“The year before making their breakthrough with a main stage performance at Coachella and the chart topping single “My Type,” Saint Motel had planned to host an event of their own called “saintmotelevision” — a multimedia spectacular of music, dance, comedy, art, and more that was shut down by authorities before it even took place. “That crazy mixture of worlds and ideas is something we’ve always gravitated toward,” says front man A/J Jackson in reflecting on the original saintmotelevision. “We’ve always been fans of strange combinations, and that glorious yet doomed event became a symbol of all that.” So when it came time to create their full-length debut for Elektra, the band reclaimed the name saintmotelevision and, in the end, dreamed up an album as magnificently kaleidoscopic as that mythic party itself.
Lead single “Move” serves as saintmotelevision’s opening track, a psych-rock-tinged dancefloor anthem with a chorus so catchy that — during Saint Motel’s raucous sets at summer festivals like Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo — audience members instantly shouted along despite never having heard the song before. In the lyric video for “Move,” Saint Motel have also unveiled their latest undertaking as a decidedly visually-oriented group: the so-called “virtualizer,” which combines 360° animation and virtual reality technology that allows each viewer a chance to experience the music in a fully immersive manner. The band later added an Augmented Reality update to the App.
Passion for eclecticism has always been at the heart of Saint Motel, a band founded by Jackson and guitarist Aaron Sharp: film-school classmates whose longtime friendship had its roots in a shared appreciation of obscurist cinema and mutually adventurous musical tastes that include everything from Imperial Teen to Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, 2nd Movement. After bringing bass player Dak Lerdamornpong and drummer Greg Erwin into the fold, the band released their debut EP ForPlay in 2009 and began hosting a series of “experiential concerts” with such themes as Zombie Prom and Judgment Day. “We played in half-pipes, semi-trucks, circuses — pretty much anywhere we could,” says Jackson. “We just wanted to do what we could to push ourselves beyond our comfort zone, and give people some kind of big, crazy experience whenever they came to see us.”
Their past tours including support slots for Arctic Monkeys, Panic! at the Disco, Imagine Dragons, Band of Skulls, and Weezer — Saint Motel have discovered a new outlet for their boundary-breaking brand of artistry. Releasing the first ever virtual reality album, and later upgrading it with an Augmented Reality portal, the band strives to offer an even more immersive way to experience what Nylon recently referred to as “a bright, dreamy sound that transports listeners to another time and place.” “There’s essentially a new art form there,” says Jackson of the virtualizer.”