Made up of members of Vacation, Tweens, Pale Angels, and The Drin, newly-founded Cincinnati supergroup Motorbike are back today with the hellraising single "Potential to Ride," the second single from their upcoming self-titled debut album coming out June 16th on Feel It Records. Ahead of the band's run of shows with Philly rockers TVO, we caught up with frontman Jamie Morrison and guitarist Philip Valois to discuss more about the new single and album, the origins of Motorbike, and Cincinnati's post-punk heart.
With already releases from hardcore punks Piss Flowers and Keith Harman's Good Looking Son, a lot has been happening over at Jerri Queen's Checkered Flag Studios, which is based in the Northside of Cincinnati, Ohio. While there's a lot of recordings that are still waiting to see the light of day, one of newest projects to come out the wreckage is Motorbike, a five-piece supergroup made up of some of Cincy's best rockers — lead vocalist Jamie Morrison (Pale Angels), guitarists Philip Valois (Tweens) and Dakota Carlyle (The Serfs, Crime of Passing), bassist Jerome Westerkamp (Vacation), and drummer-vocalist Dylan McCartney (The Drin, The Serfs).
Following up last month's scorching lead single "Throttle" to their upcoming self-titled debut, coming out later this month on Feel It Records, Motorbike is back today with the undeniably abrasive and dynamic cut "Potential to Ride." The latest single is a rush of primal noise with its steady tenacious rhythms, sludgy jangle churn, and McCartney's biting vocals — there's a discernably rugged Midwestern charm that feels exclusive to the Queen City wrecking crew.
Ahead of the band's run of shows with Philly rockers TVO, we caught up with Morrison and Valois to discuss more about the new single and album, the origins of Motorbike, and Cincinnati's post-punk heart.
Paperface Zine: Take me through the origins of Motorbike. Did you guys form after just messing around at Jerri's Checkered Flag Studios and was there a particular vision to this new project?
Jamie Morrison: We tend to play music with each other in different configurations quite often. Dylan, Dakota and I were playing with our Friend Eric Dietrich from the band Sorry Eric. We were messing around with the riff and structure that became Motorbike that evening. Once Jerri had his spill, the lyrics were formed and the idea to start this band was born. Possibly those ideas happened before that jam and crash. I certainly wanted to start a group here with these guys in Cincy and we'd all talked about it. Dakota had a load of riffs in the bank. The only vision in mine was to be a band that Bon Scott could've joined.
PZ: How did you settle on the name Motorbike? Did it just match the energy of the songs?
JM: Our friend Joe joked that the band should be called something dumb like Motorcycle. That sparked the name Motorbike in my mind so we ran with it.
Philip Valois: A couple of us do ride motorbikes, but yes, bicycles are far more clutch.
PZ: What have Motorbike shows been like?
JM: We filled the Junkers Tavern once.
PZ: What would you say you admire most about Cincy's current rock circuit? It must be sick with Jerri's analog studio, Future Shock, and now Feel It Records.
JM: Yes there is a lot of great stuff happening here regarding music. I was very impressed with the scene and the "Cincy sound" at the last Santamania festival that featured pretty much all the locals. Feel It are releasing some great records from bands in the city and there are more interesting bands concentrated in once place, than I've witnessed in other cities.
PZ: How would you describe the current scene there in one sentence?
JM: An industrial wasteland with weeds blooming beautifully from the cracks in the tracks.
PZ: Aside from the various bands you guys are in, what other Cincy bands do you recommend readers checking out?
JM: Corker, Blunt Blades, and Sorry Eric.
PV: There are many Cincinnati nuggets floating around. On the hardcore side, there's Butchers Dog, Primitive Impulse and Slut Bomb.
PZ: There's quite a rush to your self-titled full-length with its distorted guitar roars and hard-driving rhythms. How exactly did the debut LP come together and what were the recording sessions like?
JM: We mainly recorded the album over the first few rehearsals we had as a band. We wrote and rehearsed it in the Checkered Flag Studios. Jerri had everything set up for we could cut tracks once we had them worked out. Dakota, Dylan and myself brought a few more complete song ideas to the table and the rest of the tunes were pretty much written on the spot and fleshed out with the band. It was all pretty quick and organic. I think Jerri managed to capture some of this urgency and feel.
PZ: Today we're premiering the second single "Potential to Ride." What can you say about this track and how it came together?
JM: This is a Dylan song and one of my favorites of his. Sounds like a journey along the river road to me.
PZ: The first single "Throttle" reminds of somewhere between the Oblivians and the Gories. What can you say about this one and why you selected it as the lead single?
JM: Its got a biker gang anthem feel to it, so we thought it would be a fitting first impression. Jerri goes to a certain bar and finds this monthly biker magazine, we got a lot of the imagery and some of the vocals lines or ideas form this publication. "Throttle" probably features the most heavily pillaged platter.
PV: The track kicks in with a kind of psychedelic rip of an exhaust pipe. Complete chance with the delay on Jamie's vocals. It was a sign.
PZ: I think my favorite from the new album is "Off I Sped" — I really dig the fuzz-dripped, sort of demented, Attractions-esque power pop style.
JM: Thank you, rock on!
PZ: What are some of your fondest memories from the album's recording sessions?
JM: It was all a fun time hanging out and messing with sounds. Playing tambo along with this guys, especially locking in with Dylan's drums is a very fun pass time.
PV: Every meet up to write, ended up just becoming a recording session. Seamless. Bullshitting and laughing with each other during sessions is our way of arranging and composing music.
PZ: What's the ideal beer to drink when recording an album?
JM: Miler Lite because you can drink a lot of them.
PV: Bud Light Smooth and Bud Light Next. The Bud Light Next was working like a stimulant for a minute. Bud Lights in general keep me going.
PZ: What was the idea behind the cover art?
JM: It's a classic biker tattoo but deconstructed to be less intimidating as the reality is, we only ride bicycles. PZ: With the album release not too far away, what are you most excited about for its release? JM: It's great that people will be able to hear it (thanks Sam!) and we are excited to record more tunes. PZ: Aside from the new LP, what else is on the horizon for Motorbike or other projects you’re in? JM: The other guys bands are all active and busy. Motorbike will play when we can play and we’re going to make a new record.
Motorbike is out June 16th on Feel It Records. Pre-order the wax here and check out the tour dates with TVO below.