Monumental, Passionate and Exciting… Here’s Our Interview with Northlane

Nowadays we’re seeing human rights being vanished and our dear planet Earth being slowly shattered by human kind’s cruelty and lack of awareness. When will come the time for a change? When will come the time for people to stand up together against all that? Those questions are debated on the new Northlane’s album, Node. With Marcus Bridge as the new vocalist, the band releases the most self-conscious and also the most dynamic record to date, where melody and heaviness meet for a great cause. In a time where the guys are prepared to do their first headline European tour, we chatted with Marcus about his entry on the band, the whole process to fit in and the concept behind Node.

You were recently hospitalized and you went through surgery. How are you recovering from that?
Not too bad, I just was in the hospital for a couple of days, but got out and I’m now home and resting. [laughs] I’m feeling a lot better now.

You guys announced a web-wide puzzle to reveal the new track “Leech” and it took less than 12 hours for your fans to crack the puzzle. Were you expecting such quick response to that challenge?
Not really, I was expecting to be really quick because even in my short time in the band I’ve seen how quick things fans can do… we were amazed that they could figure out in such a short time. It was pretty surprising. We have pretty dedicated fans that got stuff like that done quickly. [laughs]

Now that you released your new album, which it’s your first album with Northlane, how do you feel about that and being part of Northlane?
It’s been pretty exciting since it started with me joining the band to where things are now. All happened really quickly, but it came along the way… It’s so weird to think that… I was just at home kind of doing nothing while I was in the studio recording an album and all that was pretty surreal. [laughs] It’s been really fun. I mean, Josh writes a lot of the vocals and things like that… Josh wrote all the lyrics and we kind of got together and it felt so good working on the melodies and how the vocals would stood out in the songs… It was a really cool way of working together and Josh just kind of put all of his focus to the lyrics where I could be able to talk about focusing melodies and stuff and make better songs.

After Adrian Fitipaldes left Northlane, the band went through an audition process to find a new vocalist. How did you get in the picture?
There was the whole process of people sending their auditions and when they heard mine, they sent me a couple of emails during the whole process… I tried out with a few friends of mine that helped me play, and so gave that a go and I got in touch with the band for a little while and after that they wanted to meet up again. We did that and this is it. It’s been like the perfect match, instantly really quickly and really crazy, so it’s been really positive and when you get along with someone that you meet like that and all that happens really quickly with new people is really crazy. [laughs] It’s been fun and awesome.

The song “Rot” was the first song you wrote together and then it was released right after that. How was that for you?
Yeah, that was pretty insane. Even throughout the whole process of recording, the song wasn’t completely finished, but we were kind of still changing things at the very last minute. With the rest of the vocals, originally it would have been three drops and go, really how many times we changed the song… There’s a longer and different version of how this turned out to be. Yeah, we worked quite a lot to make it perfect with the first song, which is pretty intimidating at first and probably doing a lot more like heavy vocals stuff, I suppose. That was a brand new sound… It was scary because it was the first thing that people would think about us, but people turned out to love the song and it was received really well. [laughs]

Just before you guys went to record the new album, you went on a tour with the band. Was it scary for you?
Yeah. I think that you kind of learn a lot on the road, can’t really learn on home or just in the studio or whatever… I think all around my vocals got a lot stronger. Since I’ve started I’ve been training a lot and it was pretty surprising for me at least to see how far has come since then. It was pretty crazy how far we have come in such a short time.


“We’re influenced by a lot of stuff from the 90’s like Linkin Park or Limp Bizkit and stuff like that… It’s all over the place, I suppose, but it’s a cool mix of stuff that we like.”

The new record is sort of a new page for the band and it feels like a turning point record. It has more depth, dynamics, ambience and even more clean vocals. As a whole, it’s definitely a step forward in Northlane’s discography. What was the mindset going into writing Node?
All of their albums already have been quite different from each other, and I think this is quite of a big leap. But I think going into it just kind of writing what would suit my voice and I just decided to try to write what we heard. For us to write and going with what was best of what we can do. I think that Jon as well has been writing a lot simpler but is also what’s been written is very complex, like this sounds super professional sound, but is also very influenced by a lot of other stuff and it’s not necessarily heavy music, I suppose. We’re influenced by a lot of stuff from the 90’s like Linkin Park or Limp Bizkit and stuff like that… It’s all over the place, I suppose, but it’s a cool mix of stuff that we like. [laughs]

On this record you approach themes about how you guys see the world and how much love you have for it, but things aren’t always so great within society and you express that as well. Can you enlighten us about the lyrical content?
Josh wrote all the lyrics which is a cool way of doing everything. A few songs can be taken into everyone’s lives very personally, really personally I suppose, like stuff around us. “Impulse” is a song that focus on how to be part of a lot of technology and how that isn’t necessarily a good thing. Everything is taken for granted nowadays and people kind of end up living this fake life behind the screen. It’s kind of the craziest thing, you can see a baby holding iPads and it’s becoming a normal thing to have that in our lives since a very young age. It’s really crazy how it depends on who we are, you know what I mean? Like how helpless some people can be without it now just because they’re never really interacted properly. Overall, there’s a lot of other things that you can apply in life, a lot of the things… I think the other things are just kind stuck in my head. [laughs] It’s an overall theme… There’s a lot of messed up stuff in the world and we can’t really do a whole lot about it, showing that a lot can be done if you put the effort in it and if you feel like doing it.

