Singer, songwriter, writer and artist, Daniel Blue is the creative force behind Motopony. His haunting vocal delivery carries poignant lyrics that float beside their melodies. I halted in my tracks while crossing the parking lot between stages at last year’s DeLuna Fest and joined their sizable afternoon crowd. Founded in 2008, they recorded their self-titled album in 2009. It features their track “King of Diamonds,” but also the subdued melody and ticking clocks of “Euphoria” and hypnotic “God Damn Girl.” They shortly hit the road for a stream of tours and festivals, and return to Pensacola this fall. Their simplicity is intriguing. As they continue their travels, Daniel Blue comments on creating, music and inspiration.
IN: What brought you to Washington state?
BLUE: When I was 12, my mother sat my sister and I down at the foot of her giant waterbed and asked me if I wanted to stay in Colorado or move to Washington to be with her family. I voted for Washington because my sole experience of it consisted of vacations in the summer forests running around like wild things with my pack of cousins, beating old cedar stumps with sticks and mud bombs. And this is exactly what happened. I was raised by tree people from that day forward.
IN: How did the Tacoma, Wash. and Seattle music scenes influence your work?
BLUE: I shakily held a commercial lease on a warehouse in Tacoma for a few years. We held illegal concerts, but the space was in a crack alley next to the homeless shelter, so no one stopped us. It was absolutely DIY. Lights, sound, camera, action. We did everything and piecemealed gear and rigs together out of the trash that we could get our grubby hands on. The scene in Tacoma during those years was a PNW attempt at the Velvet Underground wrestling the Kinks in heat at a sock-hop. Some of the most talented people I know are still in Tacoma trying to make it the next Brooklyn-artist enclave. I will probably move back there when I am old and too senile to remember how mad I am at my arch nemesis. IN: When did you start writing? BLUE: My mother would tell you that I came out of the womb with a crayon in my fat little left paw.
IN: What compels you to create?
BLUE: The creator. I was created to create. I have a choice. But everything goes better when I love and I am creative. It is simple and easy. It is my joy.
IN: Do you still paint?
BLUE: It’s been a while. Mostly I draw. IN: What do you enjoy about performing live? BLUE: Leaving my body, only to come back to it whilst I lay prostrate screaming into a mic wrapped around my neck half extended over the audience balanced on a monitor like an insect somehow sticks its feet to the wall. Being possessed.
IN: What’s the story behind “God Damn Girl?”
BLUE: I went for a walk with a friend who grew up pretty hard. She told me of her wounds, her scars and how she had healed from them so far. I felt so humanized by her story … the simple truth of a life. Things most people hide. I went home and wrote the whole song in one sitting. Fifteen minutes max. It doesn’t often happen that way, but she put me in touch with something truly magical by being unashamed of her damaged past.
IN: What do you hope to convey to listeners through your work?
BLUE: These three remain: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love.
IN: What art and music have inspired you lately?
BLUE: Moonrise Kingdom, Lemolo, Michelangelo, music theory (new to me), the new Sherlock Holmes movie, Arietty (Studio Ghibli), Game of Thrones, Jack London’s The Sea Wolf, Burt Jenche, my friend Brandon Waterman.
2:45-3:30 p.m., Saturday, WindCreek Stage