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Motorjesus's Chris Birx: "I had to come up with something different to keep myself entertained while writing. I sometimes tend to get bored of writing similar lyrics again and again"

Interview with Chris Birx from Motorjesus
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 25 April 2021, 1:19 PM

Of course that it matters what has been happening out there, the last thing that could be said that it is easy. However, if permitted, there are means to take a trip, not the dopy one, through the musical lane and lose one's self, just a for a bit, into the ocean of possibilities. The German Motorjesus, Covid-19 or not, have always offered a catchy in the vein kind of Metal, where you are racing against time, or yourself, right until the reply button shows. Launching their new "Hellbreaker" album, Steinmetal had a good talk with vocalist Chris Birx about the proceedings, the era, the smoothness of the music and more…

Hi Chris, it is a major pleasure to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, with all that has been happening around worldwide, how have you been doing sir?

I'm doing Good thank you. It’s a difficult time for music but we try to draw the positive things out of it and keep going.

It is no secret that this past year, and also from what it appears, for the moment at least, 2021 isn’t going to be that different, it was devastating for many people. With Motorjesus being a live band that storms and burns every stage, how does it feel to be locked, chained so to speak? For you guys, it is a total antithesis

Well we’ve been pretty active on the live scene especially in Germany the past years. And now we’re Kind of condemned to stay at home and only to record songs which we can’t perform live. That really sucks but we stayed focussed on writing and recording the new album Hellbreaker to stay busy and to change frustration into something positive. which is for us to create new music

With that inability to play live, and even though many bands did that under lockdown, how did that serve as motivation to sit down and start working on a new album? Did you feel as if you needed a kind of special power to get yourself together and simply work in order to shade away from the fact that the next time you will see a stage is unknown?

No there was no special power involved … we tried to focus on a new record and kind of pushed it through. It was a very focussed and cool experience. We had to keep ourselves busy otherwise we would have been frustrated and disillusioned. That was a good idea for us and it worked out great.

To be honest, earlier on in your career, and I have been listening and watching, I knew that your days with Drakkar Records were numbered, in particular judging by the sheer force of “Race to Resurrection”. Earlier on, were you spotted by AFM Records, which is also a local market for you, or rather decided to close things up with Drakkar and head over to shop for a new direction in your career?

No that was not the case … it was more like a change inside the same company because Drakkar and AFM records both belong to soulfood music. And they were sitting in the same bureau complex … so it was a logical and Natural move to hire with AFM. We’re pretty happy working with them now.

Your new album is simply titled, yet fierce enough to comprehend the power it holds, “Hellbreaker”. From what I could gather the fire element, which has always been there within your material, was elevated in its significance. What can you tell about the imagery and inner feel of the record?

Well Hellbreaker defines a journey through the deepest depths and we all sometimes go through dark times especially at the moment during the pandemic … but it’s also about going through that and to keep your head up and to move forward to let this behind… to finally break through this hell so to speak. That is the main idea behind it. The image etc. is a look at it from a rock roll and “having a good time” point of view.

Not simply due to having a song named “Dead Rising” as part of the tracklist, but there is sort of apocalyptic sort of feeling throughout the record, is there is a mixed discussion about the end of the world or rather you focused on your version of the occult along with that striking muscle car and ounces of gasoline?

No it’s more about the real world which is in a kind of a depressing state at the Moment. People are really fed up with Corona all is pretty difficult in our jobs and in normal life. These are dark times and were in the middle of it. It’s all packed in stories about zombies, rock n' roll and gasoline but when you look closer you will find that there is a lot of truth between the lines.

I have been asking various artists of their means to escape reality, in particular the pandemic. What is the escapism aspect within “Hellbreaker”? Were you trying to find your way out of it all and simply rolled with it?

At first and foremost the record should give you at least a good feeling and some moment of escapism from these difficult times. That's what music and also our life shows are about. To forget your problems for a minute. That’s what we’re trying to achieve.

After suffocating the life out of the album, it occurred to me that you punched the heaviness factor up a notch, with the songs gathering intensity. Nonetheless, you maintained, quite impressively, the memorability effect, as the songwriting generated a form of glue. Whether it is Heavy Metal, Stoner, Hard Rock, Punk, you have it all. How do you feel that “Hellbreaker” contributed to your development as a band and of course, as songwriters?

