Zeeshan Zaidi Talks About The Commuters' Evolution on "Before I Was Born"

NYC's The Commuters are still riding the waves of success following the release of their newest EP, Before I Was Born last year. As an incredibly personal album that only progressed more as the band continued to grow, Before I Was Born is a snapshot of The Commuters' lives - from the formation of new families and the birth of children to the loss of those close to them. It has been a few months since the release, but Before I Was Born still resonates with the band and listeners, launching them even further ahead in 2017.

Read what vocalist Zeeshan Zaidi had to say about the album and the band's new video for title track, "Before I Was Born" below, and stay tuned for more news from The Commuters soon! 

Interview by Shannon Shumaker

Can you tell us a little bit about The Commuters for any readers who might not be familiar? 

We’re an alternative rock band from NYC. Put out our first full-length in 2012 (Rescue) and recently put out our second release.

You all had a wide range of experiences in the music industry before forming The Commuters. How do you feel that your past experiences have helped you to create the best music possible as a group now?

True -- we’re all from very different backgrounds and have been on different life journeys and yet can come together to make music together that people want to hear. 

I think each of us followed our own path as musicians, which informs what we do and allows us to bring different sonic perspectives to the endeavor.

How has living in New York and the local music scene affected your sound and the way you approach writing music? 

I love New York and am a total New Yorker, as we all are.  I think being New Yorkers shapes everyone’s perspectives on life more than it shapes the music itself.   I don’t think we sound like a “New York” band per se.  And although we have very diverse backgrounds I don’t think we necessarily sound like a world music band either. 

That said I think both of those factors help create the ethos of the band – aspirations that are cosmopolitan and an appeal that is hopefully broad and universal.  

In terms of writing music – again it’s more about New York the city. I tend to be influenced by what’s around me and the energy and the intensity and the reality of New York definitely seep into the songs I write. 

Last year, you celebrated the release of your new EP, Before I Was Born. Now that you’ve had the chance to play it for a few months and fans have had the chance to listen to it, what are some of your favorite things about the EP?

I like the fact that it feels like an evolution and a progression, while still sounding like us. 

How do you feel you’ve grown between the release of your full-length, Rescue and Before I Was Born

Had a lot of life happen! Two of us became parents; we also had to deal with family illnesses, and the ups and downs of life. I think that finds its way into the songs too.  

To kick off this year, you just released the music video for your single, “Before I Was Born.” What was the inspiration behind the song?

I wrote this song a few years ago after the birth of my first child. When she was born I was struck by the intensity of the relationship she had with my wife – and the familiarity. So it was about that, but more generally it is about how sometimes people in this world have such a strong, intense connection that you have to believe that their relationship transcends this life – will either continue after or existed before.

Due to the content of this song and the personal story behind it, what did you want to be able to convey with the video? 

Well the story of the video is slightly different than the story behind the song. 

Last summer, weeks before the scheduled release of our EP Before I Was Born, my grandmother passed away. She and I were very close – I was her first grandchild – and it really hit me hard. At the same time, my wife was pregnant with our second child. The juxtaposition of emotions was really intense. It got me to thinking about the cycle of life, birth and death, the places they intersect in this world and other places – and the overlap (and sometimes none) between generations. 

I wanted to make a video that explored this. My goal with this one was to explore otherworldly places and spaces. Life and death and the places they intersect. 

I love exploring new territory and pushing new bounds with each new video, and I think this video does that. 

With the video for “Before I Was Born” out now and the EP under your belts, do you have any other big plans for the rest of this year?

More gigs and more writing! Musicians are always working on the next thing…

Could fans expect to catch you guys live soon?

Yes! We’re always playing shows around New York, but are planning to put together a proper East Coast tour soon – stay tuned!

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks for featuring us!

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