Interview: Northlane


It’s safe to say that Northlane have arrived. Since the release of their debut LP in 2011, the progressive metalcore outfit have been garnering a great deal of attention in their homeland of Australia, and after participating in a handful of high-profile tours in North America and Europe, the group appear poised to make an impression on the international stage in a big way. Hot off the digital release of their sophomore album, which has already seen staggering sales figures and received a great deal of praise from fans and media alike, and leading up to its physical release via Distort Records on April 16th, did an interview with guitarist Josh Smith to learn more about Northlane as their presence continues to strengthen in the Canadian music scene and throughout the world at large.


Your sophomore record, entitled Singularity, was just released via UNFD records. This release was shrouded in secrecy for quite a long time – aside from a series of hints and cryptic messages, you guys refrained from revealing details up until last month. What inspired this unconventional approach?

I studied marketing at university, and with my manager we decided that we could do better than just a conventional release. A lot of inspiration came from the way Nine Inch Nails had made their releases a little more interesting. It turned out to be a big success for us and has now set a precedent for future events.


image002There seems to be quite a bit of continuity between this new record and your 2011 debut, Discoveries. Was there a deliberate effort to have the albums intertwine thematically?

Absolutely, as we evolve as a band, the themes and lyrics and artwork evolve but still carry some motifs forward as we progress. A good example of that is the cube and the lyrical themes explored in the last track of Discoveries “I Shook Hands With Death” being carried over to the next record.


This LP was produced by Will Putney (Four Year Strong, Chiodos, Upon A Burning Body), who also worked with you on your first record. What skills did he bring to the table that made you want to work with him again?

He actually just mixed the first record. We recorded that one here in Australia and sent it off to Will. We wanted him to have full control over the recording process and input as a producer within the songs, adding his own creative flair. Plus his albums just sound huge and we really thought something a little more organic sounding, right up Will’s alley would benefit the direction we had taken with these songs.


In September, you guys did a Canadian tour alongside Counterparts, Obey The Brave, Stray From The Path, and Backtrack. How did you enjoy your first visit to the country?  How did it compare to your expectations prior to arriving?

We were pretty blown away actually. A lot of the responses we had, especially around Ontario were close to what we get back home, and Canada was completely new to us. We loved Canada, with its gorgeous scenery and awesome people and made some friends that we’ll no doubt keep for the rest of our lives. We went to Canada not really expecting much and received way more than we hoped for; can’t wait to come back.

In May, you guys will be returning to Canada once again for another huge tour alongside Structures, Texas In July, and Intervals. What are you expecting this expedition to be like, and are there any lessons you’ve learned from last year’s tour that you’ll be bringing with you this time around?

Yeah we’ve learned one valuable lesson, pick your crew carefully! (This is another story). Hopefully for us we get even better responses this time in the places that we’ve already been to. Obviously the scale of the tour will be bigger too in terms of crowds, dates, and drives, so there will be a lot more for us to sink our teeth into. We are feeling very good about it and can’t wait for May to arrive.


Discoveries 4How has being from Australia, and Sydney specifically, impacted you guys as a band? Is it more difficult to set a music career in motion being from that part of the world?

Absolutely, to be successful in Australia, you really have to stand out quite a bit and work very hard because opportunities here are so limited. You have to go everywhere, to some super isolated country towns and play to tiny crowds. Overseas industry people aren’t that interested in the most part. The isolation can be good though; it seems to breed more unique bands because they don’t have any real blueprint to follow. You see the opposite in North America where lots of bands will just copy each other in every aspect.


I’m sure you guys are more than familiar with North Americans’ idea of Australia at this point. How accurate is our image of your homeland as a warm, kangaroo-filled paradise?

Probably very accurate; I used to ride in a kangaroo’s pouch to school and there’s about 100 different animals in my backyard that could kill me at any moment. The weather is pretty nice too.


I admittedly don’t know very much about Australia, but I will say that I’m a big fan of a short-lived TV series from there called The Chaser’s War On Everything. Are you familiar at all with this phenomenal show?

I LOVE the Chaser!


Who would win in a fight: AC/DC, Wolfmother, or Parkway Drive?

Definitely Parkway Drive. Those guys look like spartan warriors.


Any additional words you’d like to leave with fans who are going to be reading this?

Hope you enjoy the new album and thanks for reading!

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