Even though their latest record Black Noise just recently celebrated the first anniversary of its release, Moncton rock band The Motorleague is looking to the future, but not without taking the time to reflect on what has already been an amazing 12 months.
In the past year, the band has nabbed two East Coast Music Awards, made two music videos and has already begun work on their still untitled sophomore record. Chances are if you aren’t familiar with The Motorleague’s name yet, you will be by time 2011 rolls around.
The band’s high-energy, melodic songs have seen them become one of the East Coast’s “must see” bands in concert. Not only are they are seeing their band name grow on a regional level, it is gaining value nationally as well, landing the group opening slots for high-profile bands like Priestess, Alexisonfire and punk legends Bad Religion.
Motorleague vocalist-guitarist Don Levandier admits the group weren’t quite sure what to expect upon the release of Black Noise but is pleased with the way things have unfolded for the record to date:
“It’s really hard to say what our expectations were,” he says. “Obviously, we wanted the record to sell but we weren’t really sure if we were going to sell a few hundred or a few thousand.”
And though he doesn’t downplay the importance of retail and digital music sales, he notes that the bulk of their album sales have been from playing live.
“99% of our sales to date have been off stage. People are buying the record after seeing our show and that in itself is incredibly satisfying when someone sees you live and decides they want to take a piece of that away with them.”
At the 2010 East Coast Music Awards ceremony held in Sydney this past March, the group was elated to have brought home two trophies. One award was for the “Loud Recording of the Year” category and the other for Fan’s Choice Video of the Year for their track “Hymn For The Newly Departed”.
That video, along with their latest for the song “You Wear Me Down”, were both shot in Moncton by local company The PostMan. Although The PostMan has done work for companies such as the CBC, Bravo and the Discovery Channel, working with The Motorleague was the company’s first foray into the music video medium.
At the present time, “Hymn For The Nearly Departed” has racked up more than 12,000 views on the band’s You Tube channel located at www.youtube.com/user/MotorleagueChannel. “You Wear Me Down” has been publicly available for less than two weeks and has already received more than 1200 views. In addition to these impressive numbers, the video for “Hymn…” has also scored widespread airplay on Muchmusic’s Loud video channel.
“We really loved the video that The PostMan made with us and for them to be able to take home an ECMA on their first video was amazing,” Levandier says.
Naturally, the band was happy with the Video of the Year win, especially when they were up against east coast music heavyweights such as Joel Plaskett, In-Flight Safety and George Canyon.
“The video of the year award was a huge win for us too of course,” Levandier continues. “I don’t necessarily think that ours was the best video in the lot but I do think that it had the most heart of all the nominees. It was a bit of an underdog story but we were thrilled with the end result.”
Levandier admits that going into the ECMA’s, the band figured they would come home empty-handed and were alright with that fact. But after spending the ECMA weekend playing, celebrating and socializing with so many great people, the award wins were the perfect footnote to the weekend.
“After we took the awards home, I’ve heard so many other ECMA winners say to me ‘Getting nominated is for you – winning is for your family’. That’s definitely an accurate way to sum
the weekend up.”
It may surprise some then that with so much momentum currently working in the band’s favour, they are already looking forward to the completion of their new record, the majority of which has already been recorded.
Levandier expects to log another few days in the studio for a few touch-ups and adding in additional instrumentation before the record is set to be mixed this coming summer. The band is currently targeting a September-October timeframe for the record’s release.
Contrary to the recording process for Black Noise, Don says there is a much more relaxed feeling permeating the band’s upcoming record:
“Black Noise saw us barrelling through 10 tracks in seven days. The drums on that record ended up being completed in one day so the whole thing was a little tight in regards to timeframe for completion. But on this newest record, we spent a solid three days on the drums alone.”
“The new songs are still pretty fast and chaotic but our new record is not necessarily going to sound as frantic and urgent as Black Noise does.”
In the more immediate future, The Motorleague has upcoming shows in Moncton on Saturday June 12 and in Amherst on Saturday June 19. Both of these shows are all-ages affairs with the Moncton date taking place at the Moncton’s Lions Club located at 473 St. George Street while the Amherst show is happening at the Amherst Curling Club, 45 Prince Arthur Street.
Towards the end of June, the group heads up to Ontario to play the popular S.C.E.N.E. Music Festival in St. Catherines alongside bands such as Cancer Bats and Arkells.
While the band is looking forward to returning to play for their Ontario fans, Levandier confesses that he hopes the trip will be accident-free this time around.
One of the band’s last trips to Ontario saw their van destroyed after an unfortunate encounter with a deer. The encounter has left the singer a little nervous to make the pilgrimage down Highway 401 again.
“It’s ironic that you can live the majority of your life in New Brunswick and only hit an animal once you go to Ontario.”
Visit The Motorleague’s website at www.themotorleague.ca for all the latest and greatest news on the group.