Motel Radio's Democratic Creation Process (INTERVIEW)

We got the chance to interview Ian and Winston of Motel Radio, an indie rock band from New Orleans. They shared insight about how they incorporate their audience into their music-making processes and how their unique band dynamic inspires their work.

Their viewpoints on creative value resonated beautifully with our motives to build this creative platform, and we hope their words inspire your artistic journeys as well.

Who are you?

Winston Triolo, 27

Roles: guitar, vocals, illustration, graphic design

Hobbies/passions: bouldering, running

Ian Wellman, 27

Roles: guitar, vocals

Hobbies/passions: photography, hiking, biking, pretty much anything outdoors

What genre would you consider Motel Radio to be under?

W: I would consider Motel Radio an indie rock band with folky, groovy, psychedelic influences (dad rock) since we have soo many dad fans.

How did your band get started? What's the significance of the name 'Motel Radio'?

W: We started writing music at the end of college in 2015 at LSU. The four of us had been friends throughout college and had become friends because of our musical interests. The band was first called 'Palmyra' but we later changed the name to 'Motel Radio' due to Palmyra already being taken as a band name. Motel Radio was a name that popped up while brainstorming and it had the imagery we were looking for. Most importantly, it wasn't already taken.

In the creation process of your most recent album, Siesta Del Sol, we assume you created more songs than were actually released on the album. What is the process of choosing songs to include on the album like? Do you have any specific qualities you look for to curate the album?

W: There were several songs that did not make the record which we plan on recording sometime in the future. Generally we go with what feels the best. A good way to test a song is playing it live and seeing how it feels/how the crowd feels about it.

What's your favorite song off of the album and/or what song are you most proud of?

W: Blue Love, Midnight

I: M.I.A.

I saw you on your tour with Summer Salt and loved your synchronized dance routine. It's very evident through your stage presence that you guys have a super strong and fun band dynamic. What do you think you each contribute to this dynamic?

W: We've been best friends for like 5 years. I try to be as real as possible. Andrew, our bassist, is the goofy guy. He's super lovable and happens to also be a CPA. Eric is the band dad/mom. He's responsible, and drives the van most of the time. He also probably wins the award for most stylish and well-groomed. Ian is our spiritual leader. He has plants and loves to talk about the universe, a very poetic and talented individual.

All together, we have very strong personalities, and are leaders/influencers in our own right. This can make it tough to come to a consensus on things, but I think it makes us stronger.

I: The whole music making process is very democratic. It's basically a majority rules mindset in the studio and just in general band life. I consider each person's opinion to hold equal weight. It's one of the things that I think makes our songs diverse, and helps keep us together. Everyone has to sacrifice.

Along with that, I noticed that you are all friends with the members of Summer Salt and Dante Elephante, the other opener on their tour. How has collaboration/working with other artists played a role in your band's journey/development?

W: It's always amazing to meet people our age who are doing the same things we are doing. It's like we are instantly friends because we have soo much in common. Dante and Summer Salt are so talented and have great music, so it's really easy to respect and admire them.

I: I always try to learn from the bands we play with.

They always seem to teach me something whether it's intentional or not.

The Summer Salt and Dante guys specifically are all so stupidly talented, and most are multi-instrumentalists. It was a lot of fun doing green room songwriters circles and hearing pieces from everyone's solo projects. And of course, all getting on stage together and going nuts.

What do you think is the most valuable part of being involved in a creative experience?

W: Self discovery, fulfillment, inspiring others to feel emotion

I: It feels like exercise.

Just as physical activity satiates your body, creative activity exercises your mind and soul. It shrinks the world down to something manageable.

:') Winston wasn't lying about Ian's spiritual, poetic talent.

Okay, now for some fun ones:

You're in a fashion show. What would your runway song be?

I: She Wolf - Shakira

W: Who Let the Dogs Out

Snails in jam or worms in peanut butter?

I: Like which would I prefer to eat? I guess I'd put them together and make a really weird PB&J.

W: Worms.

If you had a pet rock, what would you name them?

I: Zeus

W: Geodude

And lastly any other exciting projects coming up? We can't wait to hear more from y'all!

I: Working on a B side that didn't make the record, keep your eyes open :)

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