By/di Casandra Bentivoglio
“Everything was going downhill for me in terms of my music career, and I felt like I was doomed. But this project kind of saved me,” says singer-songwriter Pat DiMeo of The Motion Epic, his Montreal-based music project.
In November 2017, DiMeo went into the studio with his producer Dre K. They began developing the project by studying their favourite 80s songs and listening to synth sounds. Working with various musicians—from guitarist Daniel Fata to saxophone player Benjamin Harrison—they categorize their music as retro wave and synth-pop.
“Everyone was always like, ‘Pat needs to do this kind of music, or that kind of music,’ and I stopped listening to everybody and just went with my heart,” says DiMeo, “and The Motion Epic came out of it.”
The Motion Epic is heavily inspired by Tears for Fears, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper and Bruce Springsteen, and by movies like The Goonies and Back to the Future.
“[My parents] would play me Back to the Future,” he says. “And then, on my own, I would watch the tape, rewind it again and then watch it again. Now, when I watch [Back to the Future II], it’s like I can recite the movie—it’s instilled in my head.”
In June 2018, The Motion Epic released their first single, “Bad Behaviour” and were approached by Pittsburgh-based label Business Casual Records following their second single, “Temporary Lovers”. Under the label, they launched Midnight, a cassette EP with six new songs. They were a hit, topping cassette sales on bandcamp.com.
DiMeo’s musical journey began at a young age, singing Pavarotti and Sting. He started piano lessons at the age of five and played the drums for four years after his cousin bought him a drum set for his Communion when he was 10. At 14, he started getting back into vocals after watching American Idol, learning the guitar on his own.
That’s when he started joining bands—Abigail Calling, The Slacks and Seven Day Son—along with The Motion Epic and his own personal music ventures. “I’d say from 14 until now, I haven’t stopped. I’ve been in project after project—when one ended, another began,” he says.
DiMeo writes his own music; he settles down in his basement and gets to work. Writing for synth usually begins on keys, but DiMeo starts on guitar, translating them to keys once he and Dre K get together.
“The lyrics come from lots of heartbreak,” says DiMeo, laughing. “And stories. I’ve travelled a lot over the years—to Nashville, Toronto—and I wouldn’t be able to afford hotels. So I would sleep in my car, have a music session the next morning and then shower at a friend’s house. A lot of my lyrics come from that—life experiences and meeting new people and being on my own.”
As for The Motion Epic’s future plans, there’s an upcoming full-length album in the works to be released before the end of the year, as well as music videos for new singles from the album.
“We’re doing really well in Russia—I don’t know why,” DiMeo says, laughing. “There’s an app in Russia called VK that’s kind of like Facebook, and when I logged in and searched The Motion Epic, there were people posting my songs on their playlists. This one girl sent me a video that she was at a bar and they were playing my music. They featured me in [a list] of best new artist and best new vocalist—it’s crazy.”
“When you get older, you start realizing that time is so precious,” he says. “I’m at a point now where I’m all in. I’m doing all my music as much as I can, and whatever happens, happens.”
Photo by Vincenzo D’Alto