Motive Black

Los Angeles-based MOTIVE BLACK is the modern metal brainchild of vocalist Elana Justin, a project that has been a long time coming. Graduating from the bar band circuit in New York, Elana seized the opportunity to move to Los Angeles in 2018 to work on new music. A stranger in a strange land, she found herself immersed in the local scene and performing on open mic nights at the iconic Viper Room. The LA music community welcomed her, connections and friends were made, which eventually led to a collaboration with Grammy winning guitarist / producer Nick Rowe (Bloodsimple, Vampire Weekend). The duo reworked a song from Elana's former New York band, taking the music in a heavier direction, and MOTIVE BLACK was born.

Drum tracks for the songs that comprise MOTIVE BLACK's debut album were recorded by Korn / KXM drummer Ray Luzier at the legendary NRG studios in North Hollywood, with the rest of the music completed at Nick's home studio. The album was mixed by Josh Wilbur, known for his work with Lamb Of God, Korn and Papa Roach.

"The whole thing was very intimate," says Elana. "I was screaming these songs half a foot away from Nick sitting at his desk. I do most of my venting through music. I'm not an aggressive person but my music is very to the core; everything goes into it. It's definitely a collaboration with Nick. We feed off each other and we've created some really cool music. 'Cellophane', for example, is by far the heaviest song I've done. I don't usually sing like that but Nick comes from a heavy background and the song is really aggressive, so it needed those vocals."

Elana's musical influences aren't directly associated with the MOTIVE BLACK sound, but they provided a solid foundation for the music to flourish. She cites Joan Jett, Alanis Morissette, and Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell in particular as vocal inspirations, with bands like Halestorm pushing MOTIVE BLACK's music in the direction it has taken. First single "Broken" - featuring P.O.D. guitarist Marcos Curiel - is a prime example in that it's loaded with melody, emotion and aggression yet remains accessible to a wide audience. 

"'Broken' is a song that came together when we were taking a break from writing the song we were actually working on," says Elana. "I get to go on a little journey singing it, which is always fun. The idea behind the song is about breaking down walls. It's a song based on truth. It's about being afraid to take risks because you work so hard to protect yourself. I think a lot of people can relate to that."

For the future, Elana's goal is to turn MOTIVE BLACK into a full band, both in the interest of touring and future work on new music as they move forward. In the meantime, she is set to unleash no less than four singles from MOTIVE BLACK between May 2021 and January 2022, all of them with rock solid staying power.

"It's interesting to be signed," says Elana says of joining the AFM Records family. "I don't have a following because MOTIVE BLACK is a brand new project, so the music must have spoken to someone at the label. Hopefully that sort of interest will pull me through."

The full MOTIVE BLACK debut album will be released in early 2022.

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