WORDS: JACK RAMAGE | PHOTOS: GEORGIA RAWSON
Raw emotion: it’s hard to find in music these days. In a whitewash age of mindless music, it’s refreshing to find a track, let alone discography, that pulls at the heartstrings. And when it comes to emotional music – no one wets the sleeve more than Movements. Being signed to Fearless Records after their first show at Chain Reaction (yes… first show), the California quartet have been surfing an ever-growing wave of popularity since 2015, with a universal following.
But more surprising than their phenomenal growth, under such heat Movements have remained humble. “None of us expected that we’d achieve this as quickly as we have seemed to,” said Pat Miranda, lead singer. “When we set out on this journey we were just seeing where we could take it and just played the music we enjoyed. We gave it one last shot to see if this was going to be anything – after a lot of luck and hard work we’ve ended up turning it into something bigger than any of us could’ve expected…We thought going into this we might just be a relatively well known local band – we would’ve been happy selling out a hometown show will all of our friends. Now instead we’re traveling the world, selling out shows in places we’ve never been to. Its awesome, the coolest thing ever.”
“None of us expected that we’d achieve this as quickly as we have seemed to.” – PAT MIRANDA
From high school to high stage – being propelled to the international alternative music limelight hasn’t come easy, Pat explains. “It’s definitely been a learning experience. We were thrown into a world that we were not comfortable with at first, but were still learning. Overall we’ve definitely grown exponentially in this crazy life we’ve chosen to lead.” With the light at the end of the tunnel still far in the distance, the band are hot on the tracks with no signs of stopping. “We’ve blown by our original goal but I still believe there’s a long way to go. This is something we want to do for the rest of our lives, we want to continue it as long as possible.”
And if there’s anything that represents their ability to climb the ranks its their Warped Tour set – and the phenomenal reception they received. After blasting through The States last summer with bands like Trophy Eyes, Boston Manor and Knocked Loose, their spot on Warped Tour was with some even bigger names, and different to their previous year’s experience on the Tour as Pat explained.“Warped Tour 2017 was a lot different for sure – we were on the smaller stage and it was a lot smaller turnouts. We were all on the same stage so we have this community of close friends. This year we jumped up to the mainstage, playing alongside bands like Simple Plan – just really big names so there was a little bit less of that comradery, but it was still amazing. Honestly we couldn’t have asked for anything better it was really great.”
Movements first EP, ‘Outgrown Things’, is lyrically a concoction of Pat’s personal troubles – mental illness, loss of family and the hardships of choosing to be a musician. “With songwriting I put all the issues – the things I don’t necessarily want to talk about – into my music. I use it as therapy, it’s a cathartic experience. Every time I write a new song or a new body of music it helps me get through a certain issue, or it helps me let go.” But it’s more than that, their discography is an autobiography – painting the progression of his life in beautiful but gut-wrenching lyrics.
“Every time I write a new song or a new body of music it helps me get through a certain issue, or it helps me let go.”
Music has a way of conveying what conversation can’t. “Since writing ‘Nineteen’ I’m a lot better, me and my father have a lot of a stronger relationship. I think a lot of that was due to being able to express how I felt through my music and he better understood me because of that.” Pat particularly describes how this communication can be comforting to others – it can travel oceans, borders and can influence, or even save, people’s lives for the better. “Honestly it still hits hard every time someone tells me that. I have heard it somewhat frequently now, which is crazy, I never expected that. I never thought I’d be viewed as a positive impact – I’m just a kid who writes music. At the same time I’m so happy that what we’re doing is helping someone else. I don’t think it will ever become normal – which is good to be honest, I don’t want to become numb to it.”
The track ‘Nineteen’ explicitly highlights his struggles in pursuing music – the path in life he ultimately, and successfully, followed. “I think there’s still a huge stigma around career choices that aren’t normal. I think it’s less than it used to be, amongst our generation we don’t just sit at a meaningless desk – a lot of us do something more. Those ideas are very old fashioned and i didnt want to do any of that.” In a way it can be seen as a deeper message, highlighting that criticism you have to fight to follow what fulfills you – because at the end of the day, happiness is what’s important. “School wasn’t for me, I like doing my own thing and didn’t want to get sucked into the nine to five workforce bullshit. If working at a desk is fulfilling to you that’s cool – whatever career choice you want to do by all means do it. Taking your happiness and doing something that fulfills you is really important.”
