The band Saint Motel takes inspiration from the mid century, including Mid Century Modern architecture. In fact, lead singer A/J Jackson created an album in a 1952 post and beam house tucked into the foothills of the San Gabriel mountain range. Featuring glass walls, an open floor plan, spacious patio and pool, the home is a striking example of the mid century’s desire to incorporate modern architecture even in rustic settings. The home is beautiful, unique and offers the perfect setting for introspection and creativity. In short, it was the perfect place for A/J Jackson to write an album.
Jackson explains, “I rented this small home to have a place to write and leave it behind at night. Some times when you live and sleep where you work it can have a strange impact. This house was a serene, inspiring location that I feel shaped a lot of this album.”
Good Things Come in Threes
Saint Motel’s third studio album, The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, was released in June of 2021. However, the first five songs were originally released an an EP (The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Part 1) back in 2019. Although always intended to be released in three parts (mirroring the three-act structure of films), with the unexpected emergence of a global pandemic, the project ended up taking three years.
Jackson explains, “We figured this would all be out within about one year. The pandemic threw us a curveball. But in some small way it actually seemed to model the album. Part 1 of the movie is always the innocent, status quo, get to know your characters and their world before the conflict. That really was 2019. Part 2 of the movie is full of challenges, conflict, danger which couldn’t be more 2020. And then Part 3 is hopefully the triumph over adversity where we defeat the villain, or solve the puzzle or whatever it happens to be. 2021 definitely started out that way, at least!”
That Old Hollywood Style
The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack features several songs and corresponding music videos that take inspiration from the cinematic styles of the 50’s and 60’s. For Jackson, a musician and filmmaker, the connection is personal. “Visually speaking, the Golden Age of Hollywood has a glamour and grandiosity to it that is very inspiring. It also has a nostalgic impact on me through my grandparents. Especially my grandma, who worked during the Golden Age Hollywood back in the 40s, where her brother was head of publicity for MGM.”
An Outside-of-the-Box Concert
With live, in-person performances being put on indefinite pause, promoting an album is a tricky task and forced the band to consider out-of-the box ideas. “The pandemic has impacted the release schedule but also how we celebrate the release. Normally with a tour, an album release show, in person press, etc. But the world being what it is forced us to think differently, and I’m not sure we would have done a live stream with a full orchestra if it wasn’t for that.”
A one-night only livestream was broadcast on August 18th, featuring film score transitions between songs composed by Duke Bojadziev and backed by the Fames Orchestra of North Macedonia. The event was a smashing success with viewers able to enjoy the unique concert remotely. It was the first time the album was able to be performed in this way all the way through.
Saint Motel + the New Mid Century
The mid century was a time for re-invention, re-evaluation and exploration. After the devastation of WWII, there was a great drive to celebrate the resiliency of the human spirit and how the act of artistic collaboration could build a better way of life. As the world seeks healing from the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, one hopes we can channel some of that creative drive. Listening to The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Saint Motel, an album born out of difficulty but awash with adaptable and durable optimism, is a great place to start.
For more mid century listening, either vintage or mid century-inspired like Saint Motel, try these Essential Retro Holiday Albums or try these Contemporary Musical Artists that Feature Throwback Sounds.