Northbound - Sound In The Signals Interview

We recently had the chance to interview Northbound. We discussed the new album, Soul Kiss, touring with State Champs, We The Kings, and Simple Plan, and the plans for next year.

First, thanks for the interview.
Not a problem. Thanks for caring to ask.

Your new album, ‘Soul Kiss’ just came out. Can you tell me a little about writing and recording the album?

We spent 6 weeks in Toronto with Sam Guaiana who has worked on a ton of records we really enjoy. It was our first time have somebody really really produce the band. He had lots of crazy/cool ideas. It was almost like working with another band member and that was a newer experience for me. Writing the album took about two years. I had about 20 passable songs and chose my favorite 10 when we got to Canada.

The first single from the album is “Hurt Today”. Can you tell me about writing that song specifically and why you chose it as the first single?

That was the first song I wrote for 'Soul Kiss' and I just feel like it really rounds out what to expect from the rest of the album in a good way. It's one of those songs that just came out on it's own. It wrote itself. For that reason and where it ended up sonically it felt like a logical first single choice.

The video for the song is really interesting and I like it a lot. How did you put it together and come up with the idea? Is that real money you’re burning in the video?

Thank you, the video idea was basically Andy's (my right hand man/guitar player). We had no time or budget to make a video so we just decided to do something simple. The paint and other insane parts were just things I did on the fly. And about the burning money, it may or not be real. Who cares?

I read that you did the artwork for the new album yourself. What was the concept for it and how long did you work on it?

I wish I had a more elegant answer- but we simply didn't have much time to go back and forth with artists so I decided to take it on myself. It was a pretty profound experience, honestly. I had a bit of a Bukowski moment and got piss drunk and made something. I scratched the album title into the paint, I spit on it, I used my hands; it felt very primitive and destructive and when I stepped away form the canvas I knew it had to be it. I cried while I made it. Not because it's a masterpiece but because It just felt so perfect for what it was.

You’ve had a busy year. You’re out on a big tour with Simple Plan, State Champs, and We The Kings, you released an EP, and have an album coming out. Has this been the biggest year for the band so far and how has it felt to get big touring opportunities?

I'd definitely say this is the year that I've decided that I am not matter what making the music thing happen. I've fully committed myself to the process and I spend every waking moment working on it. The big tours are amazing and humbling. We definitely have a lot of moments of "How the hell did we get here" moments. There's so much to learn from these big bands and it feels really good to be accepted and respected by them. Respect which I definitely felt like we had to earn. Having childhood role models tell you that you're on the right track is super validating.

I always think of Northbound as more of a solo project of yours, with a full band. I know you have a band out on the road. Has Northbound moved more towards being a full band and are the people out on the road with you on the album and/or do you think that would be something you’d be interested in pursuing in the future?

The more time goes on, the more I'm interested in pursuing a consistent lineup. This is the first time that I'm touring with everyone I made the record with and it definitely feels more natural in this state. I think it'll always be in that hybrid state between my solo project and a band, but I'd love to keep touring with this lineup.

What’s the process like when creating something by yourself and then inviting others to be part of it?

Honestly at first it was weird, but as I've gotten older I've gotten better at acknowledging my strengths and weaknesses. There's no more pride on stage or in the studio. If somebody can play something better than I can I just let them do it. The people in the band right now are such solid musicians that I don't feel up to par sometimes. Songwriting is my thing, shredding never will be- so I just let the shredders shred while I write the core of the songs.

You signed with Smartpunk Records. What made you decide to sign with them and how has your experience been so far on the label?

A major contributor was the fact that they come from the same DIY world I do. I have complete artistic freedom and they back up every decision I make. My experience has been wonderful and I feel very lucky to be in that family. I just feel like they really believe in the art and money comes second which is rare in this industry.

What are some of your plans for 2020?

Lots of touring. Some full band stuff and some acoustic stuff too. No more sitting still.

I guess that wraps it up. Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

Stream Soul Kiss.

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