By Keith Sharp
Being a band from the Maritimes, Moncton New Brunswick to be exact, Motorleague is totally aware that the only way to get noticed in these social media times is to get the word out on their touring activities and to hit the road constantly.
About to launch an exhaustive 24-date hike in Ontario and across Canada backing both Australia’s The Lazys and Calgary’s High Kicks in support of their latest ‘Holding Patterns’ release, Motorleague’s guitarist/vocalist Don Levandier noticed that his band is committed to putting in the miles to build Motorleague’s growing reputation as an aggressive guitar-rock live band.
“About six months ago we had a big decision to make. Do we head south and tackle the States, do we try to make a name for ourselves in Europe or do we continue to build our name across Canada,” mused Levandier from his home in Moncton. “We decided that to continue touring in Canada was the best route to go.
Hardly new kids on the block, Motorleague have been steadily building their reputation over the past 10 years. Initially inspired by catching Moncton grunge band Eric’s Trip perform and impressed that a local band could obtain a recording contract, Levandier knew he wanted to follow suit. “When you talk about that scene, you are talking my language,” he enthused. Bands like Eric’s Trip, Sloan, The Monoxides, Hardship Post and jale gave the whole Maritime music scene a lift of respectablility at that time.”
Recruiting guitarist Nathan Jones, bassist Sean Chaisson and drummer Francis Landry, Levandier intially tried to replicate that punk/grunge sound but admits the band was like fish out of water when they entered a Toronto recording studio to record their first album, 2009’s `Black Noise’
“When I go back and listen to that record, it just sounds so frantic,” laughs Levandier. “Every time I hear it, I want to call 911, I think there’s an emergency somewhere.”
`Black Noise’ did enough for the band to win two East Coast Music Awards and one Music New Brunswick award and inspired Motorleague to keep working and improving their performance. By the time they recorded `Acknowledge, Acknowledge’ in 2013, the band’s sound was taking shape.
[styled_box title=”Motorleague – All The Words” color=”black”][/styled_box]
“Initially, we didn’t know what we really wanted but now we are a little more focused and a little more career oriented. We are now thinking more about longevity than just swinging for the fences”, Levandier explained. “Songwriting is becoming so much easier, we had something like 30 songs written for the new record, we are more confident in what we do and we also know our limitations.”
Certainly, the band’s guitar-angry, explosive, rock sound is back in vogue and Levandier cites the success of Sheepdogs and Monster Truck with breaking open that bottle neck. “After the grunge cycle ran its course, hard rock bands had a problem getting noticed but once the Sheepdogs did that one tour with Monster Truck, suddenly, it was like a bottle neck had been broken. Everyone wanted to know, who are Monster Truck”?
As a response, Motorleague has opened for the likes of Alexisonfire, Dropkick Murphys and Protest The Hero, performed at this year’s NXNE and even hit the festival circuit, appearing at Heavy MTL and the Montreal’s Pouzza Fest.
It hasn’t hurt Motorleague that they’ve recruited ace producer Eric Ratz (Billy Talent, Big Wreck, Monster Truck) to work on their latest `Holding Patterns’ release, issued last October. Recorded at Toronto’s Vespa Studios, the record’s 10 tracks reflect the band’s artistic development while still suggesting the band is still “cutting our teeth”
“It’s good that we have a producer who has worked with bands that we respect,” noted Levandier. “We want to play with those bands, we want to sound like those bands. And of course there was no arguing from us when we were recording the tracks, we respected that Eric knew what he was doing.”
With tracks like “Boards, “All The Words and “A Little Too Obvious” all receiving airplay on key progressive radio stations, it looks like Motorleague’s long-term committment is paying dividends. “We recently played a festival and the crowd was singing the words to “All The Words” back to us. That hadn’t happened to us before.”
With key dates including a September 16th gig at Toronto’s Rivoli (opening for The Lazys’s), a September 22nd date in Halifax plus Western Canada dates in late October, Motorleague seems to be on the verge of finally justifying their 10 year committment.
“It has not been easy though. Every day we have to justify what we are doing,” allowed Levandier. We’ve missed weddings, funerals, we have missed so much. But for this band to succeed we have to make these sacrifices, it’s just what we do.”
For more information on Motorleague and ther upcoming tour dates please link to www.motorleague.ca