Northlane have provided an in-depth Q&A and a series of photos to announce their return to the studio. This time around, they're back with Will Putney, who produced Singularity (2013), Node (2015), and the Equinox EP.
The studio we are recording in is a mansion that backs onto a beautiful state forest. We are living and recording here, it’s in a quiet, serene pocket in the woods of north New Jersey. It’s the most relaxed studio experience we’ve had to date. Plenty of sun, swims in the big backyard pool, we’ve been able to play cricket in the sun, daily bushwalks in the forest and seen many native animals like deer, bobcats, snakes and even a family of bears that I stumbled across (and almost shat my pants).
Drums have been tracked offsite in a log cabin, beautiful acoustics in that big open wooden room. Again with lots of sunlight, making it a bright and vibey experience. We all sleep in a big dorm room together, like school camp. It’s very cute.
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Will [Putney, producer], his wife Marissa and their dog Stampy also live here on the opposite side of the house. They’ve been incredibly accommodating and hospitable, it feels like we are staying with extended family. It’s a stark contrast to the old Belleville Machine Shop where we last did a record with Will. Everyone being so comfortable has made for a much more enjoyable experience which is rare when making a record, especially when we are away from home.
The last time we worked with Will on Node was a catalyst for change within the band. That recording experience shone a light on areas in which we needed to improve. It also opened our eyes to the concept of changing various aspects of pre-recording and recording. Ever since that session, we’ve been more open to refining our approach to writing and recording. This time around we’ve managed to put ourselves in a position where we were not only prepared but comfortable throughout the recording process, something completely new. Our relationships with one another have never been healthier, we are more open and honest with each other, and we’ve learned that behaving in such a way allows us to be more creative and critical with our output. Overall, we are much more open to change.
Like many people, I struggled quite a lot through the pandemic and the album definitely reflected that period. I was definitely feeling nervous getting back into writing for these new songs, but even after just a few tours and experiencing life again, I felt like I finally had something to say that wasn't just a negative expression of isolation. We've grown a lot, not only as a band, but as friends and it has led to an extremely collaborative writing and recording process. Recording has always come with a lot of stress and pressure, but this time around it has been really enjoyable. We take this so seriously, but it's so important to be in the moment and to have fun otherwise why are we even here?
For Alien, we were in a spot where we were very confident, we had a vision for what we wanted so we produced it ourselves. Felt like the right thing to do. Obsidian, however, was the polar opposite based on the circumstances of it being during the pandemic. Personally, I wasn't in a place where I was confident in what I was doing or had anything to say that was meaningful outside of turning inward and negative. Coming back to record with Will has been a breath of fresh air, especially in terms of working with someone we trust to give us a different perspective after only having our own for so long. Having people we trust getting the tracks down takes a lot of the pressure of recording off our shoulders and leaves us to just create.
We’ve cherry-picked our favourite sounds from Northlane’s discography. This new music feels like a refined version of everything we’ve done up until now, and a step into the future for us, finding even more new avenues to explore.
We last worked with Will in Australia for the Equinox EP and the time before that was probably in 2014 recording Node. We decided to work with Will again because we were after a sound that was a little less polished and more aggressive sounding for the music we were writing.
Will isn’t afraid to push certain elements in a track for an effect, and I was eager to see how he would work more electronic elements since we last worked together. Will is also great at interpreting a part, whether instrument or lyrics/vocals and streamlining it so anyone can appreciate it. He and I actually have quite similar brains. Many times throughout the process, he would go quiet and start doing something within the computer, and I would say my thoughts on it, and he would be like, “I was thinking the exact same thing, I’m doing it right now”, haha.
We have some BIG surprises in store. We've worked with incredible guests, some of the most influential artists in the history of Northlane. Having them agree to take part in these songs was absolutely mind-blowing.