Sydney metallers Northlane are on a swift rise. 2012 saw the band tour Canada, support Parkway Drive/I Killed the Prom Queen and drop a crushing new single. With their ‘Worldeater’ tour just wrapping up, Killyourstereo.com caught up with vocalist Adrian Fitapaldes to talk music, the band’s upcoming Soundwave and Push Over festival spots, and playing breakdowns on a boat.
Hey Adrian, how’s it going?
Good Kane, how are you?
Not too bad thanks mate.
You’re about ¾ of the way through the ‘Worldeater’ tour. How have the shows been so far?
Really, really good man. We’ve actually been quite overwhelmed with some of the responses. Especially recently in Warrnambool and Mt Gambier. The shows have been great.
I was watching some of the footage on YouTube of the performance you did on the boat at Sydney Harbour. How was that show?
That was awesome. On the day, I said it felt a bit more like a journey than a show. It was just an awesome event and you could tell everyone there was going to remember it for a really long time and we’ve created some new experiences and memories that day. So I think everyone was just stoked that it was a bit of a different show as opposed to your regular community hall or something like that.
Obviously hardcore shows are more intense than less serious sort of shows when people just stand there. Were the security and boat crew cool with people jumping up and down and hanging off the rafters?
Yeah, it was a bit intense to happen on a boat. There were kids still moshing and people going wild and the security guards and boat staff were actually really tolerant of it except when kids were climbing on the mast and stuff like that. They were like, “you can guys can do anything you want, besides that.” I think they were just worried about people getting hurt.
It has probably been a year and a half since we last talked to you guys and just seeing the rise from where you were then to where you are now. How does that make you feel?
It makes me feel very humbled generally because we never expected any of this to happen. We’ve achieved things that some would say are beyond our dreams and anything we could’ve ever imagined would happen – touring with Parkway Drive and also getting on this year’s Soundwave line-up. I’m very happy about it all and very positive and we all are as well. And it just feels good because we did put a lot of effort in and a lot of hard work and it is good to see it pay off. [But] not only that we had some help from people like our booking agent Tom Johannesen and also luckily be able to get hooked up with our record label UNFD, who have had a massive role in our success, we owe a lot of it to them. But also, not forgetting our hard work paying off. We are proud, but not too proud, but we are proud of our hard work. We are happy with it, we are very humbled by it.
For sure. Because when you mention that and the support you got, I know early on, when you guys were really young and starting out you had to do a lot on your own. How hard was that?
To give you an idea, we were pictured as quite the underdog and I think we still are [albeit] maybe in a higher league now. But, we were very much the underdogs at the start and we put a lot of money into our first album ‘Discoveries’ and after we recorded it, we had no label interest, all this money we had just spent, we had no distribution, we had no management, and we were undecided or it was unclear about the future of Northlane. If this album didn’t work for us, I hate to say it, we might’ve called it quits because we all had a lot going on in our lives. Two of us were at university at the time and a lot of us had secure jobs as well, and not to mention other musical projects that could’ve been in our sights. But, luckily enough we did land a deal with UNFD in Australia and that was the catalyst for us. For me personally, I dropped out of uni, Josh dropped out of uni and we all lost numerous amounts of jobs to do this. So the sacrifice and struggle hasn’t just been in finding a label and management interest, it has also been in our financial situation personally because of being fired from jobs for being away and not meeting availability standards. And also, to add onto that, family pressure. I’ll admit it, I got kicked out of home for two weeks because I dropped out of uni for the band. It was probably one of the darkest points of my life. Luckily, things panned out and I ended up going home, but that’s just to give you an idea of the struggle and sacrifice we went through.
That sounds intense. I know you talked about the hardships you had and you were mentioning before that you had the Parkway and Prom Queen shows last year. When you tour with bands like that, that have been around for a while, how much experience and knowledge do you feed off them?
Good question. Because a lot of people when they think about Parkway Drive and the chance to tour with them, they automatically assume that “you guys are awesome and living the dream,” which it is, it is a great opportunity. But, what I find in playing with bigger bands like Parkway is the perfect chance to be even more humble and realise that you’re like a primary schooler going to high school and you might’ve thought you were big kids in the local scene, but when it goes to the international scene you are only just starting out. And, you get reminded every single night that Parkway have a legion and an army of fans that are willing to die for them and it’s very humbling just to witness such an amazing performance every night and use that in order to keep motivated and keep raising the bar for ourselves.
After Soundwave you’ve got Push Over and it seems like a bit of a homecoming for the UNFD roster, with the likes of Hand of Mercy, In Hearts Wake, Dream On Dreamer etc.
Yeah, it does feel a bit like that. Soundwave is going to be awesome and taking us across the country, but it will be nice to have that show to come back to with all our mates bands and I feel it’s going to be more a party than a festival. I think it’s going to live up to the term “festival” hopefully.
On the topic of tours, how was the Canadian tour last year?
The Canadian tour was awesome. We toured with Obey the Brave, Stray from the Path, Counterparts and Backtrack. All North American bands. It was easily one of the best experiences for Northlane. All were quite hardcore bands, we’re more a hybrid genre, with more metal influence and a technical, progressive influence and aspect to our music even though we still have the hardcore element in there. It was very nice, because in Australia there is a bit of a division between the hardcore and metal scene and I think it’s a bit like that everywhere. But, when we joined this tour being the opening band, we were really stoked, because even the most hardcore of the hardcore, street hardcore bands were treating us with respect and liked what we were doing and were really friendly. Everyone just got along. We felt like we belonged on that tour and not like were that Australian band from overseas that no one knows and things like that, it didn’t feel like that at all. We felt very welcomed and by the audience as well. There were people who knew the words, maybe not all, but maybe there were 5 or 10 are each show that were singing their hearts out and that was really warming because we go over to a different country expecting nothing. We got some energy and we got a lot of excitement, which we were really happy about.
What’s the plans for 2013 after these shows? Are you going to be writing?
Johnny (Deiley) our guitarist writes the majority of music and I write the lyrics, and also Nic (Pettersen) writes the drums. Being musicians we are constantly in the lab trying to write stuff. After this tour, post Worldeater tour, I personally and I’m sure a few of the other boys are going to be working a little bit just to put more money into our instruments and our hobbies and our relationships. Just try and be comfortable. We still have to work our jobs – we aren’t rich and famous yet (laughs).
We’re going to spend a bit of time working and going back to a normal lifestyle for a bit. And then, Soundwave and then we’ve got something coming. I can’t tell you what it is or when it is, but we’ve got something lurking in the shadows waiting to be revealed and it’s going to come out soon.
And this is just a basic question, but you’ve played on the boat recently and you’ve played at a surf store. Are there any other obscure places you’d like Northlane to play?
I haven’t played a skate park in a long time. The last time I played a skate park, I was probably about 15-16. That’s something that’s usually pretty cool when a lot of people rock up. I’m not sure what else. I would love to play a house show again, definitely! There’s nothing more hardcore than a house show. There’s just something about 50 to 100 people packed into a house, with drinks and food going everywhere that has a real punky feel to it and I’d love to re-live that experience.
Before we let you go, any final words you wanted to pass on?
Anyone who supports Northlane thank you so much we really appreciate it and we are trying our absolute to keep raising the bar and raising the standards for everyone. And, all we ever want to do is make Australia proud, and our families and our friends. And continue supporting, we won’t let anyone down, we promise.
Excellent, thanks for the interview today and I hope the rest of the tour goes well for you.
No worries Kane, thank you so much.