Their newest full-length, ‘Feel Something’, takes a different approach – and the title seems to encapsulate it perfectly. It has the primary goal of provoking emotion. “Through struggling with anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses, it’s very easy to come numb to everything. So much of music these days doesn’t really mean anything. The message is mostly along the lines of ‘forget about your pain with parties and drugs’ – no one actually lives like that, everyone’s dealing with something. It’s better to express yourself, talk about being sad if you’re sad and talk about being angry if you’re angry – it’s better to have some kind of emotional depth. The idea behind ‘Feel Something’ was to stop feeling numb and to feel something.”
“The idea behind ‘Feel Something’ was to stop feeling numb and to feel something.”
Out of the selection found on ‘Feel Something’, there’s no other more grittily moving than the song ‘Full Circle’ which portrays the highs and lows of the harsh reality mental illness. “My depression is a cycle, it’s always up and down. It’s always going to be like that. A thing that helps me cope when I’m at the lowest is knowing that I’m going to be back on top again – through hard work or even time – eventually, it will get better. Sometimes it’s hard to think that way but I’ve started to understand the cycle better. “
Sheer honesty: it’s the hallmark of the band’s ethos and what sets the critically acclaimed release ‘Feel Something’ far apart from other competing albums. “There’s no room for dancing around important things like mental health. To talk about it openly is the first step of healing, it’s really important, to be frank and honest and talk about things you need to.” The 43 minute journey is a moving portrayal of Pat’s fight against his inner demons, from start to finish. “I’ve never wanted to fabricate scenarios just for the sake of my music, I’ve always wanted to talk about things that are deeply personal to my life – I don’t try and exaggerate just for the sake of the song being impactful. I speak from the heart and the best music is that way, it makes for quality song writing.”
With this being said, the all thriller no filler album hasn’t come easy. The beautifully produced album, with intricate instrumentation and powerful lyrics, is a product of labour – and it shows. “We spent days figuring out the best possible tracklist so I would love it if people listened to it in order because it creates a story. We went into the recording process of ‘Feel Something’ with 20 different song ideas, some written, some just ideas, some halfway fleshed out – just all different states of being done. We took a while narrowing down which ones are the most impactful. I’d like to think there are no tracks on that album that would be considered fillers. Every single one of those songs mean something to us. We want to put out quality not quantity.”
“In the end we’re all artists and we want to show what we can do with art…”
The quartets creative aspiration doesn’t end at the microphone either – adopting on a do-it-yourself ethos, the band remain in control of all creative aspects of their work. “We all have an equal hand in the creative aspect of the band – we made our own videos and merch until we didn’t have the time anymore to do it. We want to enjoy every creative aspect too – it’s great we have a say in the creative direction of the band. In the end we’re all artists and we want to show what we can do with art in general.”
Impressively, the band have also directed the album artwork of both releases. With ‘Outgrown Things’ personifying the idea of, you guessed it, outgrowing things. “We came up with the idea of halloween, trick or treating – that kind of thing. This out of all the concepts we thought of was the strongest.” Likewise, ‘Feel Something’ worked upon personifying emotions in a photograph, emotions being an abstract and subjective concept – they worked on illustrating this as a non-static element. “I liked the idea of Hannah on the cover being abstract and blurry – just like emotions. We also did not want any graphic design elements – just a photograph, not post processing – so we came up with the sign idea with making a sign out of things from our local craft store.”
“We just played shows in Thailand, Singapore and The Philippines,” Pat enthused, in awe. “Countries where English is not the first language, but these kids go so hard and dedicate themselves to learning the lyrics even if they dont speak that language – I think thats the coolest shit ever. I would absolutely say music is universal.” Love them or hate them, you have to respect how a group of Californian teens have gained enough traction to shake the twenty first century emo scene to the bone – and in what seems like a blink of the eye too. They are a shining example of how music, and emotions, are a universal language.