Yeah it’s another evolutionary step for us as songwriters. But it all came very natural to us. We did not force anything just letting it flow. We have many influences that we put in the mix again as always, but we also developed some new twists or some ideas never used before. It’s nice to see that there is still development Going on in our own cosmos.

In your view, what do you think is the major musical element that makes “Hellbreaker” as the uncanny beast within your discography?

We really don’t think that way. We just simply wrote new songs and tried our best to come up with something good. Later after the release we realize what really changed and developed for us.

What was your initial musical vision for the record, and how did that vision come to life? How many things were changed while the songwriting and recording stages?

If there was any vision at all it would be that we tried to keep it as compact and straight as possible. We don’t want it to be too long and extensive. There were some changes on the Songs during production but that is a normal procedure.

Recently you recruited a new lead guitarist, Patrick Wassenberg, which created quite a double axe team. How do you find his contribution to the record? What is your appreciation of his form as a six string warrior?

Well Paddy was very involved in the songwriting and recording process and also brought many ideas to the table. That was a good thing for us. But we all contributed a lot to the album. It’s nice to have a talented guy like him in the band.

Songwriting and recording the album while the pandemic, I bet that it was that easy to achieve. How did you cope with that? Was it a bit hard to manage all these processes with the lockdowns? I know that Germany had its fair share

We had to come up with different techniques and ways to write and record. We very often did video conferences via Skype or zoom, or recorded separately. We simply couldn’t be in the rehearsal space with 5-6 people. So we tried it differently and luckily it worked out fine.

For one thing, it was so tough for me to pick tracks to talk about, but after a thought, or two or three, I came with the ones I wanted to know more about. The Metal meets Punk, “Dead Rising”, burned me alive, it is one hell of a scorching tune, made me feel alive. Yes, my neck hurts. Is it part of a concept or simply your token of appreciation for Zombie movies?

I did some horror themed lyrics in the past and it’s often fun for me to write about some different themes than the obvious racing themes or the Jesus in his car stuff… dead rising was heavily influenced by the horror punk genre like the misfits and stuff. So that was super fun to come up with something like that. And music wise I like this song a lot too.

Even though the former is a loose cannon, “Firebreather” is where you guys arose to a whole new level. The groove, the delivery of the vocal work along with the atmosphere that is breathtaking, this track is one of your greatest hits. Coming back to the vocals, have you trained for this or this simply came out of you as if it was a walk in the park? What are your thoughts on this song?

Firebreather is also a great and special track for us. Though we did some songs in this direction before, it turned out very unique and special for us. In the Development it was at first a song I had a lot of doubts about. But after I recorded my vocals for it, I was pretty convinced that it would turn out good. The vocal recordings for that one worked pretty normal and I was already in the right mood and focussed to deliver the best I could. It went smooth to record that one.

Virtually you created your own version of Anthrax’s “I Am The Law”, without covering the old classic, and I am referring to “Lawgiver”. There are aspects within those songs that aren’t related to Judge Dredd, but once you briefly mentioned the existence of Megacity, I smiled. What can you tell about this track and its creation?

Lawgiver was also a song I really wanted to have fun with. It’s about 80s action movies like judge Dredd, Robocop or the terminator. I had to come up with something different to keep myself entertained while writing. I sometimes tend to get bored of writing similar lyrics again and again. So that one was super fun to come up with …

Let’s be hopeful that the vaccination process will take on a much substantial form, how do you see the end of the year for Motorjesus?

We really don’t know. We would love to do a show in one or another form but it all depends on the situation here in Germany.

What is expected in terms of videos from the band other than “Firebreather”? What other ways of promotion are you planning as a band for the record?

We already did 3 other videos besides firebreather, apart from that we focus more on the internet presence and got a YouTube channel running which is called motormetal TV. There we talk about metal and have fun. Maybe we plan some steaming events… we’ll see

Chris, many thanks for the interview and for your efforts. Once again Motorjesus made it happen, displaying amazing abilities with a terrific record. Cheers sir. All the best!

Thanks for the interview and for the support! Stay Safe!


 



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