Movements: “‘RUCKUS!’ is the furthest out of our comfort zone that we’ve ever gone”

Exploring new territories with defiant abandon, Movements shatter expectations and embrace new influences in their ambitious album ‘RUCKUS!’.

Words: Steven Loftin.
Photo: Anthony Purcella.

Movements aren’t fucking around. Four albums into their career and the California four-piece are tired of the sound they’ve been toting for nearly a decade. On ‘RUCKUS!’, they’re expanding into spaces they’ve never before dared tread, all with glorious abandon. 

There’s the swinging ‘Lead Pipe’, the unapologetically romantic ‘Heaven Sent’, and even a touch of servitude to their old selves ‘I Hope You Choke’. These moments all feel a world away from the band who first delivered angsty melancholy with their aptly titled 2017 debut, ‘Feel Something’. But now, the only thing that matters to Movements is serving their creativity. This is something vocalist Pat Miranda is more defiant of than ever – a standard statement by most band album launches, yes – but ‘RUCKUS!’ backs up their claims by ambitiously envisioning a future Movements can be proud of. 

Hi Pat, how are things going?

I’m feeling really good. I’m really excited for this new era of Movements. I think a lot of people historically have expected a certain sound from us, or a certain feeling or whatever it might be that is typical for a Movements album, but I think ‘RUCKUS!’ is the furthest out of our comfort zone that we’ve ever gone. When it came to writing, we were just like, ‘Nah, fuck that, let’s just write whatever the fuck we want – let’s make something cool’. It’s a very fun and exciting time for this band, for sure. I’m curious to see where it goes.

‘RUCKUS!’ certainly feels like an ambitious step forward. There’s a groove that bounces throughout; what was the starting point for that?

We’re all very inspired by a wide range of different music styles. We have played emo, post-hardcore, whatever you want to call it for the last six-seven years, but we all listen to wildly different things. And that’s not to say that we don’t still listen to the bands that inspired us to begin with, but our music tastes have changed. As we’ve gotten older, we’ve tried to experiment with different realms of where our tastes lie. It’s hard to pinpoint where exactly the grooviness comes from, but we were listening to a lot of The Strokes and The Killers. I was huge on 60s, 70s, and 80s pop-rock classics and that sort of thing. And I was just listening to, like, nonstop oldies for the whole time that we are recording. Hearing those different things, can really affect your headspace for writing your own music. And on top of that, I’m a huge fan of pop music, and a lot of what we’ve written in the past is not very pop oriented, but I wanted to try experimenting with more pop influences on this record. I’m really inspired by artists like Justin Bieber; I think that he is phenomenal – his latest record is one of the best records I’ve ever heard. I love that whole realm of things. Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran, that outlook on how to write music is something that’s very intriguing to me.

“I am a wildly, wildly different person than I was when we started this band”

Pat Miranda

The pop comparison is funny because pop artists can switch lanes, but alt artists are beholden to wherever they began. 

Right? That’s such an important comparison to make. Pop artists change their style all the time. I mean, look at Taylor Swift. Look at where she started to where she is today. She’s bigger than she’s ever been. Artists in pop music have more of that freedom and less of the pigeonhole effect. It’s frustrating to me when people hate on bands like us or other bands in the quote-unquote ‘scene’ for experimenting and going outside of their typical realm of whatever they sound like. I don’t understand why anybody would ever want their favourite band to just sound the same every single time they put out anything – I would get so fucking bored if my favourite band sounded the same on every record. That’s not the way that I will ever be as an artist because the big thing for us is we don’t write music to pander to anybody. This is not for anybody other than us at the end of the day.

Do you remember when you first realised the limitation of the “scene”?

It came with age, but I think I started noticing it on the last record because I think there were a few songs on ‘No Good Left To Give’ that I was in the headspace of I need to make this song sound like this because it needs to be impactful, or it needs to have some sort of deeper meaning or whatever. And I ended up being less happy with how those songs ended up. I still love that record, but at the end of the day, I think that I would have been more happy with them had I stuck to my guns a little bit more. 

That’s another thing, though; some people can make the argument like, ‘Oh, these songs just don’t have the same emotional depth, or they don’t have the same meaning that Movements tracks have always had, and to that, I would just say, if you think that that is true, you just simply aren’t listening to the songs, you’re not paying attention to what the songs are about. My writing style will always be my writing style, lyrically. Sure, many of them are much happier than my typical, but at the end of the day, these songs are still very dense and have a lot of meaning to them.

Does it feel like people forget you change and grow, especially over nearly a decade?

I am a wildly, wildly different person than I was when we started this band. I was fucking 19 years old – I just turned 28 a couple wee ks ago. Looking back to who I was when I was writing the early lyrics to the songs, sometimes I look back and cringe because I’m just like, ‘Man, that person was stupid. That person was so angsty and emotionally immature’. It wasn’t true to who I am as a person. So I think when people expect to hear that same tone out of these songs, it’s off-putting to me because I’m not that person anymore. I fucking I grew up; I’m just not going to ever write like that again. And, if that turns people away, so be it.

Lastly, what’s the statement ‘RUCKUS!’ is making?

It’s very much intentional. I liked that ruckus means a bunch of noise, a bunch of racket like a bunch of shit that doesn’t even sound like anything. When I think about this record as a whole, and I hear all the different sounds and styles and influences and everything all come together into one, it’s really hard to define what this record sounds like. And I felt like ruckus was just the perfect name for that feeling. I also feel like it paid homage to the youthful energy of this record because I think that there is a more childlike fun on this record. It was just the sort of perfect overall feeling or encompassing word for what the record is. ■ 

Taken from the September 2023 edition of Upset. Movements’ album ‘RUCKUS!’ is out 18th August.