In Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2140, America is unrecognizable. New York City is underwater up to midtown. Denver is the new cultural center on the country, and time is measured in units of measurement defined by the destructive power of Hurricane Katrina, the deadliest hurricane in the United States since 1928.
So, what will life be like fifty Hurricane Katrinas in the future?
Inspired by 2140, Motopony’s Daniel blue set out to answer this question with his new album endeavor, Fifty Katrinas From Now.
Fifty isn’t just a two-hour, thirty-five song track. Ultimately more of an art-installation than a music album, Blue not only wrote the songs but also an accompanying science-fiction-future narrative. The narrator lives in the future on an Earth-orbiting space station, and he’s telling the story from a journal he found during one of the last inhabitable days on Earth. He monologues between the songs, which showcase scenes in the grand narrative and move the story along.
Blue’s ultimate goal is to create a sort of all-encompassing coffee-table book for the project. The pages of the book would be mystical prints; each page would display lore, poetry, city diagrams, character descriptions, and the like; and a song would play depending on the page you open to.
“I think the purpose of life is to bring people together, so the original vision is to create something that you want to enter into in the real world with a lot physical elements but also an experience that you could share with your friends, like in the same way that we’re able to sit down and watch Spongebob together,” said Blue. “Spotify and Apple Music, as amazing as they are for the ease of consumer digestion, divide us in a certain sense because everyone’s got their own mix in their own earbuds. I wanted something that was a little bit more an event or that created a place for people to gather.”
In reality, Fifty will most likely (Blue is still working out the kinks) be initially released as a few scenes/singles to garner interest. Then, listeners will be able to subscribe to receive new pages of the project as they come out. Blue said if a book publishing company or movie house comes alongside and wants to fund the project he’d be fully on board, but for now his main goal is just to complete the project with his artistic integrity intact by crowdsourcing through his artistic community.
“2017 was kind of a bear. We tried to put out a song or two last year from this record, and I just was hitting my head against a wall,” said Blue. “I was getting a lot of advice, and there’s so many voices and so many old industry contacts and so many people had opinions on what to do next in my career.
“I was like, I need a vision. I can’t do it like this anymore. I really need to know what this is in an artistic sense — not an industry sense — so I went and I sat in a cabin on the San Juan islands for two weeks by myself and just pretty much lost my mind, but by the end of that, I had a really strong sense of like, it’s time for me to really explore some of the other storytelling gifts and talents that I have….I came back and added like 25 songs to the album. Then it just kept growing and becoming this thing that was really just kind of writing itself under my feet and falling together.”
As far as the actual music goes, tomorrow kicks off Motopony’s tour, which starts with nine Pacfic Northwest dates. Later in the year, they’re playing the Winnetka festival in Chicago, and, in October they head to Europe. Currently comprised of Blue on vocals and guitar, Timothy Robert Graham on guitar, Gabe Molinaro on keyboard, Carl Germain on bass, and Michael Knight on drums, Motopony has been hard at work preparing for this tour for the past year, and the boys are ready to take it on the road.
“My band right now is really solid. They’re trusting me with the art direction side of things,” said Blue. “In the studio, I call the shots. It’s kind of my project, but they’re super on board to tour and be the band and they’re ready to go.”
While Motopony can’t bring all of the set pieces for this album on the road, they’re equipped with more travel-ready pieces like masks and dancers for the shows. Blue said he would love to eventually take over a park or a gallery for a full installation, but, right now, it’s baby steps.
“The people who love it will help us to create it one piece at a time…[this album] is so rich and symbolic and detailed, so there’s a lot of options about how it plays out,” said Blue. “I think it’s my job right now to just make it so I’m hard at work realizing this world that I’ve created.”