It's not that there haven't been other 3-piece rock bands capable of producing a towering barrage of sound. And it's not there haven't been other hard-touring indie outfits that racked up tens of thousands of miles and tens of thousands of fans before they stepped up to the majors and signed a label deal, either. In this particular case though, the thing that really sets Centricity Music's new artist Me In Motion apart from their peers is the speed with which they've reached this point?that and the fact that none of it seems to have gone to their heads.
Formed in mid-2006 by then-nineteen-year-old writer-artist-producer-wunderkind Seth Mosley, Me In Motion had by 2008 already grabbed the attention of GMA producer-of-the-year Ian Eskelin, signed a development deal and began the regular commute from Ohio to Nashville to write and record a full length project. When Centricity Music bought the masters and signed the band in 2009, Seth's production skills had already so rapidly matured that he was the obvious choice to produce the remaining handful of songs for the band's self-titled debut. Or, as Eskelin remarked when he heard the new batch of hooky, brit-rock influenced demos: ?Dang. Those guys don't need me anymore.? Flash forward a few short months. Mosley has not only produced the back half of Me In Motion's record, he's producing or co-producing several tracks on the next Newsboys album, many of which he also co-wrote. Not to mention the fact that Me In Motion is already signed to tour with the Newsboys.
Okay, time out. Let's rewind for a second. Who are these guys again? And didn't anybody see this coming?
?It's a bit ironic,? Seth laughs, ?that the first CD I ever owned was the Newsboys Take Me To Your Leader. I would stay up all night cranking up that thing in my walkman. I was enamored with music and concerts from a pretty young age, started learning guitar when I was twelve and played on stage for the first time at fifteen. I started a little recording studio in my parents' basement and all through high school I was producing and writing for my friends' bands, as well as leading worship for youth services at my church.?
After high school, Mosley planned to pursue a music degree in Nashville. In fact, he had already completed a week of freshman orientation when he got a call offering him a full-time studio production job in Ohio. After some intense soul-searching, Seth packed up, left Nashville and took the production gig. It was while working there that he met bassist Tim Wilson and drummer Brian Dexter who would eventually form the remaining two-thirds of Me In Motion.
?Working long days there,? Seth explains, ?made me realize pretty quick that there was something deep down inside pushing me toward being an artist. I had so many songs in my head screaming to be heard. I didn't care if it was ever a big commercial success or not. I just knew I couldn't spend the next twenty years sitting in a recording studio. Enter Me In Motion. We formed the band, hit the road and haven't looked back since.?
In Seth's world, ?since? is a scant three years (but hey, in his defense, that's about 15% of his life so far?). In that short span though, the fledgling band has toured almost full-time, winning over hundreds of audiences with their loud, sweaty, no-holds-barred rock n' roll stage show that showcases their passionate blend of raw pop and worship and their almost insane level of interaction with fans.
?From the very beginning,? Seth explains, ?Tim, Brian and I wanted Me In Motion to be remembered by fans as the band that was always available and accessible. That's why we hang out at the merchandise table before and after our shows, just to connect with the kids who come out to see us. And it really has a big impact on people when you take that time with them instead of just getting up on stage, playing your set and splitting. It really matters to kids and a lot of them leave messages on our facebook page afterwards to let us know. We also post a new online video content weekly and do a lot of twittering to make fans feel even more a part of our community. One of our primary missions is to make sure that Me In Motion never loses that aspect of who we are.?
Even as they were grinding out show after show and connecting with fans those first couple of years, the band was also honing their chops and defining their sound, ultimately staking their claim in that corner of the musical landscape that includes influences like Jet, Foo Fighters, Switchfoot, Oasis, The Killers, Weezer, The Bravery and the Beatles.
?I don't think there's a much better education than what you get being on the road,? Seth says. ?A few years of being a traveling band sleeping on couches and floors and hearing so many different life stories has an effect on you. It all figures into what we sound like and write about now. Musically, we've landed in a place that's a lot more straight up rock n' roll than we would have done before. But that's because we've discovered it's what we love to play live and we've embraced the ?less is more' philosophy in a musical sense, just stripping it back and rocking out.?
A huge part of Me In Motion's unique identity as a group is expressed in their first radio single Losers. The aggressive, groove-based anthem instantly emerged as a huge crowd pleaser and as a song with power to affirm and motivate listeners.
?Losers is a banner song for anyone who has ever felt rejected by their peers,? Seth says, ?whether it's because of how they look, something that's different about them, or because they're trying to follow Jesus in a world that looks at that as strange. But the song is also a callout for us to open our eyes and see the ?least of these' that Jesus talked about who are all around us. My favorite line in Losers says, ?Maybe that's a four-eyed Jesus, coming from a broken home?'. So the song is saying let's look at people through eyes of mercy and compassion as Jesus would and let's love them as if they were Jesus because he told us as we do unto them, we do unto him.?
Other standout songs on the project include the Coldplay-esque ballad Back To You (a personalized nod to the prodigal son narrative), the infectious, caffeine-on-eleven rollercoaster ride of Leaving Here Someday, and the energetically bright and dark (uh?you'll understand when you hear it?) show-opener Gotta Be Something, which sets out to deconstruct our culture's shallow view of happiness and refocus our attention on something more enduring.
?Gotta Be Something is kind of a manifesto,? Seth observes. ?It's saying that we reject what the world sells us as the definition of what it really means to live life to the fullest. This world's misconstrued ideas of happiness and success don't really mean anything in the grand scheme, so let's stop chasing them. When we sing that it's as much a reminder to us as it is to our audience.?
That same tendency towards introspective conviction even played into the band's name choice. Me In Motion was inspired by Russian writer Leo Tolstoy's quote: ?Everybody thinks about changing the world, but nobody thinks about changing himself.? The idea of seeing oneself as a work in progress. Of seeing the sanctification process as a joint venture between the Spirit of God and a human heart emerged early on as one of the band's central tenets.
?I always find myself going back to the theme of wanting to make a difference,? Seth explains, ?to live out our faith, even when it might be the hardest thing in the world to do. My heart for myself, the band, the kids and families that hear Me In Motion's music is that all of us will be inspired to break out of these little bubbles that we so often find ourselves retreating into and to show everybody a little bit of Jesus' love every day. It's a bit of a scary thought because I personally like to have a 10-step guide for what to do and how to do it rather than just a basic rule that says, ?Alright, get out there and love God and people as much as you can!' But isn't that what faith is for at the end of the day? Living a true life of love, I've found, is never the easy life. But it's the real life. It's the only life that fulfills who we're meant to be.?