2 August. If you’re a Northlane fan, this is the most important date you’ll need to remember this year, of course other than the October date you managed to get a ticket to, for the band’s monstrous Australian Tour.
The experimental Sydney-siders have continued to stretch the boundaries of metalcore and have really and truly cemented vocalist Marcus Bridge into the band, who’s now released more albums with the band than his predecessor Adrian Fitipaldes, who was a cog in the wheel of breaking through Australian metal with their debut record Singularity. And even though Northlane give the OG fans a sliver of that era at live shows, it doesn’t even matter when a vocalist of Bridge’s calibre embodies the presence of a metal god who has been performing for decades.
As the band evolved from Node through to Mesmer, it seemed like they were peaking, and simply couldn’t possibly excel much further.
Then they released ‘Vultures’ and ‘Talking Heads’.
The metal world stopped. Northlane are back. They took a little break after the Mesmer tour cycle, and thankfully so, as the rest and recovery replenished the band’s understandable exhaustion.
Well that’s enough of an intro, right? You’re ready to hear what’s going on with Northlane, and in particular Marcus – the mastermind behind the intense lyrical themes on their upcoming record Alien (our 10/10 review here). The frontman shared some time with us between their recent shows in Japan.
This is not a deep dive into Bridge’s past though, this is just a tribute, well mainly because The Guardian have it covered here, in a very candid and honest fashion. We’re proud of the guys to get some airtime with a mainstream media channel like this, particularly with the prevalent issues discussed in Bridge’s past.
“It’s not something you’d ever really expect to see (in The Guardian). With our kind of music, especially” Bridge tells us, “and this is the heaviest kind of thing we’ve done in a while” he says with a double-entendre to the lyrics and the music.
Despite the sense of unusualness, he (and we) are stoked he got out there. “It shows an important story that people can relate to, and also reach that mainstream which is quite shocking for me. The stories that this album tell is an important step for a mainstream outlet.”
The Guardian reveals a sense of pain and expression in Bridge’s lyrical writing style for Alien which no doubt surfaces some extreme emotions that can be difficult to manage musically, although cathartic. We see bands like Beartooth and Paramore among a plethora of others who, these days, are becoming more and more open with personal darkness and experience, with a two-fold outcome – destigmatising shit that happens to us and not talking about it, but also being artists that find a mechanism to deal with their pasts through a cathartic outlet.
“When we were writing it was kind of a difficult situation, the hardest part was bringing up the stories again and trying to put them into words.”
We all know music can be therapeutic, but sometimes it can be like opening pandora’s box. “These are the memories I have coming to the surface, they are very vivid and putting them into a song is not that easy. During the process of writing, it’s difficult but it did help in that I could talk about it with (the band)” he says, in order to solidify “these ideas and the situations I wanted to talk about.”
When asking Bridge how he thinks this will translate when performing some of these tracks live, he admits it may be challenging but relates to some of his peers on the scene.
“I think it’s good and will be a slow process but I’ve been seeing a lot of musicians do it lately from a variety of levels of popularity”, mentioning an example that really stood out. “Hayley Williams from Paramore released After Laughter a couple of years ago and she’s still fighting a couple of feelings on that album.”
Despite the cost of unraveling one’s past, the positive does seem to outweigh the less positive. “It’s not about expressing those feelings to finish feeling that way, but you have to let that level of energy out, so it’s a big release to be able to get those songs out.”
As the conversation changes pace, Marcus talks with us about the Australian heavy music scene. We’re so impressed with the calibre of music engineered in our backyards, and we’ve noticed that some of the best heavy music on the planet comes from our isolated (not so little island), and it begs the question – why is that?
“I think it’s just the fact that in Australia you have to be doing something special and unique to get noticed”, and so people do. “Before I was in Northlane (even I) saw that in them, they had a very special energy and you hear that across so many different Australian bands”
Bridge couldn’t have said it better, and even with so much humility, as he shies away from acknowledging the band’s more recent success that he’s largely responsible for. “It’s a fight to get out of Australia, you gotta really wanna do something special and I think we’re also influenced from so many different parts of the world, from heavy music and just music generally.”
The soaring vocalist reflects on household names like Parkway Drive and The Amity Affliction. “I think we get a broad range of popular music to influence us and put this unique sound on, but these bands have always worked incredibly hard to push their sound and be the best bands they can be.”
“Definitely an Aussie battler attitude.”
As you probably know, Northlane’s gigantic Australian tour is coming up in October, an anecdote to their shooting status in comparison to the idols Bridge refers to. The band usually bring down a tight lineup, and this time are bringing down not one, but two international support bands – Counterparts and Silent Planet. But that’s not enough, so they’ve grabbed Void of Vision to join the party too, and yes it’s going to be stupid big.
“We wanted to make sure this was a very special tour and something that made sense. All these bands we’re playing with from around the world are bands that we love, and bands we think are doing amazing stuff. Everyone involved on this tour is meant to be here.”
We’re all looking forward to Northlane’s triumphant album release and tour cycle. We had a great time chatting with Marcus, even if he disagrees with us about Vinnie Chase from Entourage being his ultimate doppelganger. Tell us what you think in the comments.
Interview by Ricky Aarons @rickysaul90
Alien is out Friday via UNFD, Pre-Order it here
Northlane – Alien tracklisting
1. Details Matter
4. Talking Heads
Catch the boys on tour for Alien below
Northlane – Album Launch Show
Friday, August 2nd @ Yah Yah’s, Fitzroy – 8pm
Alien Australian Tour
with Counterparts, Silent Planet and Void of Vision
Northlane – Alien Australian Tour
with Counterparts, Silent Planet & Void of Vision
Friday 11 October – UNSW Roundhouse, Sydney
Saturday 12 October – Triffid, Brisbane – SOLD OUT
Thursday 17 October – 170 Russell, Melbourne – NEW SHOW
Friday 18 October – 170 Russell, Melbourne – SOLD OUT Saturday 19 October – Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide – SOLD OUT
Sunday 20 October – Capitol, Perth