With 2015 nearly in the books and their tenth anniversary looming around the corner in 2016, Moncton rock band The Motorleague is feeling a tad nostalgic.
“It’s dizzying when you stop and think that we’ve been doing this for almost 10 years now,” Motorleague guitarist Nathan Jones says. “So much has changed, both personally and professionally. We’ve been fortunate to maintain a dedicated group of fans, but I also think there is a good portion of people that have moved onto other acts, which I think every band sees happen to a certain degree. We just keep our heads down and do what we do.”
“We’ve been so lucky to have a great network of support, both here at home and on the road. We have big fans in both places,” vocalist-guitarist Don Levandier says. “I would say we have been blessed well above average as far as people taking care of the band goes. There has been a lot of good karma that has come back on the band, which has made us feel lucky beyond words. There can be a lot of challenges and sacrifices that go along with the decision to be a part of a band.”
While Jones and Levandier each contemplate the bigger picture of the last decade of the Motorleague’s existence, he also acknowledges that 2015 has been particularly good for the group.
This past October, the band released their third full-length effort, Holding Patterns, and subsequently embarked on a cross-country tour that saw the group supporting American hard rock band Godsmack for three dates, followed by their own headlining shows throughout Ontario and Western Canada.
Amassing a fanbase in today’s day and age is no task for the weak. It often takes bands years of dedicated touring, playing random cities to occasionally less then enthusiastic crowds, before the group starts reaping the reward of their hard work.
Asked if the group sees the needle of success moving in a positive way, Levandier says they are seeing their years of hard work coming to fruition, but also acknowledges that the playing field is shifting as well.
“It definitely feels as though we are moving ahead and making headway. The gauge is changing too though. It is like we reach the top of one scale and move onto the bottom of the next one. In some ways, it is like a never-ending field we have to conquer, but the good thing is, we are definitely seeing progress along the way.”
The process of writing and recording Holding Patterns was relatively quick. The Motorleague went into the studio with producer Eric Ratz (Billy Talent, Big Wreck) armed with almost three-dozen songs. Once the group narrowed the track list down, they began the process of recording, which both Jones and Levandier admit was an eye-opening process.
“It certainly was humbling to work with Eric,” Jones says. “He was looking for perfection and really drove that point home. We spent almost three weeks just recording guitars, trying different setups to find the sound that worked best for that particular song.”
“We felt relatively ready at the outset of making this album, based on our prior studio experiences,” Levandier says. “Eric brought a machine-level precision to the recording process.”
Of course, virtually any process associated with the group – touring and recording among them – wouldn’t have gone as smoothly had it not been for the solid bonds of friendship between the four members of the group.
Rounded out by bassist Shawn Chiasson and drummer Francis Landry, the current lineup of The Motorleague is, by Levandier’s account, the most stable and versatile membership of the band’s career.
“The four of us enjoy making music together. It’s very much the same as when you have a kindred relationship with someone; it goes beyond words, but you know it just feels right. When you’re staring down routine eight-hour drives in a van together, it’s important that you have personalities that complement each other. I feel that is something that we have here,” he says.
“It’s a good place to be.”
What: The Motorleague with guests The Bricklins and Lionsault
When: Sunday Dec. 27, 8 p.m.
Where: The Tide & Boar Ballroom, 700 Main St., Moncton
Tickets are $10 plus service charge. Advance tickets are available online at www.tideandboar.com/music