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Published: 2014/10/27
by Sam D'Arcangelo

The Motet’s New Halloween Mixtape

The Motet have been throwing down particularly hard on Halloween since 2000, when they first had the idea to spend a night putting their spin on the work of legendary musicians. That year the bearers of Colorado’s groove torch set their sights on The Beatles, sparking a tradition that has since featured tributes to the Grateful Dead, Prince, Sly & The Family Stone, Talking Heads, The Headhunters, Jamiroquai and more. However last year’s Halloween show marked a departure from the original plan, as The Motet paid tribute to the year 1980 instead of honoring one act in particular. That new tradition will continue tonight when the band kicks off its five-show Mixtape 1975 tour, which is set to bring their Halloween show to four different cities over the course of the week. We caught up with singer Jans Ingber to talk about the upcoming Halloween run, the success of the band’s new record, developing a national audience, their upcoming run through the Northeast and more.

You guys have a five night Halloween run in Colorado coming up. The theme for the night is ‘Mixtape 1975.’ What do you mean by that?

I don’t know how much you follow our history, but we’ve been doing these really big Halloween extravaganzas for I think eleven years now and for the first nine years we did just the music of one particular band. We did Tower of Power, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind & Fire, Parliament Funkadelic, Talking Heads, Grateful Dead. We did you know all of these bands and last year we decided, instead of doing bands, that we would start to do years. So we did our first one last year, Mixtape 1980. We got to choose any music we wanted from 1980, and this year it’s 1975.

What is it about that year—1975—that inspired you guys to pay tribute to it?

Part of it is that through writing our own original material this last year and putting out an original funk record. We’re all really attracted to the mid-to-late 70s electro-funk era. So in that electro-funk era, in 1975, there is so much to choose from. It is, as you could say, our jam.

Do you want to give us any hints as to what you guys have planned for that, or is it all going to be a surprise?

Oh there’s so much there. I can tell you some bands—Earth, Wind & Fire. 1975 was still when rock n’ roll was happening, so there’s Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin. Then there’s the start of the disco era, so you know there’s some amazing disco hits that were still really funky from that era.

You’ve got five stops coming up for Mixtape 1975. Are you gonna’ keep it more or less the same each night or do you plan to mix it up a lot between shows?

We have five dates. We do The Vilar in Vail and The Aggie in Fort Collins, then two nights at the Boulder Theatre and then The Ogden. So we have four places in five nights. Because we’re doing two nights at the Boulder Theatre, we have two nights worth of music. So we’re going to mix up those two nights of music through those five days. You can imagine what we’re learning, I think the list was 38 new tunes. There’s a lot of work that goes into something like this and you want to put as much as you can into it, but not obviously over-play it too much so that it sounds lame.

Are you guys trying to keep it to stuff that was more or less funky to begin with or are you going to try to put a funk spin on things that don’t really fall into that category?

Let’s just say that both of those are happening.

How does a rehearsal of something like this go down. Does everybody kind of give their own two cents as to what songs they want to play? Is it a democratic effort?

We start 6 months out for these Halloween deals, and we just start scouring top 100 lists. Top 100 dance hits, Top 100 soul R&B, Billboard Top 100. Then we start looking into bands, what were they doing at that time? What was War doing in 1975? After we do that, everyone does compiling. Then Dave Watts, who is our band-leader and our drummer, compiles kind of a master list that has way too many tunes on it. Then slowly we all put our two cents in, bring other things onto the table, until we have narrowed it out to just the best. The things that we think would work best with our instrumentation and also would be a great dance party Halloween thing.

Do you have any other surprises in store. Maybe some special guests?

For these we definitely have special guests. Our Halloween shows are known for being big band shows, which means three singers, three horns, percussion, and then the full band.

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