Originally from the music metropolis of Nashville, Tennessee, the artist known as Mote relocated to Berlin, Germany just weeks before the pandemic of 2020 took the world’s focus. Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, he composes Indie Rock/Indietronica with timeless melodies and earnest lyrics laid over energetic beats, colourful guitar, and flowing synthetic textures.
Mote’s writing has rapidly evolved with the recent change in scenery and the shifting of modern events. Like most artists, he was busy playing live shows and gaining popularity, opening up for acts such as The Main Squeeze, Cappa, and Magic City Hippies, before a year long illness forced him to take a break in 2018.
The following year, he released an EP, Get The Door but was unable to tour the project. Getting through the illness was a rebirth for Mote. He came to a realisation that he was determined to get completely healthy and to move to a new city to truly start fresh with his art.
Berlin became that destination. Mote spent his first year in Berlin writing and also had a successful collaboration with Berlin based producer Lahos with the song ‘End This Ride’. Mote also spent the year studying film and adding videography to his repertoire.
This fall Mote is set to release a string of singles, his first self-directed music video, as well as visualisers to accompany all the singles. The new era of Mote begins with the release of the industrial-pop inspired song “Bondage” released in late August. He reveals more in this exclusive interview with us.
You were originally from Nashville. Why the move to Berlin and that city in particular?
Bowie probably. Sort of joking, but not really. So many of our rock n’ roll heroes have been guided by time in Germany. From the Beatles in Hamburg, Bowie, Iggy, and Depeche Mode in Berlin. Elvis and Johnny Cash were over here during their military days.
Nashville is a great town to be from, especially for a musician. It gave me an incredible foundation, but I was looking for a big change in my life. I wanted to turn my world upside down. I wanted to go somewhere with a thriving art culture, fashion, film, somewhere with more international diversity.
I thought of New York, LA, London, or Berlin. I decided Berlin would be the most interesting and unusual place to go. It has all this great culture and loads of fascinating history, and I would have the opportunity to learn a new language. So I just went for it!
Has the change of scenery, pace helped fuel your creativity and music?
Of course. It is such an inspiring place to be. The isolation of creating a life from scratch here has allowed me to be a sponge and really get to know myself through the lens of a foreign place. I just love the music here as well. There is a pervasiveness of great electronic music, very authentic rock n roll, and a classical music heritage that is one of the best in the world.
You were already establishing yourself as an artist, but you took a break to get well. How did you deal with that initial setback?
It was challenging. For a couple of months of being sick, I tried to keep working and touring, but my health kept getting worse. So once I accepted that to move things forward I had to stop and lie down, then things got a little easier. I focused on what I could do, like reading, meditating, watching great films, and getting some more time with my family than I would have had time for otherwise.
Your move to Germany coincided with new collaborations, one with Lahos in particular. What was the best aspect about this fresh creative partnership?
The best thing about working with Lahos is that he is a great collaborator and an excellent musician. We were just naturally friends too, and so the music was easy almost because of that vibe.
The result of your return to music is ‘Bondage’. What served as the inspiration for this track?
Falling in love. It can be so thrilling, but that is probably because it is so scary at the same time. For me anyway. Letting your deeper walls of trust down for me was allowing someone to have control over me. I thought Bondage was a great metaphor for being in a relationship.
You added film and videography to your repertoire. What spurred you to do that?
Being sick at first. I had been so busy with music for years, and when I was in bed and couldn’t play I fell in love with cinema again. I was an actor when I was younger and made little movies with my friends on camcorders. So when I came to Berlin I was trying out vlogging and got into editing with Final Cut Pro, and now I’m directing my first music video. I love the marriage of visuals and sound. It is so much fun.
You aim to release a string of singles in the near future. How are those new tracks coming along and what can we expect from you in the near future?
They are all done. Three more singles will be released six weeks apart for the rest of the year. I am also creating Visualisers for each track. I’m also writing new stuff for next year and starting to figure out live shows. So expect me to be busy (laughs). I’m feeling healthy and very grateful to be alive, and to be able to work so much. Thanks for having me.
Listen to Mote here.