Tacoma’s great pop hope preps for the big time and maybe a big move.
Photograph by Andrew Waits for City Arts.
When Daniel Blue started Motopony more than two years ago, the musical project was just the latest in a series of creative endeavors for one of Tacoma’s most active young artists. As the recent reception of the band’s self-titled debut attests, though, Blue might very well ride Motopony to far greater heights than he has managed to reach with any of his other fashion, design, blogging and musical ventures.
Since the release of the record late last year, Motopony, now a four-piece band, has received regular airplay on KEXP’s Morning Show with John Richards. The program, which airs in both Seattle and New York City and boasts an enormous online audience, almost guarantees a much larger national audience for the band’s soulful pop.
On a Tuesday evening in early February, Blue took the bus to Seattle, where the three other members live, to practice. There, in the littered basement of keyboardist Buddy Ross’s house, the band rehearsed for an upcoming in-studio performance at KEXP. Standing out was a gritty, grinding, raved-up version of “Seer,” with Blue intoning – with a slight twang – “I am a seer, baby, I am a believer, my name is written in the clouds.”
Following the performance, Blue addressed recent rumors surrounding his possible departure from Tacoma, a community that has both aided and benefited from his talents.
“I’ve been thinking about it,” he said. “I just don’t know how far I can go in Tacoma anymore. Seattle feels like a better place for me to be. It’s a better place for the band.”
Asked if he was truly serious, Blue was beaten to the punch by Ross. “We’ve all been trying to convince him,” he said. “He spent this afternoon looking at apartments.” •