Jonas & The Massive Attraction
I talk to Jonas Tomalty from the amazing Canadian rock band Jonas & The Massive Attraction who’s music when I first heard it got me hooked, Just a good solid rock band delivering the goods, I wanted to know more and why you should check out this amazing band. Their album Big Slice is a must have.
1. How did the band form?
The band started 15 years ago as my father’s blues-based brain-child. Dad was a harmonica player and wanted to start up a project with his son. I had eaten the blues for breakfast since childhood so it was always an integral part of my influences. One night, my old man called me and said he’d found the guy to play the guitar. That was Corey Diabo. 15 years later and Dad encourages proudly from the sidelines while Corey and I continue doing all we know. Rocking and rolling.
2. How has this been different to playing solo earlier in your music career?
The only time I was ever "solo" was when I was a soprano soloist for one song, 9 years old, in a children’s choir. I’ve always been in bands. I’m a band guy. When our old record label wanted to sign us, the deal was they push the name "Jonas". They knew how to push lead singers. Now we run our own label and have a name for the band. Cause that’s just what we are.
3. Are you surprised with the response to Big Slice in Canada and worldwide?
The reaction has been amazing. The boys and I were floored when we saw the first single "Big Slice" hit the top ten charts in Canada. Then when "Seize The Day" followed with the same public enthusiasm, we were overwhelmed as hell. We are blessed and very much appreciative that all the hard work is bearing fruit. It’s always nice to know that your own country is behind you but once you jump over the water and start getting love from new stages, new countries, new fans…it’s very fulfilling. It’s refueling. We just got word that we’ll be joining Lenny Kravitz, The Cult, Chris Cornell and Wolfmother at Bospop in Holland this summer as well, so it seems we aren’t going home any time soon! Sorry Ma.
4. What inspires the band when writing music?
Real life…and red wine.
5. What was the inspiration for the debut album?
We wanted to write an album that felt like us. Like us live, like us talking. We’re a shameless rock band with lots of stories to tell. When recording the album, we wanted to "can the lighting" in the sense that we wanted to capture some of the essence of our live show and tell those stories at then same time. Easy on the bullshit and generous on the real.
6. Why go over to Europe and tour and have the album released there?
It just made sense that we tour Europe after touring our own continent several times over. It’s the next closest rock-hungry crowd to us and we know how involved Europeans are with there bands. These people get behind the artists they like and support them fully. Rock needs that more than ever these days.
7. What was it like supporting deep purple?
Absolute gentlemen. On stage and off stage the band and crew are so laid back and so kind. We couldn’t have asked for anything more from our experience with them. They even asked our guitar player, Corey, to join them on stage for our last show on the road with them, to jam out "Smoke On The Water"! An absolute career highlight for all of us. It’s been getting lots of love on Youtube too!
8. How has social networking helped the band?
That’s a very long answer but in short: It’s radical. It’s huge. And it changes with every click of the mouse. It’s tough to keep up but it’s truly amazing to be able to connect with fans across the world with one "chirp" (or is it "twit"?)
9. What advice could you give to someone wanting to give a career in a music a shot?
Get a degree in law and THEN… go with your feelings! It’s a beautifully nasty and completely bizarre journey. The anti-glam sparkles take days to wash off and the perfume stays forever on your clothes. It’s my life and I wouldn’t change it for a fucking thing.
9. How has touring helped the band?
The studio is where the music is born but the road is where the music lives…where it goes though it’s adolescence and where it learns to find itself. Our songs take on a whole new life when they start to get a bit worn at the knees. And touring is where we make new fans. Where we connect and share with the crowd and where we do the converting! We like to come out when the show ends to hang out and get to know the people that have come out to see the show. That said, after the show is when things have been known get a little crazy and we don’t shy away from a good party…
10. Why make an unplugged album?
Every song we have written started that way. A voice and a guitar. We played this very intense show in September 2011 back home in Montreal. It was our first "full band" acoustic show and it reverberated pretty heavily with everyone there. The online fans wrote to us asking if we’d managed to record any of it. We had. 6 songs made it and we recorded another 5 in studio to complete the album Jonas & The Massive Attraction "Unplugged".
11. How has radio and the media received the album?
We have been very lucky with the reaction. Radio have backed us up big time and so have the listeners. It just goes to show how much local radio and local media can still build a band from ground up.
12. What is next for the band?
We are writing the next album from the road, on tour, in hotel rooms, tour buses and back stage…It’s the first time the 4 of us write and album together in this formation and it couldn’t feel more fluid and right. We all bring something special, and a bit twisted and something inspired to the table…it will be a very heartfelt, band build piece of work.
13. Any chance of playing down here in Australia?
Hell ya! It is at the top of our list. I was lucky enough to visit Oz last year. Rented a camper van and did the entire East coast. I would LOVE to do it all over again, all over the country, with my boys, in a bus, surfing in the morning and pounding out the music the rest of the night. You guys do it right down there!