If Saint Motel isn’t already on your playlist, are you even ready for Summer? There’s no doubt that the band’s toe tapping, feel good music is going to be a poolside hit.
The indie pop band consists of lead singer and guitarist A/J Jackson, guitarist Aaron Sharp, bassist Dak Lerdamornpong, and drummer Greg Erwin.
The band’s most recognizable riff is from their Fall 2015 hit 'My Type', featured in commercials - cue Karlie Kloss in Express Jeans prancing around your TV screen. And mark my words, their new single 'Cold Cold Man', will likely be on repeat from your fancy bluetooth speakers.
When I first heard Saint Motel’s music, it was hard not to notice their jazzy percussions that will make you to jump out of bed on a Sunday morning. But besides pleasing your earbuds, they put together visually intriguing videos. They’re just as committed to enhancing the listener’s experience by honing in cinematic skills parallel to those of big time Hollywood directors.
Having gone to film school, it only felt right for A/J to incorporate the two major components of his life. “I think song writing is storytelling. I enjoy lyrically coming up with a character or observing someone from another point of view. You’ll never guess which song is written from the perspective of a cat,” he jokes.
Greg adds, “Maybe I’m biased, but I think one of A/J’s stronger suits is telling an interesting story from a completely different person’s perspective. That’s what I like a lot about his writing…don’t tell him though.”
Saint Motel may have found their rhythm with success, but it wasn’t easy. Greg remembers the earlier days of the band when they weren’t quiet as sure how things were going to turn out. “It’s that kinda thing that you don’t really know. You just kinda dive in and don’t really come up for air very often.”
As stressful as it might have been, the guys never seized to appreciate every moment along the way. “We’d lift our gear up four flights of stairs to play for five people and not get any sleep at night, but then do it all over again the next day. It was fun,” says Jackson.
“I think that’s the beauty of it. We haven’t always been like, ‘we have to do this, we have to do that,’” Greg notes. “When we started to get a little more exposure and people started to know our music on a bigger scale, that’s what set into our desire to keep doing it. It was like free fuel for us.”
“There’s no way we would have done the shitty shit that we’ve done without enjoying it.”
But, of course, with great perseverance comes an even greater reward. “Last year really stands out to me. Playing Coachella and standing on that stage was one of those life moments you’re just like, ‘Whoa!’ It was something we’ve always wanted to do even before we were Saint Motel. We did something right and people are reacting.”
Working together for a better part of a decade the guys have really found what works in terms of their style and approach to their uniqueness. Jackson explains, “I’ll explode out forty songs and only like ten will make it out the gauntlet of us four. That’s how it gets shaped along the process and makes it Saint Motel.”
If you’re planning on hitting up some festivals this season, don’t be surprised to see the guys. They’ve been booked for Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza with many more stops along the way. It’s hard for Greg to hide the excitement in his voice, “It’s a dream come true. It’s going to be special.”
The guys are known for their visually enticing sets, which separates them from the long line-ups at most festivals. “You never know what to expect. Generally we enjoy playing music and engaging with the crowd. We egg each other on and it’s a good time.”
Can’t make it out to a show? Don’t worry! The guys have plenty more planned ahead. “Our LP should be coming out sometime this year, in the meantime we have a new single that’ll drop pretty soon. We’ve got some fun stuff planned this year.”
Story by Nadiya Khan
Photography by Taylor Lewis