Interview with Chris Motionless

Interview: Chris Motionless (vo. Motionless In White)

Interview by: Shadow | Interview date: November 26, 2010

 

“We like long walks on the beach, unicorns, and hot chocolate.”

 

Not exactly the opening statement you’d expect from the frontman of Pennsylvania metalcore band Motionless In White. Then again, maybe it is. After all, who doesn’t like hot chocolate? Chris “Motionless” Cerulli may look like one of “those people” that your mother would cross the street to avoid, but that would be her loss. Ask any of his fans what he’s like and they’ll give you an earful of praise for him, as both a musician and a person. Motionless In White held a concert on November 26 – Black Friday – in their hometown of Scranton to celebrate the recent release of their debut full-length album, Creatures. Chris took a few minutes after the show to sit down with me and share stories from the road, the studio, and discuss his personal take on straight edge.

 

For those who aren’t familiar, can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your band?

I am Chris, and I sing for Motionless In White. We like long walks on the beach, unicorns, and hot chocolate. [laughs] Just kidding. I’m Chris, I sing for Motionless In White, and we are a metalcore band from Scranton, Pennsylvania.

 

And how long have you guys been together?

Me and Angelo (Parente, dr.) are the only two original members. We’ve been using the name “Motionless In White” for, like, six years, but we’ve only been a serious, real band for about three years.

 

The name Motionless In White comes from an Eighteen Visions song. How did you get permission to use that? I know you had contacted them somehow…

There’s a lot of bands that use other bands’ song names, and they don’t get permission to use it, ‘cause it’s not like they could really say anything. But we didn’t want to use it if they would be mad about it. So, the first time that I had ever asked any of them about it was… I asked their bass player, Mick, at a show that I had seen him at, if it was cool. And, you know, we didn’t even have a record out or anything yet. I think he kind of just thought, “Oh, yeah, whatever. You’re just a stupid local band. You’ll never get anywhere. So, yeah, it’s fine.” So he was just like, “Oh, cool, yeah, use it. Awesome, it’s an honor.” And I was like, “Alright, sweet!” I was so excited. And now, years down the line, it’s funny, because his clothing line sponsors us. We’re good friends with them, and we keep in touch, so it’s really cool to carry on the legacy of a band that I really, really was influenced by.

 

You’ve recently been signed to Fearless Records and put out your debut, full-length album, Creatures. How did you come to be signed to Fearless Records, specifically?

We were in… kind of like the “right place at the right time.” Two years ago, or however long it was, we were on Warped Tour, and we were playing in Indiana, and the vocalist from the band Alesana, Shawn (Milke), ended up watching our set, and I guess we impressed him. He manages bands, so he offered to be our manager, ‘cause we didn’t have anybody, and within a couple days, he ended up shopping us to record labels and Fearless liked us. So that’s how it got started.

 

And it sounds like you guys are really happy there.

Yeah, I love Fearless, definitely.

 

Do you have any interesting stories from the recording of Creatures?

Usually the story I tell is just the most depressing part about it, which was… Halfway through the recording, all the computer software that our producer was using just died. So, we lost three days of time to record. Which might not sound like a lot, but when you’re there for a month recording a full-length record, three days is like serious, crucial time. So we kind of got screwed over a little bit with that. That’s the only story that really is crazy, but it sucks.

 

So – favorite or most memorable moments, good and bad, from the road?

I’ve actually been waiting to tell this story to everyone I know, and interviews, and questions like this, ‘cause I think it’s hilarious. Probably about two or three weeks ago when we were on tour, we were in Texas, just on this past tour that we did (with A Skylit Drive). I had a really bad cold from all the temperature changes and everything. I asked anybody if they had tissues, and some kid was gonna give me his shirt. I was like, “Ah, dude, I don’t wanna ruin your shirt or anything.” And he was like, “No, give it back!” So I was like… “So you want me to blow my nose in your shirt… and you want me to give it back to you?” He was like, “Yeeeah” – like, freaking out, so excited about it. So, I blew my nose… destroyed his shirt, and then gave it back, and he was so pumped.

 

Wow.

I can’t wait to tell that to everyone.

 

When I first approached you about this interview, I had mentioned that I was writing a paper on being straight edge. According to your Facebook, you have identified yourself as straight edge. I’m not sure if I’ve actually heard that in any interviews before, but I did see it there.

