Interview: Northlane [January 2015]

By Lais

Last month, Northlane came over to the UK to play a few shows with their fellow Australians Parkway Drive. We caught up with guitarist Josh Smith to find out about life with their new singer, the touring lifestyle, and what to expect from their new album later this year.

Hi Josh! How’s your tour going?

Really well so far. The shows have been great. Our new singer Marcus (Bridge) is doing a fantastic job. The weather’s been a bit cruel but it could be worse!

How have you found the Parkway Drive audiences?

Generally really receptive. When you head out with another band, you have to play to their audience. Sometimes that can be a good or bad thing. We’ve done tours in the past where a certain band’s audience might be really hard to win over but generally all the Parkway fans are pretty open minded and don’t give us the cold shoulder so it’s good.

What have you got coming up in 2015?

We’ve got a six week tour of the US with August Burns Red, and then we’re heading into the studio to do a new record and we’ll be touring a hell of a lot after that too.

How’s it going with Marcus in the band?

Yeah, really well. He’s fit into the band like a glove and he’s absolutely killing it every night. We couldn’t be happier with his performance or the way he conducts himself. It’s very hard to adapt to life on the road. It’s definitely a difficult way to live but he’s managed to settle in real nicely and we really couldn’t be happier with our decision. We don’t think we could’ve made a better one.

He only joined the band very recently. He’s really been thrown into the deep end, hasn’t he?

Yeah, he really has, but I always think that’s the best way to do it, because once he sinks his feet into the sand, he’s part of this band and there’s no limitation to what he’s capable of and what he can or can’t do. I think trial by fire’s always the best way to induct somebody. He has nothing to worry about.

I guess as well as him being thrown into the deep end, the whole band has been as well.

Well, we didn’t really have a choice. We had to find a new vocalist. We’ve done what we always do on the road and it hasn’t been that different for us really. He fits in great so it’s just another tour for the rest of us. We’re really excited about what he’s been bringing to the table. It’s refreshing and really cool.

You had a public audition for vocalists, didn’t you?

Sort of. What happened was we asked people to send a video in of them covering one of the songs and most of the entrants just chose to do it on Youtube and share it around which was cool because we got feedback from our fans as well, so that kind of made it public. It was our decision in the end and that wasn’t really too heavily influenced by who was the most popular or who the fans liked the best, because what’s most important to us is a vision of what we can do with our music with that person’s voice. That’s why we didn’t announce Marcus until we had the single out, because we wanted people to hear for themselves why we chose him.

You’re doing your third album after the US tour. How are you feeling about it?

In terms of material, we’ve written a lot more than we had for ‘Singularity’ at this point in time. We’re feeling really good about the songs and the direction they’re heading in. We’ll continue to evolve our sound on this album and Marcus gives us a fresh new palette to work with. The songs are shaping up really well and we’re really excited about it. We can’t wait to share it with people.

Does it sound similar to your previous stuff or are you going in a new direction?

We’ve always been a band that’s been about evolution and none of our releases sound the same. We’ll continue to evolve. As for how it sounds, I don’t wanna say anything until it’s out because people need to decide. I don’t want them to have any preconceptions of what it’s gonna be and judge it before they’ve even heard it, but we’ll continue to evolve and do what we love to do and I’m sure there’ll be something in this record for both our fans and people who have been introduced to us through this new record too.

You must be excited. It’s like a whole new chapter for you.

Yeah, we are excited. It’s been an interesting period because we’ve gone from sheer terror to pure excitement and everywhere in between. It’s great to be over the hill so to speak with finding a new singer and all that. So it’s smooth sailing from here on in for us I think.

You recently released your single ‘Rot’. Is that a good idea of what’s to come from the album?

I’ll say no, because I feel with how the record’s shaping up now, there’s a lot more depth to it than what ‘Singularity’ had. For me to say that the rest of the album sounds like this song would be a complete lie. Every song on this album is distinctly different at this point in time, and I don’t want people to judge it before they’ve heard it. They’ll have to hear it for themselves and make their own minds up, but they’re probably not gonna hear anything for at least another six months, so still a while to go yet.

Any last thoughts?

I’d encourage anyone who’s curious to come out and see Marcus at the next opportunity they can and listen to what he has to say and hear the story he has to tell. I’m really excited for the new chapter of the band, and I’d just like to thank all our fans for sticking by us through this audacious period that we’ve just passed through.


Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]