Members: Zeeshan Zaidi, Uri Djemal, Paul Amorese, Ben Zwerin
Location: New York, NY
Recently Released: “You’ll Stay Right Here”
New York alternative rockers, The Commuters, are starting off 2016 in an amazing way. The band recently teamed up with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to raise awareness through their latest video for their song “You’ll Stay Right Here,” with all proceeds from the sales being donated to the organization. With plans to release a new EP this spring (with the remastered version of “You’ll Stay Right Here” on it), we can only expect even more amazing things from the band. Get to know more about the Commuters below!
How did The Commuters form and come to be what it is today?
I had written a bunch of songs over the years, recorded and produced demos, and performed them at open mics, but never did much else with them.
Uri is a good friend from childhood (we’ve been classmates since the first grade) and a producer in New York. His studio was several blocks away from where I was living for a long time. He heard my songs long time ago and for years kept encouraging me to come work on them at his studio.
I always wanted to do more with my music – had always been my dream to be a professional musician – and would occasionally feel antsy about the fact that time was slipping by and it was just languishing. So one day I called him up, walked over with my demos and we got to work recording, not knowing what the outcome would be. A lot of people (Uri included!) were encouraging me to be a solo artist, because the songs had a singer-songwriter feel, but I had always wanted to start a band, and there was no question that Uri had to be in it. The few songs turned into an album’s worth of material.
Uri knew Ben from the music scene in NY, and so Ben played on the album. We had an amazing session musician named Lorne Entress play drums on the album, but when the time came to start playing live Uri and I auditioned a bunch of drummers and when Paul walked in we knew he was the guy. And coincidentally it turned out that Paul and Ben had played a couple of gigs together before.
So it all sort of came together that way!
Who are some of your musical influences – both as a band and individually?
A whole wide range. I guess if you listen to the band it’s a lot of indie, alternative and melodic rock.
As far as what we listen to, everything from 70s rock to 90s indie rock to everything from the past couple of decades to world music and jazz. It all must find its way in subconsciously somehow.
In general, I’m a big fan of any musician who can write an amazing melody and weave choice words into a compelling story or an emotional journey. Some examples that come to mind (by no means exhaustive): Radiohead, Bob Mould, Smashing Pumpkins, Bon Iver, Peter Gabriel, Florence and the Machine — just to name a few.
What do you enjoy most about playing shows?
The energy. It’s such a massive thrill playing live – it’s always electrifying to play for a packed audience in a club that knows your music and are pumped to see you play. Greater than the sum of the parts in the room. Love it.
What do you do when you’re not playing music?
Writing music! And marketing our music! It’s like a 24×7 job.
But besides that we all have families. And other interests too, I’m a huge politics and public affairs junkie myself, as well as a sports nut.