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Jans Ingber On Leaving The Motet And His Future In Music

Earlier this week, The Motet frontman Jans Ingber made the shocking announcement that he would be leaving the band following their two-night New Year’s Eve run. A founding member and integral part of the band’s exciting live performances, Ingber cited a number of personal reasons for leaving the band in his open letter to Motet fans everywhere.

Our own Rex Thomson sat down with Ingber for his first exclusive interview after the big announcement. In the interview, Ingber talks about what lies ahead…

L4LM:  So, let’s get to it.  What’s the story?

JI:  Really, in a nut shell, what happened is that our band is enjoying the greatest success and momentum we’ve ever experienced. And, it’s been an amazing ride, we’ve been getting so many more offers… more shows… more travel… more recording opportunities, more everything. We have a huge dedicated fan base that loves us and is growing every day.

This summer, basically from May until the second week of November, we had maybe three weekends off, all away from home.  I got a taste of what it would be like, at this point in my life, to be a member of a band that was pushing this hard. It wasn’t just travelling to perform, we’ve been recording a new album, too.

What I found out was, as far as the balance of my life goes… it was too much for me. I started to feel out of balance physically – with my overall health and voice, mentally – feeling more anxiety which led to loss of sleep, emotionally – with the highs and lows of this road life and spiritually – places where I was filled started to lose their shine.  It became clear that the focus on all the band related things, was out of balance with all of the other aspects of my life.

L4LM:  You have a family at home, waiting. This is at least partly due to wanting to be with them, right?

JI:  Oh, absolutely.  For me, balance is how I want to show up in all facets of my life. Whether, it’s being the singer I want to be, the friend, the bandmate, father, husband, or community member. I have three children,  my oldest is twelve, my youngest is seven.  And those are really prime ages for me to show up as a Dad.  What I found was, as the success came, the demand for my time and attention came and I had sacrificed my attention at home to fill the growing needs of the band.

As our success increased in these last few years, the band has been raring to put more energy into it; to focus more time and to do more gigs.  And I was kinda the one pulling back on the reins.  After a while I thought “I don’t wanna keep these guys from achieving their hopes and dreams with this band.”

L4LM:  Did you get a sense that they knew it was coming, from your reluctance at times?

JI:  I’m not totally sure.  I was very involved in the business and very involved in every aspect of the band. So my voice on musical matters, on business matters, tour planning, art, ext.. were heard. While I was doing it, I was in close contact with management and the band.

So, as the timing may have come as a surprise, I think they all could empathize… my bandmates knew that this kind of touring life wasn’t the life that I was wanting.

L4LM: Sounds like a valid reason to me.  You said you were done being a “Full time touring member of the band.” Are you leaving the door open to occasionally appear with the band live and possibly on future releases?

JI:  I certainly would love to continue to keep making music with the Motet boys for all those wonderful fans, and also keep balance in my life.  That being said, when I walk away, I give up my vote, my opinion of how things should go. I would love to play occasionally. I love them. I love that world, but it’s up to them.

They get to keep evolving, and create an identity that makes sense without me around.  To explore where THEY wanna go musically, and that could be including me in the future, or not. It’s really up to them, and that’s the way it should be.

L4LM:  So you still have your back stage laminate?

JI:  Of course I still have it.  Those guys are truly my friends. Long time homies and collaborators. This is a life change on my part.  I am getting clear about what I want in my life, and I’m walking towards it, straight up.

L4LM: When you made the announcement, you and the Motet both released statements.  Besides a lot of sad fans, there was also a lot of love directed your way.  That must have been gratifying. 

JI: I spent that whole day answering every message, every comment, every call that came in. It was a lot.  It was so much more than I ever thought or anticipated. It is very emotional for me, truly. I feel very loved, encouraged and supported.

L4LM:  Are you getting ready for the bittersweet feeling, seeing your Facebook feed filling up with talk about Motet shows you’re not in?

JI:  I honestly made this decision with clarity, knowing very well that these guys are going for gold.  And I am the biggest Motet cheerleader out there.  I WANT these guys to succeed, and take this to the next level.  They deserve it…they’ve earned it.  

L4LM: Watch what you say.  Some enterprising fan will make you an official “Motet Cheerleader” outfit.

JI: (Chuckles) They’ll do what they gotta do.  If you know me at all, you know I have no problem getting my freak on.

L4LM:  It sounds like this big decision came from the best possible place.  A lot of folks are sad, but you seem to be looking towards the future brightly.  Is that the case?

JI:  The important thing for me here is to be in line with my own integrity. I want to be there for my family, and, with me being gone as much as I was, I wasn’t being the parent or husband I wanted to be. And because of that compromise, I struggled with my health for the last the eight months. And it’s not just my music and my family. It’s also important to me to be out in nature, to go camping and enjoy the quiet.

I want to spend time with my close friends, grow delicious food, craft and build with my hands. I want to write and play emotionally authentic music in more intimate atmospheres. I have also been lucky enough to train doing personal development work at Wings Enterprises, in Eugene, Oregon. They do profound work, and I just love it.  Soulful, human work. I wanna feed my soul in other areas. I’m sure most people can dig that.

L4LM:  So all that travel really does wear you folks down?

JI:  Well, I really matters HOW you’re doing it. There are many ways to be healthy and balanced on the road. And, there were weekends where we had, literally, eight flights and most of those days had minimal sleep. It can be tough. Especially if you’re singing in a funk band trying to recover from some kinda sickness.

To me it’s about balance. There are plenty of things to do to stay healthy. And, there are plenty of things to do that are not healthy. Is it challenging? It certainly can be.

L4LM:  I see you have some artist-at-large work coming up. You’re still on Jam Cruise right?

JI: Yes sir!  Jam Cruise is the greatest festival on Earth.  It really is, it’s my favorite. I love all the Cloud 9 people who put it on.  And I love to play music, all kinds of music with all kinds of people.  So you’ll see me at “The Spot,” playing acoustic music, you’ll see me with the funk bands dancin’ around with those guys, and in the hallways bringing beats to the people.  I just…I just love music.

L4LM:  Does this mean we might see you with the Everyone Orchestra more?

JI:  I certainly hope so.  Matt and I are very good friends. I have done very few the last couple years, because I have been so busy. But yes, we’ve already talked, and there is definitely more Everyone Orchestra  coming up next year. I love improvisation.

L4LM: Are there other musical projects you have in the works?

JI: One of the great parts of being in a successful band is that I was able to keep in touch with many amazing musicians. I have built musical relationships with hundreds of musicians who I now have the time to work with on a deeper level. I imagine that you will be seeing many collaborations as a performer, producer and  songwriter. It’s pretty exciting. 

L4LM: Well Jans, thanks for talking us through your decision.  There’s some sad folks, but ultimately I bet they’ll be happy you are getting right with your life.

JI:  Of course, it was my pleasure.  I just wanna tell all the fans that I love them and I am “Motet Family” for life.  I’m gonna keep making music…and I’ll see you out there in the world!

[Photo by Patrick Hughes]