Members of the Motet call themselves “avid connoisseurs” of cannabis, so when the chance came to collaborate with a local dispensary, it was an easy match. Partnering with the Clinic dispensary chain, the Denver band's input helped develop Starmatter 303, a new summer strain that's just as loud as the funk-soul band's tunes.
During a recent appearance at the Clinic's Colorado Boulevard location to promote the new strain (and the band's upcoming show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre July 12), trumpet player Parris Fleming said he'd been pushing the idea of the band having its own strain for some time.
“It’s a part of my daily rituals, daily habits. I smoke before I play, before I practice. It kind of puts me into a zone that allows me to focus on whatever I’m doing at the time,” he said. “Whether it’d be [to] focus on doing the dishes, weed just kind of helps me focus on whatever task I’m doing. If I’m practicing or playing a show, it helps me focus on whatever I’m practicing or playing.”
Guitarist Ryan Jalbert said the band's new strain reminded him of a cannabis classic. “It just had all the scents and flavors that we liked,” Jalbert explained. “We love OG Kush and those kind of flavors. We like sativas and indicas, but that one in particular just really stuck with us. And the growers were really excited about it, which goes a long way.”
Cannabis use plays a heavy role in music for the Motet, according to bandmembers. All of them regularly use cannabis, and the plant has been key in creating new sounds and ideas for their material.
“The most important thing is trying to hear things differently. When you spend so much time on your instrument, it’s hard to pick it up and hear something new that could develop into a new song," Jalbert said. "And that’s where herb comes in. It’s pretty helpful, as cannabis just kind of helps shift your perspective on things and refresh your perspective on music.”
Jalbert and Fleming cited several artists who were personally inspirational and also used cannabis, such as George Clinton, Louis Armstrong and (surprisingly) Bing Crosby. Jalbert began incorporating cannabis into his music when he was sixteen, while Fleming started in college.
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“To me, cannabis and music was always hand-in-hand; it always seemed part of the culture,” Jalbert remembered.
But the Motet have the future to focus on, too, whether it be related to music or cannabis — and although that future is a little cloudy, it may have a chance of blunts and new singles. “Maybe if we could get a cigar of our strain, that’d be cool,” Fleming added. “That’s the one thing I can think of right now.”
In the music world, the Motet is touring while working on a new album, and hopes to release singles within the next year. The band also has an upcoming fall, winter and spring tour planned, with stops across the country. Denver is still home, but staying on the move is essential, according to Fleming, who joined the band in early 2018.
“The band has been around for years, so we could just play our old songs,” he said. “Always having new music keeps it fun and exciting if we continue to write and continue to keep moving.”