While there’s been no shortage of bands doing livestreams and recorded shows over the last 17 months or so due to the pandemic, it’s hard to think of anyone who has gone to quite the lengths as Saint Motel. On Wednesday (August 18), the indie icons will release One Night Only From Macedonia: ‘The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack’ Live With Orchestra.
As one might deduce from the title, the band flew to North Macedonia to perform their latest album, The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, with the help of the Fames Orchestra. It was a bold idea inspired by one of their top collaborators on the album, composer Duke Bojadziev.
“For The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, we had an idea to do film score transitions, so we worked with Duke Bojadziev to do the transitions from song to song in a classic cinematic way,” singer A/J Jackson says. “Duke is actually Macedonian, and he mentioned briefly that he knew an orchestra over there. Three years later, the album’s coming out, and we’re trying to figure out something to do as a celebration. Since it looks like things are opening up again, we wanted to do something that was unique and could only be done as a livestream or on camera. It just made sense to do a performance with the full orchestra — and play the entire album from start to finish with the film score transitions that you only otherwise hear on physical copies of the album.”
Even with touring and in-person concerts back on the table, Jackson had a good enough time with the Macedonian project that he admits he’d “absolutely” be willing to do something like it again. Not only was it a unique experience for the band, but he hopes that fans who have only been able to listen to their third album on streaming services will appreciate hearing the transitions between songs tying the album together for the first time. But for those expecting the tracks themselves to sound more or less the same, that’s not what Saint Motel traveled all the way to North Macedonia to do.
“I was in this room, watching the orchestra in a big circle, and I had to keep reminding myself that I had to be performing as well,” Jackson says. “I just wanted to keep watching them, because it was so magnificent to see these people playing our songs in such a magical way. We never really experienced anything like that before. We wanted the band to be a part of the orchestra instead of just a rock show with some strings on the stage. We wanted it to be in their domain, where they’re comfortable, how they want to sound. We just added in our instruments in the least obstructive way possible.”