INTERVIEW: The Commotions
How would you classify your music?
As a band, we strive to pay tribute to some of the Motown artists of the past while taking elements of the pop world. Think soul/pop. The Commotions are a 12-piece band featuring both a male and female singer with a full rhythm section along with a 5-piece horn section.
Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?
– Bruno Mars
– The Jacksons
– The Funk Brothers
– Mayer Hawthorne
– Earth, Wind and Fire
What do you want fans to take from your music?
All we want at the end of the day is to make our fans dance. If we can put a smile on your face by playing soul music then our mission has been accomplished.
How’s the music scene in your locale?
Living in Ottawa as a musician has been both amazing and challenging at the same time. Amazing because we have so much talent in Ottawa that I personally have been able to thrive and look up to. At the same time it is rather challenging because there are not that many places to play. We do however have some fantastic festivals that constantly feature local musicians.
What is the best concert you have been to? What do you like most about playing live?
Hands down the best concert I have ever been to was the Bruno Mars Unorthodox Tour. Bruno had the crowd on the edge of their seats for their entire performance singing like no other can. He also stepped up and played all the guitar solos as well as a long drum solo. Hands down the best concert I have ever seen. The feeling in the arena was electrifying!
Is there a song on your latest CD release here that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?
This is a hard question to answer as most of the songs on the CD come from either my perspective or someone from the bands perspective. Personally I have two songs that stand out but for very different reasons. ‘Let Me Kiss You Baby’ is a tune we wrote to get people to groove and sing to the their hearts desire. The song features Rebecca Noelle and her gravity-defying voice as she conveys a take-charge woman while the horns groove to a hooky chorus that is sure to get moving.
The other song that means a lot to me is the one tune that I wrote by myself on the album entitled ‘Loving You’. This song means so much to me because I wrote it for my brother, his wife, and their son. My brother, Jeff, and his wife, Erin, gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in March. Due to some complications, their son, Dylan, had to stay in the hospital for a couple of weeks. It was a very hard time for them as well as my family so I wrote this tune and dedicated it to them. I love them all very much and it is a tribute to their journey. On a happy note, everything worked out and Dylan is one happy baby boy.
How have you evolved as an artist over the last year?
Travelling with the Funk Brothers was an opportunity that changed my life. These guys took a chance on me to step up and play saxophone in their horn section – let me tell you, these guys created soul music so it was an honor to share the stage with them. It was during that time I met Delbert Nelson and we formed a friendship that will last a lifetime. Our last CD, Let Me See Ya Dance, was collaboration between myself (Brian Asselin) and Delbert Nelson.
Our new CD, entitled Volume II, is more or less a rebirth of the Commotions. This time around the disc features the vocal talents of Rebecca Noelle and Jeff Rogers who in my mind, are two of the best vocalists in Canada. This record was also collaboration right from the start, which made the songs much stronger. Most of the tracks have at least two or three writers on them allowing each writer to bring their A game to the table to help shape the songs and album in the right direction. Both my writers, Rebecca Noelle and David Gaw, are outstanding musicians bringing with them elements of Jazz, Pop, Soul, RnB, and even a little disco.
If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, have a drink with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?
This is a great question. I would love The Commotions to back up Stevie Wonder. He is one of the best musicians of our time and I think it would be such an honor to be on the same stage as him.
What’s next for you?
Play, Play and play some more. I want to get The Commotions in front as many people as I possibly can. I believe our music touches the most people when we get to play it live. We want to see you groove, shake those hips and smile.
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