By April 6, 2011 Read More →

Stop Motion Poetry’s Focus on Songwriting Pays Off

In some ways, indie pop bands have it pretty good in the modern music business. There are now more outlets than ever for catchy music, frompodcasts and blogs to car advertisement soundtracks.

But all those opportunities also present a new challenge for bands hoping to get attention from fans: when there’s so much music playing all the time, how do you ensure that your songs stand out?

For Modesto’s Stop Motion Poetry, the answer lies in a dedication to songwriting.

“I think the amount of time we spend writing a song shows through and makes the songs have a little bit more longevity,” said Clark Beggs, the band’s keyboardist and lead singer. “We don’t write our songs with an end goal of radio play. We have a really, really, specific vision in our minds of what a good song is and we aim for that. If one of us isn’t feeling a tune we either tweak it until we all love it, or we can it.”

That vision can be heard on Stop Motion Poetry’s latest EP, “Jump Right In,” released in February, as well as on the infectious piano-driven single “All My Tomorrows.” The video for the single has garnered more than 11,000 views on YouTube and gushing comments from fans like “I can’t stop watching this video. It’s epic.”

“Jump Right In” was produced by Mikal Blue, who also has collaborated with Augustana and Colbie Caillat, among others. Beggs recently answered some questions via email about working with Blue as well as the “All My Tomorrows” video and Stop Motion Poetry’s plans for this month.

Q: Stop Motion Poetry’s been busy in the last few months. Give me a quick overview of what you’ve been up to.
Clark Beggs: We’ve been writing a lot. We’ve done co-writes withMikal Blue, Andrew Williams (Five For Fighting), Justin Knox (Frank & Derol, Sarah Kelly), and most recently Jeff Cohen (The Spin Doctors, Mat Kearney). We’re also playing out a bit more this year and have been playing in the Bay, Sacramento, and LA. Also just released our EP “Jump Right In,” it is eight tracks all produced by Mikal Blue and will be available at show and soon iTunes.

Q: Let’s talk about the EP. What do you hope your fans hear whenthey give it a listen?
CB: We hope fans will hear some tunes that offer the polish of radio tunes but a little more on the indie side as far as melodies and chords, etc. Times are tough and there are some encouraging songs on this EP that hopefully will help folks realize there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Q: What was it like working with Mikal Blue? How did your band get connected with him?
CB: It has been great working with Mikal for the past few years.He’s a wizard at ProTools and makes recording feel so organic. We quickly forget that the technology is even there. He really helps the band feel comfortable and at home in the studio. We sent him some demos a few years back and he saw potential and has been developing us ever since.

Q: The video for “All My Tomorrows” is great. What was the video shoot like, and where did the idea for the treatment come from?
CB: The shoot was great and kind of surprising to us. We showed up and there was a full staff of more than 20 people handling every little aspect from make-up to set dressing, etc. All were volunteers from Azusa Pacific University. The actual filming was pretty intense in a good way, we played our song over and over for 12 hours two days in a row. It really helped us get more comfortable with performance and being in front of a camera. The idea for the video is 100 percent from the minds of Cale Erickson and Jesse Doland. Our philosophy from the get go was to trust them in their domain (film) and we kind of gave them free reign. We were blown away by the final product!

Q: Tell me a little bit about the band’s background in Modesto and how you got to where you are today.
CB: We got started a few years back as The Evening News and eventually after several line-up changes it was just me so I eventually added my brothers Devin Beggs on bass and Spencer Beggs on drums. The most recentaddition is Cory Thompson on guitar. We’re all really excited about the current line-up and all have a joint vision. We also write as band now which is really satisfying.

Q: What’s next for the band?
CB: We’ve have plans to record another four or five songs with Mikal Blue and then we’re going to start putting it out to industry people. We’ll be playing a lot more around the west coast and we have plans to set out and tour by mid- to late-summer.

Q: Where can fans next see you live, and where can they find outmore information about Stop Motion Poetry?
CB: Right now for April we have shows in San Diego, Santa Cruz and will likely be adding some in the Bay, as well as LA. We’ll be back for a big Modesto show in mid- to late-May.

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