainly known for not shying away from dark subject matter in our videos, such as in Dear Dictator, To My Enemies, and Pity Party. Horror themes, themes dealing with death, and other unpleasantries are strangely captivating. You hate to see it, but you can't help watching. That's what Saint Motel is all about.

We're all about that too, believe me. Since you're quite knowledgeable about horror flicks... which ones are your personal faves?

A/J: I've always really liked the Evil Dead series. I like horror/sci-fi as well. Does that genre exist?


A/J: Like Aliens and Predator, Event Horizon


A/J: Well if it does, I like it!

GREG: I know this isn’t considered a classic by any means, but the 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later series was INCREDIBLE!

I'd say the first one definitely qualifies for that status.

GREG: They're very realistic, you know... because in my life, very often, I find myself surrounded by flesh-hungry zombies that once were my family, and then I have to shoot them in their face.

I know how you feel. Any other zombie fans here?

A SHARP: YES! I'm a HUGE fan of zombie movies. The original Dawn of the Dead is my favorite.

How about you, Dak?

DAK: Carrie is my favorite. I don't want to spoil it, but let's say 'hand shooting up out of grave' scared the crap out of me. One of the best movies that has ever been made from Stephen King's books.

Back in the real world, what's your biggest fear?

A/J: Well... I visited a torture museum in Peru. It dealt with how the conquistadors and inquisition tortured heretics. Most of it seemed equally brutal – spikes, stretching, hanging from unusual body parts – but I think it takes a clever torturer to think of this one: put two slabs of stone or concrete in front and in back of the person so they can't move their body. No blood, no gore... but scary as hell.

DAK: Bugs! Can't stand them, can't look at them. I get goosebumps just thinking about them.

GREG: I truly fear being chased by a dangerous, weapon-toting monster/human... like a Texas Chainsaw scenario. That literally scares the crap out of me.

Be sure to check out Saint Motel on their MySpace, and you can viddy the Spaceland promo montage below... pay particular attention to the awesome giallo-style ad for the final show. If that's not incentive enough to get yer ass out there and see them on Monday night, I don't know what is.