by Matt Carter @m_j_c73
Holding Patterns, the new album from The Motorleague comes out October 16, 2015.
The Motorleague are on the brink of something big. After years of slugging it out largely on their own, the Moncton-based rock and roll machine have undergone a number of positive changes in the past couple of years. In addition to growing tighter as a creative unit, the band have begun to firmly establish themselves on a national level thanks in part to their well-established East Coast work ethic and the support and opportunities presented to them since signing with Halifax-based Sonic Records.
“[Working with Sonic] has changed things in a million ways,” said guitarist/vocalist Don Levandier. “Someone called it ‘heavy lifting’ but it basically worked out that you can’t get the good shows without an agent, and you can’t get an agent without proper management, and you can’t get proper management without a good label deal. So once the latter was in place, the formers came together immediately and we got to do some really cool tours. I think the first call from them was January of 2013 and we officially signed in April.”
Acknowledge, Acknowledge was the band’s debut release for Sonic. Dropping in June of 2013, the band gained East Coast Music Award nominations for Fan’s Choice Video of the Year and Rock Recording of the Year, continuing the group’s well-established position as regulars on the ECMA radar (their debut Black Noise brought home two ECMAs and a Music New Brunswick award in 2010).
Holding Patterns, the band’s new album, which will be officially released on October 16, 2015, marks yet another big step forward for the group in terms of both song writing and production. As Levandier explains, Holding Patterns is the strongest possible recorded representation of the group to date. It’s was a full band effort.
“For me, the biggest change and improvement is how we made this record,” said Levandier. “Acknowledge took a while to make with frequent trips to Toronto over the better part of three years. It also saw three drummer changes, a bass player change, and a guitar player swap. So there’s a real bi-polarity to the record where a few songs sound like a different band. That’s no way to make a record. It was just what a part-time band from New Brunswick, Canada could afford to do. This record is the same four guys, living in the same apartment for a month, eating, breathing and sleeping the process of making the record.”
Recorded at Toronto’s Vespa Studios, the band worked with producer Eric Ratz (Billy Talent, Big Wreck, Monster Truck) to craft and refine this latest effort.
“If I had to give Ratz a nickname, and he already has several, it would be ‘The Surgeon’,” said Levandier, “because he’s got a clinical precision to him, and a work ethic that is insane. My favorite part has to be, when he’s working on your record, that’s all he’s working on. He wouldn’t really answer his phone while we were working unless it was someone involved in the record. He’d go home early from the studio to work on arrangements while we rehearsed and layed early parts down, which immediately made me think ‘suuuuure buddy’, but he’d come back in the morning with dozens of cuts of the demos that clearly took hours to do. I would make another record with Ratz in heartbeat. Ryan Jones, his right hand man, would have to be back too though.”
The cover art for Holding Patterns was created by New Brunswick artist Sebas Theriault, who has been designing for The Motorleague from the very beginning. This time around, Theriault worked with the band to create a maze-like city scape resulting in their most thought provoking album art to date.
“I wanted the art to feel like you were kind of trapped, but in a current-day Bill Murray kind of trapped,” said Levandier. “No sense of desperation or panic, but trapped and running the same circles. Trying to escape but in the softest sense of the word ‘trying’. The city maze really felt like a good way to convey that. The earliest versions of the artwork were just the building maze but it felt so menacing. I wanted it to feel like while it was ultimately a bad and terrible thing, it was part of life and everyone just accepted it. The songs, some more than others, have that feeling for me.”
As The Motorleague kick off a national tour this week is support of their brand new album, Levandier and his band mates will now begin to write the next chapter in the band’s eventful history, confident in their ability as both a performing ensemble and a highly skilled creative unit.
“I’m proud that we wrote these songs together,” he said. “More so than we ever have in the past, I’m proud that for better or for worse, we’ve evolved as a band.”