For the five musicians from Montreal who call themselves Mobile namely vocalist Mat Joly, guitarist Frank Williamson, guitarist Christian Brais, bassist Dominic Viola and drummer Pierre-Marc Hamelin ů the rock 'n' roll dream is officially alive and coming soon to a venue near you.
"It's just unbelievable," says Williamson, "This is a dream come true. There is nothing else we'd rather be doing. We've worked our [butts] off all our lives to get to this point and it's everything we thought it would be and more." The road to rock 'n' roll success may lead to great reward, but it is paved with heartache and littered with those who could not maneuver its many obstacles. It takes more than being fortunate to make it in this business. It requires time, money, talent, effort, determination, endurance and a strong sense of what really matters in the big picture of things.
Mobile is very clear on who they are and where they come from. Growing up in the politically and economically challenged 1990's, just north of Montreal in the small francophone community of Lorraine, Mobile kept their feet on the ground and their eyes on the prize, overcoming the odds and adversities by sticking together through the highs and lows of a career in the music business.
Williamson explains; "We've known each other since we were little kids. We went to kindergarten, elementary school and high school together. We've stuck by each other through all the ups and downs of our musical careers and our personal lives. In that way it's been more like a being in a family than being in a band. Quebecers are like that. We are a province of small communities that learned to come together in times of crisis. It's something that is in our blood and our heritage."
Playing and staying and together has been the cornerstone of the band's musical ascent. After Hamelin got his first set of drums as a teenager, the others picked up instruments of their own and started jamming cover songs in the garage, inspired by classic rock, brit-pop, grunge, punk and Montreal's local music scene. "We really sucked as a cover band" continues the guitarist, "So we focused on developing our skills as players before anything else."
Enthused with the strange, new sounds emerging across the island, it wasn't long before the band began writing, rehearsing, recording and performing their own material. "Things were really happening for Montreal bands at that point÷Godspeed! You Black Emperor, the Dears, Sam Roberts, Arcade Fire, the Stills÷the ears of the world were on the city and so we did what anyone in our position would do; we moved to Toronto." The five life-long friends spent the next two years huddled in tiny, roach- infested two bedroom apartment in downtown Toronto, working the local clubs and honing their skills.
"It was a very difficult time for us, a very desperate time," recalls Williamson. "Five French guys in the heart of English Canada, broke and starving and climbing all over each other to get the last crumbs from the cupboard. And we'd be out at all hours, banging on industry doors and playing any club that would have us, trying to create as many opportunities for ourselves as possible."
The band's vigilance paid off when they became the first band from la belle province to sign a major label deal with Interscope / Universal. Mobile came home in 2003, and for the next three years worked closely with producer Matt DeMatteo, fine tuning their debut release. Powered by last year's infectious smash single "Montreal Calling", Tomorrow Starts Today, soared to the top of the charts and gave the band some much needed breathing room.
"The first thing we did was start to eat a little better," laughs Williamson, "And then we paid off some debts and hit the road." The band has since enjoyed great success touring which, according to Williamson, has changed the band's perspective. "This is our first trip to the Maritimes and we've heard great things about the people there. Traveling has really opened our eyes to the world in that respect. We began to see that we share more things in common with people elsewhere than we once thought. The world really is filled with small communities and that's something we can relate to and appreciate." "But" the Williamson adds, "We know this is only the beginning of things for us and we have to keep working hard together to survive and succeed in this business.
"We always need to remember how much we have sacrificed for these opportunities, jamming four nights a week for three years, the gigs, the knocking on doors. That's what has kept it real for us over the last while; remembering where we came from."
For more information on Mobile visit: http://mobiletheband.com.
Writer: Stephen Clare