They’ve actually never asked. This is the first interview that anyone has ever asked.

 

Well, it’s highly of interest to me. (Here, Chris showed me the “X X X” tattoo on his right hand.) Nice. So, when did you decide that you were straight edge, rather than “just” a non-drinker or a non-smoker, etc?

As unbelievable or as, whatever, as it might sound – I’ve never really had alcohol or smoked a cigarette in my whole life. So, I’ve always been… I’ll just call it “sober” for the sake of having a word. The only time I’ve ever had any alcohol, of my whole life, was when I was, like, 12 years old, being a little lame kid begging my parents for a sip of wine on New Year’s Eve or – you know, stupid stuff like that, which, obviously, I only had a sip. I’ve never really experienced… I’ve never had beer in my life; I’ve never been drunk; I’ve never been high; I’ve never smoked a cigarette, ever. I didn’t really know what straight edge was until I started listening to hardcore music. Once I started getting into bands like AFI, Minor Threat, or even the metal bands like Bleeding Through, other stuff that I listened to – Eighteen Visions – all these bands that I started listening to in the hardcore scene were all straight edge bands. And I was like, “I follow what you guys do. I guess I’m straight edge.” At the time I didn’t know that you had to “claim” it, because it was all new to me. I was still in eighth or ninth grade, so it was all new to me and I didn’t know that if you “say you’re straight edge,” you’re “claiming” straight edge. But, I do. I’m not the kind of person that puts it on other people…

 

Not militant – ?

Yeah, I’m not a militant, hardline straight edge kid. I mean, I don’t like when people go get fucked up and – am I allowed to say that? – I don’t like when people go get fucked up and get drunk and all that shit. I mean… I don’t mind if you do, and if that’s what you wanna do with your life, great, but I don’t really want to be around you if you do it.

 

You actually kind of just answered my next question, which is: What are your personal reasons for living a straight edge lifestyle?

I think it’s retarded. I think alcohol, and getting high, and all that shit, is retarded. I suppose that’s a childish way of answering that question. I’ve never really had any interest. Like… You know how some people are even curious to see? You know – “I don’t drink, but I wanna know what it’s like to be drunk” or “I wanna see what it’s like to be high even once.” It just doesn’t have any interest to me at all. It just doesn’t make me feel like I wanna know. I think that shit’s disgusting.

 

You already said you’re not militant straight edge, but have you incorporated any other “extremist” modifications of straight edge into your lifestyle? Like… No modern medicine, veganism, no caffeine, anything like that?

No, I mean, like… I feel like that shit’s kind of just like going too far. You can go too far with anything that you do in your life, and, you know, if people wanna live their life like the whole… no modern medicine, no caffeine, or whatever, that’s fine. It’s not like I abuse it, so it’s not like I’m abusing even a legal substance, so I think that’s fine. You know, it’s all right – with me. Same goes for the whole premarital sex aspect that people don’t do when they’re straight edge.

 

Yeah, the general definition is actually “No promiscuous sex.”

Yes. Which I don’t partake in. I have had, obviously, premarital sex, but if I’m with somebody, then it’s a monogamous relationship, and if not, I’m not really… I’m not a playboy, for lack of a better word. I have a little self-respect.

 

Has being straight edge on the road ever been a problem? Have you ever had issues with other bands – drama of any kind?

I thought you were gonna say with these problems, like, do I feel pressure, which is not even… No.

 

I mean, does anyone ever, just… give you shit for it?

No. You know, now that I’m a little older and I’m a little bit more… I guess you would say… I guess people don’t really have, like, a want to push me around anymore, or make fun of me, because I’m older – I’m not “fun” to pick on anymore, for anybody. So people don’t really bother me about it, and if they do, usually all the bands that we tour with are respectful enough to know that I don’t do that. And they somehow know it way ahead of time. All the bands that we’ve ever toured with know that I don’t drink before I even meet them, which is weird. Well, not before I meet them, but if I hang out with them, they’re like, “Oh, you don’t drink, do you?” So it’s not really ever a problem.

 

Straight edge aside, what kind of issues or drama do you face on the road?

I’m a really drama-free person. We experience band drama, as a whole, but as an individual, I don’t really have any drama in my life. I’m 25, I’m old. [laughs]

 

You’re not old.

