Northlane

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Northlane recently pulled off a coup of epic proportions, releasing their latest album MESMER on an unsuspecting public with a minimum of fuss.

In the lead up to the March 24 release, Northlane released a video and facebook bot which basically gave away nothing, but teased at the imminent release of something special.

It was a risk that has paid dividends seeing fans of the band being taken wholly by surprise with the release, with vocalist Marcus Bridge revealing it was a well crafted plan.

“We were talking about it at UNIFY and someone came up to me with this bot on their phone and started showing me these ideas,” he explained. “Josh and everyone at UNIFY are all masterminds at all this viral, crazy stuff but I had never heard of a bot so I was blown away. We created it with the aim of sending people off in different directions with the MESMER sampler we put out. We wanted to present it in a way that didn’t come off like it was necessarily something from a metal band. We just wanted to create a piece of art that would not deter you if you weren’t a fan of heavy music. The dropping of ‘Citizen’ through the bot was kind of funny and ironic in a way that the song touches on the fact of being under surveillance and information being taken and used against us. It was just something different and it went down well.”

“For us we’ve always wanted to do something different in terms of releasing a record,” he continued. “Plus this time around we wanted to do it as kind of a gift or act of faith for all the fans who have stuck around and supported us. It’s that idea of when you pre order an album and fork out anywhere up to $100 and don’t get the actual album for a couple of months so we wanted to make this special and a little bit sneaky as well. We wanted to just drop a surprise for everyone.”

The teaser video was extremely vague and misleading, with even the most ardent of fans hard pressed to find any direct link to it being for an upcoming album.

“We made it deliberately as a form of misdirection,” Bright said. “By the end of the ‘Citizen’ video we are in a box and that’s a representation of a return to the older vibe and I guess in relation to being controlled. The ones finding out this information are the ones being persecuted and getting in trouble when it’s really the government that is corrupt and taking all of this stuff from us. There’s nothing in that directly but there’s stuff in the MESMER clip that will come up in the future.”

The overall theme of MESMER is a little darker in tone to previous albums, with Bright revealing a deeper, more personal side to his lyrics than on his first album with the band, Node.

“With this album there’s a lot of subject matters that we’ve touched on before but they have really shown their head this time around,” he revealed. “There’s a lot of themes of death and loss. There has been a bit of stuff that’s happened in the last couple of years whether it be personal or with friends of ours who have lost loved ones and it’s about coming to terms with that loss. There’s a lot more of a personal touch in this one which I am excited about. It’s always an intimidating thing revealing so much and this is the first time I have had that chance to be really open and… vulnerable. There’s a couple of songs on this record that are almost emo but it’s stuff that people can relate to and may have felt before through the loss of something very important. It’s something that has touched a lot of us in the last couple of years and it was very therapeutic to get that stuff out.”

 

After being thrust into the thick of touring and recording when he joined the band not long before Node, Bright admits that for his second album as front man for Northlane the whole process was more rewarding.

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“Absolutely,” he enthused. “With Node I was five or six months into being with the band with three or four of those months being on the road and rehearsing so there was very little time to prepare and hone in ideas. As well as that I was still trying to find my feet just performing because it was such a different environment to any band I had been in before so I was definitely finding my place through that whole period. I’m so proud of what we did with Node and I’m stoked with how it all went down but this time we’ve had a couple of years to gel and play together a lot more and it all felt much more comfortable. I was able to present more personal ideas on this album than I have before. It was a bit nerve-racking because I hadn’t done it before and I wasn’t sure if it was going to be the right fit for Northlane but once I presented some of the more personal ideas to the band they were all excited which gave me a lot more confidence to express more of that side of me. I think people are going to find more they can relate to in their own minds be it through loss or whatever it may be and hopefully helps them deal with it.”

When ‘Citizen’ was released recently, public opinion was divided over the softer tone of the song, particularly some of the cleaner vocals, with some fans going as far as to calling for the return of original vocalist Adrian Fitipaldes. Rather than be hurt by this response, Bright is more forgiving, saying fans are entitled to their opinion and reminding us that this is not the view of the majority.

“Not really,” he replied when asked if the comments hurt. “Northlane prior to me were such a prolific band and I was a big, big fan before I joined as well and I understand where they are coming from. It’s great because it shows how passionate these guys are about the music but in the end this is my second album with the band – it’s been three or four years now – so it is fading. There’s always gonna be people that are passionate. You see it with a lot of bands that have changed singers and they still get that after ten years. It’s just something that’s always gonna be around because fans get attached but you can’t let it get to you.”

When it comes to fans mixed reaction of the song itself, Bright has another view.

“The funny thing is we always get a mixed reaction,” he laughed. “I think in this day and age you will see four or five articles a week discussing how everyone is torn on a song. I think people like to focus more on the negative than the positive but we have also been receiving so much positive feedback as well but that’s not news. You see articles where people are cracking the shits over new songs from bands like Linkin Park and that’s news apparently. It doesn’t really bother us. We have a lot of supportive fans that are excited and you can’t let the few people that are being negative bring the whole vibe down.”

Since joining Northlane, Bright has brought a cleaner sound vocally to many songs, which is another point of discussion for some fans, but he says this is a direction that was premeditated long before he assumed vocal duties.

“I think it has always been a direction that Northlane were going to head in whether with me or not,” he mused. “When I joined the band they had eight or nine songs that became most of Node so musically it was always headed in that direction and this is the way to compliment it. A lot of parts on Node we felt were over the top screaming on the whole thing but I think with MESMER it is a bit of a take back to the old Northlane sound. There’s more riffs than on Node which I’m stoked about and I think we have found that middle ground between old Northlane and the newer sounding stuff. With Node it was rushed and we were on the road for the most part so this time around we wanted to hone in and focus on the things that made Northlane special but also bring in the new flavor. I’m so proud of what we’ve done with this.”

Written by Kris Peters

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