Los Angeles-based alt-rock/hard rock outfit Motive Black recently released the music video, “Broken,” an appetizer from Motive Black’s forthcoming debut EP.
The genesis of Motive Black began in 2018 when frontwoman Elena Justin moved from New York to SoCal, seeking a new perspective on life and art. Connecting with Grammy-winning producer Nick Rowe, the two began writing material for the band’s debut EP, songs inspired by life’s adversities and the resilience to push them aside and live again.
The lyrics to “Broken” narrate Elena’s inner emotions – feeling lost and misunderstood, an articulate cry of desolation.
“I guess I’m just a little broken / You know that I was hoping / That you could break me wide open / And make me feel alive / Yeah I’m a little broken / So many words unspoken.”
The video, directed by Dale “Rage” Resteghini, depicts Elena in a straitjacket, muzzled by a mask saturated in chains. After being placed in a chamber in an institution illumined by garish hues of red and orange, the visual shift to the band performing in a shadowy room.
Elena’s electrifying vocals infuse the song with raw, ferocious timbres and searing emotions. It’s a voice bristling with a dynamic punch and scorching tones.
XS Noize spoke with Elena Justin to determine what inspired “Broken,” the origin of the name Motive Black, and what the future holds for Motive Black.
What inspired your new single/music video, “Broken?”
‘Broken’ was inspired by a huge life change that I experienced. I found that I was not taking opportunities and sheltering myself from certain experiences because I was scared of getting hurt or exposed. I found a way to move past that and break down walls that I had built. I opened myself back up, and that journey inspired the song.
How and when did Motive Black come to get together?
Motive black is still growing into itself. I came out to Los Angeles with a lot of ideas on a new direction that I wanted my music to take. I linked up with Nick Rowe, who is my producer and writing partner on this upcoming record. We played off each other, and Motive Black was born.
Who is in Motive Black, and which instruments do they play?
We have had a rotating assortment of really amazing musicians on this record. Nick played a lot on the album, but we also had Ray Luzier on drums for a few songs and Marcos Curiel on guitar. I have been working with some great musicians out here in LA to perform live shows. I’m excited for them to put a bit of their own spin on the music.
What’s the story behind the name Motive Black?
We had a lot of trouble coming up with a name for this project. David Buckner from Papa Roach actually came up with the name, and it fit perfectly. It really paired well with the music and vibe.
Did your sound develop naturally over time, or did you push it deliberately in a specific direction?
I think the music both developed naturally and was pushed a little in a certain direction. I’ve always listened to and been a fan of this genre, and when the opportunity arose to create my own new project, I was definitely excited to really delve deep into the music I love.
What got you into music?
I’ve always been into music. I grew up doing musical theatre and singing hard rock and metal simultaneously. My dad had a nightclub growing up, and on Thursday’s they would have singer-songwriter night. I think watching and listening to everyone during that time really inspired me to want to be a singer/performer.
Which artists, in your opinion, are killing it right now?
I think a lot of artists are really killing it right now. I’m a huge Halestorm fan; Lizzy Hale is a huge inspiration. I’m also really into Bring Me The Horizon lately. I really love their creativity. Rival Sons was the last live show I saw before Covid. They were incredible. The vocals and musicianship left a huge impression on me.
If you could date any musician or celebrity, who would it be and why?
I would have to say, Joan Jett. She oozes sex and power. She so inspires me, and just being around her would expand my consciousness.
What inspires your writing? Do you draw inspiration from poems, music, TV, or other media?
I read a lot. I find that when I stop reading, my creativity really suffers. I love poetry and short stories. I’m also really inspired by films and plays. I really enjoy and feed off good storytelling.
What can your fans expect over the next six months? New material? Live gigs?
I’m so excited for the next few months. We have a ton of music ready to come out, and I can’t wait to share it. The record is almost complete! Our next step is to tour and get everything out there on stage. I think the next six months will be an exciting whirlwind. I’ve been working on this music for a long time, so I’m bursting to get it out.
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