The Motel Life began in 2007 in the city of Ontario, California. The band spawned from the breakup of several local bands that buckled under the pressure of pop music. Discouraged by their failures of their previous bands, the members of The Motel Life took a different path with their new project; drawing from their influence of bands that span across many genres, The Motel Life came together with a desire to create music more mature than their earlier efforts. Consisting of Michael Escanuelas on vocals, Judcody Limon on guitar, Nick Camacho on drums, Anthony Lujan on bass, and Al Hernandez on second guitar, The Motel Life have been playing shows ranging from their local area to neighboring states and plan to play several more shows throughout the west coast to promote their most recent recording We All Left Something Behind. Musically, they have been compared to The Get Up Kids, Motion City Soundtrack, and As Tall As Lions.
Tell us how you started out.
Mike: Judcody and I were in a band together before The Motel Life called Elm and Oak. That band broke up because of reasons I dare not say and then we formed The Motel Life with Nick and Lujan. We went through a couple member changes until we found Al, who I knew from high school. Music harmony commenced.
Did you all grow up in California? What was that like and how did you meet?
Nick: Yeah we are all from Southern California. I Met Judcody and Mike through playing shows with our previous bands. When it came time to looking for a bassist, I mentioned Anthony who I had known since middle school. We needed a second guitar player after recording our EP so we got Al, who Mike had known through high school.
Tell us what it’s like growing up in Ontario, CA
Anthony: I really enjoyed it growing up. We were in the center of a lot of great things. Disneyland, the beach, the dessert (not that great), LA (really not great), etc. are no more than an hour away. I would consider it to be a nice little suburbia, but now that’s starting to change and it’s being made into a money making city. It’s pretty awful.
Judcody: I guess I could compare it to most cities; it has a movie theater, a mall and a Starbucks on every corner.
Tell us about your music in general and specifically your new album.
Nick: When we started this band we didn’t want to get stuck in a specific genre. We all have different taste in music and we try not to shy away from each influence. We All Left Something Behind is a perfect example of that. Each song is different in its own way but still works as a whole and we are happy with that. We are in the early stages of writing for our next album and it’s going to be fun adding the element of a second guitarist in Al. We can already see it’s going to be a big mixture again and we couldn’t be more excited.
Al: I’m super excited to be writing with these guys they are super talented musicians and have a plan of what they want to do and how they want to do it. That’s the making for great music.
Mike: I think this album will be even greater with different influences with the addition of Al. On our EP I sung all the vocal parts (with the exception of some gang shouts and a female vocalist), but with this album I’m writing more parts for Al to sing along with me.
What artists have influenced you as a band and each of you personally?
Nick: As a band I would have to say it has to be a mixture of everything we each listen to. For me lately it’s been Manchester Orchestra, Kings of Leon, Death Cab For Cutie, The Smiths, The Format and Cursive.
Judcody: Radiohead, Placebo, Smashing Pumpkins, Nada Surf.
Anthony: Silversun Pickups and Whitney Houston.
Mike: For me, there are too many to really mention. But I suppose off the top of my head in no particular order would be The Early November, Brand New, Desaparecidos, Glassjaw, and Thrice. Those are some of the big ones.
Al: Blink 182, like most of my generation that plays guitar, is the reason I play guitar and got into music. As I grew with my musical ability so did my musical tastes and I discovered Incubus and that influenced me to use effect pedals and try to emulate Mike Einziger’s sounds. And then there was The Mars Volta and that changed everything for me. Improvisation and Latin sounds which connects me to my heritage.
Tell me about what you mean specifically when you say: “I’m sorry we’re not what you’re looking for”. What inspired that line and the song “Presale” as a whole?
Mike: “Presale” was kind of a reflection of my experience with Elm and Oak (Judcody and I’s old band). Working with money stealing production managers, unprofessional venues, and really, just that crappy feeling of being in a band where no one really cares. There’s just something really upsetting about knowing how many people are out there trying to take advantage of small bands and take their money. There’s an interesting story about this song that really reflects its meaning; we began our set with this song at a show in Arizona and right when we started, before we ever got a chance to play anything, this big group of kids (who were there for a band before us) walked out of the venue during our first song leaving our audience to about seven or so people. Those people who stayed were amazing, but sometimes people don’t really have any consideration for how hard small bands like us work just to try and get our music heard. The line “I’m so sorry we’re not what you’re looking for” is basically our sarcastic swan song for those people who just don’t care.
What inspired your MySpace page? It’s nicely stylized.
Anthony: That’s the work of our friend Ruben Olmedo. The guy does great stuff. We told him we wanted a “Little Big Planet” feel and he made a layout full of awesome texture.
What are your touring plans for this year?
Nick: Earlier this year we were asked to go to Arizona and New Mexico with our friends The Ready Aim Fire! which was awesome. Right now we have local shows booked, one being with The Forecast and Limbeck and another show which Forgive Durden, Anarbor and You, Me and Everyone We Know. After that we will be booking a late summer tour which will possibly be heading north towards Oregon and Washington. We will also be playing tons of shows through California so look out on our MySpace for all dates.
Band: Thanks for listening. Feel free to message and talk to us. Please get our music out there, talk about it and burn our CDs for everyone you know!
Article by: Roya Butler