Named after a home-made springed/percussion instrument, the motograter is made from industrial-strength cable, cranks and gears, combining guitar and bass into the ultimate sonic weapon that serves as the cornerstone of the group's pummeling onslaught of sound. The motograter was the brainchild of the Texan fivesome's founder, Grater. "I come from the school where you try and approach the music in a different way," says Grater. "I've always built my own instruments. The industry was so clogged with the stereotypical guitar, bass and drums. We wanted to do something that was not standard. The group, in essence formed around the instrument."
It is the 11 provocative songs from the band's visceral debut album, however, that fuel the fierceness and mystique of Motograter. Lead vocalist and lyric writer, Ghost,
(prefers to be known as the purveyor of ‘verbal abuse, criticisms, and melodic slander') sees no need to explain the vexing mythology of the band that is sure to smack heads and thump hearts, as well. "Words can kill a conversation. You can use the right ones or the wrong ones. I've found putting them to music is the best way to communicate what you want to say."
Motograter delivers on that promise, dicing up rattling-gun bursts of percussion one minute, and searing wasps nests of guitar the next, like on the ominous "Prophecies," or the primal, cut-and-paste caw of "Mutiny." "A song like "Prophecies" runs through all the things humanity has heaped upon ourselves to drive us into the dirt," says Ghost. "We touch on a lot of things there. I actually studied to be a minister when I was younger. I became disillusioned and after exploring facets of other religions I came to the conclusion that the only way to get my word across without being confined to a book or somebody else's rules was through music. It's the best opportunity to talk to the masses."
The band also thrives on a huge respect for ritual, which they explore in pre-concert tribal ceremony before every show. "We are warriors," says Grater. "When we go on stage we're approaching it as warriors. We paint our faces in charcoal and meditate before every show. We call it our warpaint. We've always done it. A show for us is a place where we can get our message across. It's definitely a tribal thing."
The stomach-churning maelstrom of sound created by Motograter on stage is due in large part to the deft playing of the band's other three band members, Smur (drums, screams, samples), Crispy (drums, vocals) and Nuke (guitars, vocals.) "I like to think it all started with the experimental vision, that the band emanated from the motograter," says Grater. "But there's a great human chemistry here. Everyone supplies something unique to this band. You take that element – our fucking live aura – and you combine it with the things we're trying to get across with our lyrics and you understand that we're basically trying to convey the message that a lot of shit is hitting the fan."
Grater points to a song like "New Design" - front-loaded with an almost symphonic preamble - as an example of the kind of dual attack he's referring to. "It sneaks up on you then grabs you by the throat musically and lyrically. It's saying ‘people when are you going to wake up and realize the cycle is just going to repeat itself'. The world is going to continue to deteriorate and there's no unified way to protect ourselves unless people wake up."
Ghost adds that if the band seems to be spreading an apocalyptic vision, don't blame them. "It just seems to be in the air.. Look around. It seems to be an overwhelming topic right now. One of the things we do with the face painting before shows is try to get into the cosmic side of what we're doing. Get into the spirituality of Motograter. It's a meditation for us. Every tribe I've ever read about since the beginning of man has decorated himself before they went to war. And believe me it is literally a war when we get up there."
With a live show that is the cornerstone of Motograter's assault, they point out that the band does indeed have more subtle goals, as well. ‘Ultimately, we want to make people stop for a second and think about what they're doing. To make people aware."
When asked to elaborate he smiles. "It's in the songs. Take ‘Prophecies.' It's speculating about how they just throw shit around out there. It's all part of this whirlwind, like some quilt where everything is woven together to be built up. To get a rise out of the majority of people who they know will just accept it."
And if you don't accept the status-quo? Well, Motograter has a riveting song on the new album that pays homage to one of history's greatest rebels. "The song ‘No Name,' says Ghost. "I got the idea from Mozart. He was buried in an unmarked grave for a time. because he stood up against the politicians of his day. I always figured it illustrated that someone who has the courage to be different is usually condemned. Or buried – like he was – with no name."