Music Q&A: The Motet

January 17 2014, 1:00 PM

The Motet—a Boulder-based jazz and funk band—is a well-known staple in the Colorado jam scene. (You may know them from their legendary, funk-themed Halloween party at the Boulder Theater.) The band's creative and energetic interpretations of rock, soul, and R&B make for feel-good, dance-your-butt off performances.

Now, the Motet is launching an album with all songs written and composed by the band. We spoke with drummer Dave Watts to find out exactly what this means for the band, and why they will always call the Mile High City home.  

5280: Why did the band choose to launch this album now?

Well, it’s not only all original material, but the songs have been a group collaboration—which has never happened for us before. We all put in our two cents, and I think that’s because our lineup has been solid for the last few years. We are able to do that at this point in our career, whereas before we relied more on individual people for writing and sort of arranging other people’s material. This time, we started from scratch. We spent four days writing the base material, and we’ve spent the last year and a half honing in on that material and putting together this record.

5280: Is this album a sign of the band’s personal evolution?

No doubt. It’s definitely about the evolution of the band. I started the group 12 years ago, and we’ve moved through many different genres and styles, as we felt suited us. And that sort of landed us at a real place of strength. Everybody is really on board with making it something really special, and it’s been 12 years in the making now.

5280: How would you describe the sound of this album?

This record is really a funk album, and it’s almost retro-funk. You know, we’ve spent the last decade—every Halloween—covering other artists. Most of those shows, we were covering 70s funk groups, and our style was that of 70s funk. This record has a huge amount of that influence going on.

5280: Does the band plan to stay in Denver for the long-term?

We are definitely a Colorado band, even though Jans [lead vocalist] lives in Portland. Everyone moved out here not only to be in the Motet, but to be a part of the scene here. There’s no doubt that Colorado is good to us, and to bands all over the country. We’re not going anywhere. Colorado is home.

5280: Why did you choose to include the song ‘123’—a tribute to Colorado fans—on this album?

Jans came up with the lyrics, and you know, I think he thought it was important to let folks know how much we love this place and how important the support from the fans is—to our growth and to our survival. We’d really be nothing without our fans, and it’s the enthusiasm that keeps us going.

5280: So, what can fans expect for the future of The Motet?

This record has been so eye opening and successful in our own terms of being able to create songs. None of us could have written this on our own, and we learned a lot in the process. You know, I think the world needs more good songs and good material that we can expand upon live, and I’m excited about that process—about writing. Now I think we are going to be timeless and going to be remembered for a song or a melody, as opposed to a great live show. 

—Image courtesy of Jason Charme Photography

Correction 1/28/14: This article originally stated that The Motet is a cover band and that this was their first original album. We regret the error.