You sing in the title-track, “You can be the change,” and the motto “be the change in the world that you want to see” sure applies on this song and in the whole record. What was the inspiration behind this song?
Node itself means a point where multiple parts meet or intersect and it’s a just a cool energy of being connected and also I suppose for us, at least for me, is like a representation of me coming to join the band and set my own new path after coming together and through that process we are unite and then make a difference.

Node is a particularly meaningful name, which is about the power of human connection. Tell me more about the idea behind this name.
As one person, I suppose people can feel pretty small and I actually think that people can do something or make a change in our world. Even today, I suppose, it’s a pretty amazing thing to see how in the US that has now legalized the gay marriage and stuff like that is something that has taken years and years for people to come together and support and encourage that change. The government now changed the rules and it’s pretty insane. Stuff like that show that when you come together you can make a difference when you thought you couldn’t and that is happening. It’s really moving forward by coming together and trying to make a difference.

“Obelisk” is the lead single of the new album and you released it with a video shot in Western Australia earlier this year. I read that the video examines the concepts of time and space. What can you tell me more about that?
I suppose this song kind of represents how we’re able to live in a world that is we’re gonna really live in forever. Once you die, you’re going to take with you the impact you had in the world, the memories that you’ve made. When you die you’re not going to be able to take your money or your house or whatever… It’s just best to not spend your life worrying about a lot of stuff and you should focus on really doing what you love. It’s pulling your heart really, because it’s pretty hard to live doing what you don’t love.


“… when you come together you can make a difference when you thought you couldn’t and that is happening.”

Off this record, is there a song that stands out the most for you?
For me, there are two. I really like “Nameless” which is a crazy track for Northlane to be doing. [laughs] I also like “Animate”. That song have been stuck in my head for the whole process of recording. For me that’s the one that sets the album as a whole, I suppose. It’s spacey and weird. [laughs] I really like that one just because is quite different. I’m interested to see what everyone else is gonna think of it.

You released a limited edition boxset that features eleven 7” vinyl records and each one has a different cover artwork. What can you tell me about this special edition?
I was shocked with that because I’ve never seen anything like it. [laughs] The thing with the symbols for each song … we just started thinking that would be cool to link the songs with the symbols… It’s just a cool way of representing us as in the first video. [laughs] The boxset is so cool, I just think it is the coolest thing. [laughs] It’s insane.

This was the third time that the guys worked with producer Will Putney and it was your first time. How was the recording process with Putney?
It was pretty good! Working with Will was really good and laid back, having the guys work with him before, it was just a bit easy for us, like everybody going into the studio and it only takes a little while to fill out to produce us and to see how he is and how to approach it from there. But because they have the experience, it was kind of like the right thing to do. He has a really cool way of working, like how he did the vocals was really cool because we did like pretty much one song a day like the final recordings. Recording the main vocals to one song, the backing vocals for another song, and then that the next day as well. It was good to kind of taking it easy and what not. Yeah, he had some really cool ideas. It was really great to work with him.

You guys will play your first ever European headline tour in October. What are you the most excited about it?
It’s all very exciting, the whole tour is going to be pretty mental! It’s such a good line-up. It’s weird to play side by side with those guys. Playing a headline tour and planning long sets of new music as well, which is really exciting. I know that the Europeans are excited to hear us play a little more than a half hour. [laughs] We’re really excited to get everywhere and do a lot more than that.

Which songs off the new record do you guys like to play the most live?
We haven’t had much chance of playing many of them live, but probably “Obelisk” and “Ra”, I think they’re really fun to play live. It was weird when we were trying to rehearsal all, I was thinking about “Ra” is a lot easier than “Obelisk” [laughs] but I’m really excited to start playing “Leech”. It’s exciting to play all these new songs live. [laughs]

What do you guys usually listen to while on tour?
We all listen to a lot of different and funny stuff, like I listen to other stuff like Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson… There’s a lot of random stuff. There’s heavy stuff here and there, but it’s kind of cool to have a bit of diversity in it and mix it up. It kind of makes the cool ideas when you’re writing. You kind of have these different influences.

And what records have you been into lately?
I’ve been listening to the new Twenty One Pilots’ album Blurryface, I’ve been listening to that non-stop in the last couple of weeks. It’s really awesome. [laughs] Now there are a lot of other people picking up on the fact that they’re really pretty good. That’s good to see. [laughs]

Words by Andreia Alves // Pictures by Tobias Sutter
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