It’s the Friday night before the 4th of July. A date reserved for play; the night a warm-up for the oncoming raucous weekend. A celebration of independence. Enter: modern emblems of (folksy) independent music: Motopony.
Motopony is having a moment before their show to get the energy flowing. Practice may make perfect, but in this moment it’s eye contact and electric vibes that take precedence over technicalities. The music itself is hard to define, somewhere in- between poppy to folksy to electronically chirpy. With music alluding to content somewhere in between nature and technology, it’s aimed, in their own words, “for bringing people together.”
Sound and image akin, Motopony is the type of band you’d hear playing at your favorite low-key coffee house as much as much as they are the band you’d hear on the soundtrack at Starbucks (really, though). Unconventional yet versatile, novel yet familiar, there is something about them that is so...American. Starting with their name alone.
The age-old “What came first; the chicken or the egg” is just as ambiguous to front man Daniel Blue as it is to the name of his band. A lifelong wanderer (having had moved around a lot in his childhood), Blue used to have a motorcycle, which he eventually came to treat “not as a vehicle,” but instead a “pony,” as he called it. “It became something I took care of, a beautiful object.” Man and machine, material and soul.
And it’s this soul, expressed in Blue’s reassuring croons, the mellow riffs, Buddy Ross’s twinkling electronic strums, that gives the band its dreamy vibes. “Music contours the perception of reality,” Blue states. As much as sound is manipulated and created by instrument, the product of Motopony’s genius is a live dream. The lyrics raw and organic, the ambience takes the listener in between acoustic bliss and quiet electronic solitude.
Folkloric and magical, Motopony’s vibes are consistent with the American Dream of yester-decades as much as they are forward-thinking and futuristic. There is no question the band is guided by the true spirit of old-school rock n’ roll (“Live in 1971, I wanna be there, I wanna have fun” Blue sings in “1971”). And yet the spirit of tech is also present.
Hailing from Seattle, Motopony’s energy is consistent and indicative with its place of origin. It’s hard to put them in a box, but they are indeed from the Pacific Northwest, inculcated by the region’s progressive/tech-inclined/au naturale, indie-folk scene. Independence rings true in their slightly DGAF, yet entirely grounded, presence.
As much as the “pony” side of Motopony is apparent in the music, “moto” is acknowledged as the yin to the yang. “I bought my first guitar at a garage sale, with half the strings broken,” Blue notes. In this sense, Motopony acknowledges its dependence on machines, technology, the “stuff” that fuels society. It is how they make music, after all.
And yet through and through, Motopony is dualistic in every which way; as wild as they are tame, real as they are “magical”, they are independent. They dance, create, perform how they want; the performance felt real, authentic, and very much “doing their own thing”.
It’s a “recital,” Blue says, when asked about authenticity in performance. Their energy resonates with the crowd; everyone seems to do their own thing. Definitely not all-American, but definitely not un-American, Motopony is a dream come true, their spirit transient yet simultaneously grounded in their respective soil of origin and tradition.
Story by Sarah Bartholomew
Photos by Robiee Ziegler