“We used to have the worst name,” explained The Commuters’ front man Zeeshan Zaidi in a phone interview. “But my brother came up with this one and saved us,” he shared. “It works on a few levels, because we’re all New Yorkers, who commute, of course, but also because we’re commuting between lives.”
Zeeshan grew up in the Phillippines. He attended the international school there with band mate Uri Djemal, who happened to end up working as a music producer when they both moved to New York as adults. For years, throughout college, law school and grad school, then a few years in the music industry before getting involved in tech start ups, Zaidi played the guitar and wrote songs “about different things that inspire me, or things that I think are important, or sometimes about a person,” (including that brother who named the band). But it was Uri who encouraged him to record his work and work at becoming a musician. Though Uri saw himself as a producer for songs Zaidi had written, Zeeshan quickly talked him into joining the band. Soon, bassist Ben Zwerin had signed on and after auditions for a drummer, Paul Amorese, they started playing together.
“I really wanted to level up our performance. We started out playing a lot of pretty empty rooms,” but it gave them the chance to perfect the show. And when their EP was ready, they were able to play shows that weren’t quite so empty. Right now, they’re working on the full album, and staying enthused about the steady buzz the band is building. Their song, “As I Make My Way” (you can listen below!), is about that journey.
As for advice, Zeeshan had this to say, “there is no substitute for getting good. Practice as much as possible and perfect your craft in a live setting. Play in front of everyone as much as you can.” Finally, “have a livelihood so you can truly be an artist — so your work doesn’t have to conform to someone else’s idea of what your music should be.” Good advice for anyone, we think.
“As I Make My Way”
“Fallen From Grace”
“You’ll Stay Right Here”