It’s been a long few years since Moncton band The Motorleague’s last full-length record, but unlike many groups who disappear from the public eye when they are cooking up new music, The Motorleague stayed current on people’s minds and tongues through a variety of unique methods.
The group, performing at Moncton’s O.C. Nightclub Saturday night to celebrate the release of their sophomore record Acknowledge, Acknowledge, used the time between records to release no fewer than a dozen videos. A dozen is probably a conservative estimate.
In addition to filming a handful of “traditional” music videos, the group also released a series of videos featuring their musical interpretation of the classic television commercials, Canadian Heritage Minutes. As an initiative of the Historica Dominion Institute, the Heritage Minutes serve as a means to educate Canadians to our vast and diverse history that has made our land so wonderful. The Motorleague took the dialogue from the Heritage Minutes television shorts, set it to music and wracked up a significant amount of attention as well as a swell of Canadian pride.
So knowing all of the above, can anyone really blame the band for the significant amount of time that lapsed between studio records? Recording of Acknowledge, Acknowledge began in January 2010 and finally wrapped up last month.
The Motorleague’s Don Levandier explains the delays in getting new music:
“There was always a reason to wait,” he begins. “After the first recording session, it was months before we got to hear the first mixes of the record which should have been epic foreshadowing to us. After hearing the mixes, I wasn’t happy with aspects of the vocals and went to Toronto a few times over a six-month period to re-record the vocals.
“Once we were happy with the vocals, the producer made it known that he would like to be more involved and offered to release the recording on his label. He didn’t feel there was a strong single though and so we recorded a few tracks — “North America,” “Litany For The Completely Forgettable” and “Every Man Needs A Cape Breton” — with Chris Colepaugh. And finally after some guitar and vocal re-dos, the record was finally done.”
Compared to their debut record, Acknowledge, Acknowledge boasts a seemingly more melodic sound. This is not to discount the group’s previous work as being unmelodic; the melodies are simply brought to the forefront on their newest album.
“There was never a conscious decision to make a radio-friendly album,” Don says. “Our last record is also a very guitar driven record, but on the new album, the guitars take on a supporting role to the drums. The vocals on this record are also featured a little more prominently in the mix, which in turn allows for a lot more melody to squeak through. So while we never said, ‘Let’s make a more melodic or poppy album’, we knew that was where it was headed.”
After having worked with Halifax-based Sonic Concerts on a number of different shows that saw the group the opportunity to perform with the likes of Monster Truck and Flogging Molly, The Motorleague has signed on with Sonic Records for the release of Acknowledge, Acknowledge. The label is also home to Matt Mays and Hey Rosetta! and seems thus far to be the ideal partner for the band at this stage in their career.
“I’m a control freak from years of having to be on top of stuff like promotion so now, having a team working the new record, is somewhat of a strange prospect,” Levandier says.
Although it has taken a few years to solidify some aspects of The Motorleague’s lineup, Levandier and his band mates Nathan Jones, Shawn Chaisson and Francis Landry are on solid ground. As they eagerly look towards a future of more videos and seemingly endless touring, Levandier reassures us that it will not take another few years before we hear more new music from The Motorleague.
“I have recorded with Nathan and with Shawn and Francis for this record but we haven’t really had all four of us together in the studio for any significant amount of time. We’ve been working on several new songs and are definitely eager to start the recording process again,” Levandier says.
Article published in the June 14, 2013 edition of the Times & Transcript