Interview with Motel Radio's Ian Wellman and a hot summer playlist
Motel Radio is signed with New Orleans’ Simply Play Presents, whom also represents acts such as Big Freedia, Tank and the Bangas, Alfred Banks, and Andrew Duhon.
So, Ian — why New Orleans?
It was our last semester of college in Baton Rouge when Eric, Winston and I decided to move in together and start writing more. We thought the songs had potential and none of us were in a rush to hop into the workforce, but we didn’t want to stay in Baton Rouge either. NOLA is one of the most unique, eclectic places in the country and it’s just a stone’s throw from BR. It was a no brainer. So much inspiration in this city. Now it’s home.
When did y’all realize you wanted to go all in with music and what was that like?
When we moved in together, Winston, Eric and I realized we had a really good chemistry together both with our instruments and vocal harmonies. I think it was mostly a “now or never” type of mindset. Like let’s try this thing out and see where it takes us. Ride the wave until it breaks. We made the pilgrimage to NOLA and brought Andrew and Dave on board. It hasn’t always been the most comfortable route, we’ve all had to make sacrifices. But we’re having a blast on the road and just playing with each other. It’s what we all want to do the most.
How do you think that New Orleans shapes your music?
The musical spectrum down here seems to go on forever. There’s obviously a rich history of music in this city. I think a lot of the influences take hold of your subconscious before you realize there are elements of it in your music. It’s not always immediately apparent. I’ve always liked listening to the street performers play old delta blues stuff and I keep WWOZ on in my car. It’s not just the music that influences, though, it’s the rainbow of people and buildings and lifestyles. You see something new every day.
What can we look out for next?
On the immediate horizon, we have a live video dropping for our song “Star of the South” off of Desert Surf Films. It’s not like every other live video though, we worked with the director to make it feel more like a music video. We did it all in one shot, too, which I think is the coolest part about it.
Other than that, we are headed west to play shows in June and July and taking a nice long break after that to sit down and finish some songs. The plan is to record a full-length in the Fall that we can release early next year. Then it’s back to the road, baby.
After our interview, we had Ian make a playlist of songs he’s been listening to – which are sure to get you in a sunny, groovy mood.
Originally published on the DNO Journal
Words and Photography by Michael Tucker