Yeah, I’m old and I don’t deal with that shit. I’m not 14 anymore, so I don’t have any drama. I think the younger you are, the more susceptible to drama and to high school bullshit, you know?

 

When these kinds of problems do arise, anything with the band or personally, how do you usually handle them? I mean, you’re on the road; you can’t exactly get away from it.

If there’s a problem internally with the band, the easiest way to handle it is to talk to everybody before it becomes a bigger problem. Sometimes people don’t want to do that and they just wait and wait and wait, and then explode – which is stupid. It depends on the problem. If it’s a big thing where it’s hard to tell somebody, like, you know, we’re having an issue with one of the people in the band and some things I don’t really wanna mention, but, things that need to be addressed, but we wanted to make sure that we had all of our facts straight before we said anything. We don’t just cause a fight for no reason. We’ll figure it out, try to take care of it the easiest way possible.

 

Fun question: What’s your dream tour lineup?

Us, Bleeding Through, Bleeding Through, and Bleeding Through. [laughs]

 

You’re a big Bleeding Through fan.

Yes. Do bands that don’t exist anymore count? Us, Eighteen Visions, Bleeding Through, and It Dies Today. [pause] Yes.

 

I would see that tour. I would follow that tour, actually.

I would see that tour every day, too.

 

What artists have inspired you most as a musician?

Marilyn Manson is a pretty big one. Davey Havok (vo. AFI & Blaqk Audio) is a big influence of mine. Bleeding Through is the biggest influence overall. That band is the reason why I am in a band. It Dies Today, Eighteen Visions – you know, the bands I mentioned earlier. Just a lot of bands that have done things that have really inspired me to write music.

 

What artists have inspired you in life in general, not necessarily as a musician?

Morrissey. That’s it. That’s the only answer I have for that one.

 

What’s coming up in the future for the band?

We are touring with Escape the Fate and Alesana from the middle of January to the middle of March. Then I think we’re gonna be off for a little while, and then we’re really hoping to either go to Europe or do the whole Warped Tour. Either one of those, I hope.

 

Last question. What’s the next big thing for you guys? The next milestone you’re aiming for?

Warped Tour. If we do the whole Warped Tour then that would be a dream come true.

 

 

You can check out Chris’ Facebook page, Chris Motionless, or follow him on Twitter, @ChrisMotionless, and check out the band on

MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/motionlessinwhite

or Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/motionlessinwhite

 

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~ by replicantshadow on December 8, 2010.

10 Responses to “Interview with Chris Motionless”

  1. MIW is the shit bitches

  2. omgg I love Motionless In White, although this interview is dated, it has great questions! Thanks!

  3. Do you have a video of this?

    • I don’t have video, but I do have audio floating around on my old hard drive somewhere. 🙂 That being said, it’s a large audio file and I didn’t want to use up the bandwidth. If there’s a particular segment you want to hear, I can try to figure out how to pull it it from the whole?

  4. chris is fucking awesome. All of my music is inspired by Motionless in white. Thank you guys for rocking!

  5. Have you written your paper on Straight Edge yet? I’m writing a paper and would like some more material to work with!

    • I have! I wrote it a few days after the interview, actually. I just dug it up to reread it. There are a few errors, looking at it now 4 years later, but I’d be happy to share it, if it’s not too late?

      • Thant would be awesome! I finished my essay, but it would be cool to see someone else’s take on everything.

  6. I’ll be honest – I’ve never really heard of Chris “Motionless” Cerulli or his band Motionless in White until, for some reason, Twitter put him on my “follow suggestions” list. And his profile photo caught my eye and a few Google searches later, I ended up on this article.

    And what can I say? At this point, I haven’t even listened to one of their songs. But reading your interview with him, I think I can already say this person has gained my respect. His views and opinions are clear, dignified and left me in some sort of awe.

    Being straight edge wasn’t something I expected from him. It’s true what you said on the first paragraph of this article, about him being one of “those people” other people would generally avoid. But Chris just shattered every baseless first impression one could have of him.

    So yeah, I think he is worth more as a person. And I think I’m gonna go listen to his band now. They seem interesting.

    Thanks.

    • Haha, I’m amazed this thing still comes up in Google searches! But that’s awesome. I’m glad this interview is still showing people a side of Chris they aren’t used to seeing. It’s amazing how much the band has grown in the last few years. I just saw them again last week opening for HIM and they still have all my love and respect.

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