By Matt Mattei - [email protected]

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metalcore/goth rockers Motionless In White nominated for Alternative Press Music Awards, considering new record labels

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Motionless in White from left: Olsen, Sola, Cerulli, Sitkowski, Balz.
Submitted photos
Chris “Motionless” Cerulli is a founding member and lead singer/screamer of Motionless In White.
Weekender archive photo
From left: Balz, Cerulli and Olsen during a live performance.
Weekender archive photo
Bass player Devin “Ghost” Sola on stage.
Weekender archive photo
Keyboard player Josh Balz said the band still feels like they did when they played for hundreds of people rather than tens of thousands.
Submitted photos

The metalcore/goth freight train that is Motionless In White is moving full steam ahead.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre based five piece, Chris Cerulli, Josh Balz, Ricky Olson, Ryan Sitkowski and Devin Sola, is nominated for two Alternative Press Music Awards, eyeing a new record deal and contemplating getting new music to their fans by the end of 2016.

The APMAs award artists across the gamut of alternative music, touching on every genre from pop punk to alternative rock to hardcore and metal. Motionless In White is up for two awards this year, Best Live Band and Artist of the Year, battling it out among industry successes like Slipknot, Twenty One Pilots and Panic! At The Disco.

Keyboard player and Shavertown resident Balz said the nominations are humbling.

“Still to this day, we don’t think we’re a big band,” Balz said. “We went from a van to a bus to flying to shows to playing to tens of thousands of people, but tens of thousands of people versus a couple hundred people still feels the same in the grand scheme of things.”

Balz said nominations are bittersweet for the band, because they have yet to win an award.

“We’re always the underdog in that sort of situation,” Balz said. “I always say ‘we’re the Leonardo DiCarprio of any of our awards shows.’ Hopefully, we win.”

While still hoping for that first awards show victory, Motionless In White saw marked levels of success in touring and recording. After releasing the well-received album Reincarnate in 2014, the band has toured relentlessly including recent stints in the United Kingdom and on the Key West music cruise Axes & Anchors alongside Breaking Benjamin.

“We just went on tour with Slipknot,” Balz said. “We’ve done festivals with bands like Muse, who’s not even in our genre. We went from covering a Rob Zombie song seven years ago to being on stage and playing a song with Rob Zombie. It’s crazy when you think about it. We’re from here. I shop down at Weiss.”

Balz said he is constantly amazed by the loyalty of fans.

“We have, honestly, the best core fan base,” Balz said. “We have people camp out for us. I’ll got out to them and say, ‘What are you doing? It’s so cold out here.’”

Balz said fan loyalty can be traced through the evolution of the band’s sound. According to the keyboard player, the release of 2010’s Creatures was a success and made the band a hot topic, but the experimental stylings of 2012’s Infamous were lost on some listeners.

“When we did Reincarnate, it was what we wanted,” Balz said. “It was very organic, and the fans understood that. They get where we’re going. They’re growing with us.”

One faction of their die-hard fan base is still rooted in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Balz said. It is not uncommon for Motionless in White to play far from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and see homegrown fans in the front row.

“They’re like, ‘I’m from Scranton,’” Balz said with a look of disbelief. “And I’m like, ‘No way … We’re coming back, you know.’”

Balz said the band prefers operating out of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

“We pride ourselves on being a part of this area,” he said.

As the group garners more support and gains recognition, they are poised to sign a new record contract. Having left the Fearless label, Balz said the band is looking for someone who wants to take care of them.

“When we went to Fearless, they were all super nice, but they didn’t know what to do with a band like us,” Balz said. “It was more of a left-sided compromise. Not creatively, but marketing-wise, they pushed some ways we didn’t want to go.”

Although Balz couldn’t talk specifics, he did say the band had several offers and they’re in the process of choosing the right fit.

“It should be soon-ish,” Balz said. “Whoever we pick, it’s going to be beneficial for us on a comfort level. It’s not necessarily about money. It’s not even about major labels or independent labels. It’s about who understands what we want to do and how we want to do it.”

Although there is no definitive date, Balz said the band is working toward a new record.

“I spent a little time in the studio,” Balz said. “We all do our separate things and send them to Chris. I know we were leaning more toward later in the year. I don’t know exactly yet, but it’s getting there.”

Now that the band has found their sound, Balz said, fans can expect them to grow within that vein.

“I think we found what we were looking for in Reincarnate,” Balz said. “Every song, start to finish is, to me, great. It has that nice blend of everything, and every song still sounds like Motionless In White. So we’re definitely going to stay that route … just bigger and better.”

A lineup announcement from the 2016 Vans Warped Tour has confirmed Motionless In White to be among featured acts, and the Pavilion at Montage Mountain in Scranton is once again a stop on the tour. Balz said touring won’t stop there.

“Once a record comes out, we usually tour a year to two years straight,” Balz said. “I don’t think it’s going to stop after this one.”

Local metalcore group nominated for Alternative Press Music Awards, wooed by record labels

By Matt Mattei

[email protected]

Motionless in White from left: Olsen, Sola, Cerulli, Sitkowski, Balz.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_MIW2.CMYK_-3.jpgMotionless in White from left: Olsen, Sola, Cerulli, Sitkowski, Balz. Submitted photos

Chris “Motionless” Cerulli is a founding member and lead singer/screamer of Motionless In White.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_Cerulli.CMYK_-3.jpgChris “Motionless” Cerulli is a founding member and lead singer/screamer of Motionless In White. Weekender archive photo

From left: Balz, Cerulli and Olsen during a live performance.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_MIWLive.CMYK_-3.jpgFrom left: Balz, Cerulli and Olsen during a live performance. Weekender archive photo

Bass player Devin “Ghost” Sola on stage.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_Sola.CMYK_-3.jpgBass player Devin “Ghost” Sola on stage. Weekender archive photo

Keyboard player Josh Balz said the band still feels like they did when they played for hundreds of people rather than tens of thousands.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_MIW4.CMYK_-3.jpgKeyboard player Josh Balz said the band still feels like they did when they played for hundreds of people rather than tens of thousands. Submitted photos
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Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or [email protected]