Northlane’s Josh Smith Talks New Music And Headlining Full Tilt

Adelaide, we hope you’re ready to go Full Tilt! That’s right, Australia’s most exciting new Alternative music festival is heading our way! Tickets are literally flying out the door with this epic line up. Uniting from across the nation is a who’s who of the Australian Metal, Punk and Rock spectrums, spearheaded by ever evolving metalcore luminaries and Aria Award winners Northlane.

Northlane are excited to headline Full Tilt this June/July, where they’ll perform Clockwork live for the first time. Until then, the band will be bunkered down hard at work on their sixth album. While it’s been challenging to write during a pandemic, Northlane have adapted and have a bank of demos ready to go. Josh Smith talks to Hi Fi Way about Full Tilt and how the new album is shaping up.

Great news that Full Tilt is almost here and you must be looking forward to headlining this one?
Playing live has been a long time coming for us and we’re excited to be finally able to get back out on the road again.

Has it been frustrating for the band losing that momentum during COVID after working so hard to build things up?
I don’t think it really slowed us down. At this stage in our career it is fine because our last record Alien did really well and people are still listening to it. It gave us a lot of perspective, it is going to hurt a lot of artists that are a bit earlier in the careers and still developing on their first or second albums but for us it hasn’t been that bad. We took a few months off and started working on new material which we will have to do anyway so while it is terrible and we had some really awesome stuff planned which we couldn’t do, it wasn’t the end of the world for us. The timing we were really lucky with because we still got to take Alien on the road and we had a sold out world tour that. Everything went to plan and that was ok. Others have had it far worse than us.

Having that luxury of time to write the next album must have been a nice silver lining in all this?
Yeah, every band is doing it as far as I know at the moment but we had to take that time any way. We’re actually recording it right now.

How is the recording going?
It is very early days but we’re in a beautiful location in the Dandenong Ranges and staying in this gorgeous house doing it here. It is really nice!

Do you feel the weight of expectation with the follow up to Alien?
We felt that in the past when we were a much younger band but these days we don’t let it weigh on us because we are focused on creating the best art we can create, focusing on getting our songs as good as we can and making it sound as best we can. All those other things are just external pressures that as an artist are really harmful to focus on because it takes your eye off the ball.

Are the songs mapped out before recording them or do they evolve in the studio?
Every album it turns out different, some albums we’re scrambling to finish in the studio. When we did Alien everything was pretty much finalised before we went in to put it to tape. This time it is fifty fifty, the music is pretty much all written, the vocals are not, they are currently being finished and recorded as they are finished. We have a fair bit under our belts already but there’s still work to do. It has been very difficult for Marcus to feel inspired while COVID has been going on and it has been a struggle for him. To come in to this environment has given him the clarity he needed to focus and get it all done.

Is Clockwork a gauge of what to expect from the album?
Yeah, the album isn’t done so I can’t comment on it too much but it’s a lot broader than that particular song in terms of how it sounds. I guess it is, that song was picked from a bunch of songs for this record so it is a good indicator.

Has it been good to reconnect as a band again in the studio?
Yeah, you have to create that environment and we have done that this time. Staying somewhere that is just beautiful and comfortable with plenty of space. We have the time that we need. Other records we have done in uncomfortable environments and you manage.

Playing at Full Tilt will that be greatest hits or will you try out some new songs?
I never like to comment on what songs we are going to play. We haven’t actually put our set together for it as we have to finish this album first. That’s next on the list. You’re likely right and it probably will be weighted towards Alien and we’ll debut Clockwork at the festival. Every band on the bill is brilliant and most of them are close friends of ours, we have headlined festivals before and know what is expected of us. We’re going to do our absolute best to put on a brilliant show for everyone.

Are there any bands that you’re looking forward to seeing?
Hands Like Houses are friends of ours, In Hearts Wake we did a split EP with and toured the world with, Thy Art Is Murder is an unbelievable band and Make Them Suffer… the heavy stuff is what I really like but every band on the bill is worth seeing.

Interview By Rob Lyon

Catch Northlane at Full Tilt, tickets from Destroy All Lines

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