Hard work pays off. Northlane are living proof of this statement. Last year’s acclaimed ‘Singularity’ – user voted number #1 Killyourstereo.com Australian album of the Year – will be released as a deluxe edition this May. With Free Your Mind on the horizon, we quickly caught up with guitarist Josh Smith to chat about it all.
Before we delve into upcoming events, let’s talk about where the band currently is. It feels, to an outsider, like Northlane got real popular, real quick, does it feel like that internally?
To be honest with you, no it doesn’t. What you see now started off around four years ago and in the early days especially things weren’t always so rosy. It took two years of releasing music independently and doing our own regional tours to get noticed by a label, and from then onwards it still feels like an uphill battle. We only started breaking even as a business well after Discoveries was released and as an Australian band, taking the next step to become an international act is like being a small fish in a big tank all over again. Right now there’s still so much work we feel like we have to do and goals we want to achieve. Yes, things are going far better than we anticipated but there’s a long way to go until we will be satisfied.
In retrospect, what have the reactions been to ‘Singularity’? Particularly on the recent overseas trip.
The effect of the record has been far-reaching in a way we never thought possible. We just got back from a three month trip overseas and played some of the best Northlane shows ever in places as far away as Finland, Poland and even Spain, and it was the first time we visited those places. We never thought releasing Singularity would spread our name around the globe in the way that it has and at such a fast pace. Needless to say, we couldn’t be happier.
The deluxe edition comes out soon. Looking back to previously, was there anything different about the way you approached the recording process or the actual process itself?
Yes, well to be honest we were extremely rushed and under-prepared when we hit the studio, in fact three tracks off the record were written in the studio in time we’d allocated to tracking. With Discoveries we had a lot more time to prepare. I guess the difference was that with Singularity we had a far better idea of how we wanted to record to sound and what kind of stuff had worked on the road as we had a lot more touring under our belt. Having this sort of direction definitely made it easier to get the result we ended up with.
If you had to say the band fit into a “scene,” which would it be? Do scenes even exist anymore from your point of view?
This is a pretty hard question, I think scenes do exist to an extent, especially at a local level but as a band grows, both in popularity and musically, “scenes” become less and less important or recognisable. This is because you’re increasingly playing to music fans rather than fans of a certain sub-genre. You can see how this alters the music bands put out over the course of their careers, usually every record becomes more and more unique to their sound as they progress.
It seems to be necessary to have some sort of release gimmick these days, which doubles as an illegal download prevention.
My manager and I came up with an elaborate viral campaign that worked pretty damn well [for ‘Singularity’ last year]. The idea wasn’t to prevent illegal downloads though, there’s not much you can do about that except embrace it because if your music is good, it will reach new fans around the globe without you having to do anything at all.
What does the rest of this year hold for the band?
We have our headline tour/mini fest coming up soon – Free Your Mind 2014. After that’s over we will be writing a new record for the remainder of the year.