Latest release: Discoveries (UNFD)
The last twelve months have been huge for Sydney’s Northlane. From relative obscurity in 2011 to being a household name among the Australian heavy music community, the band’s ride doesn’t look like ending soon with another two massive tours coming up. Fresh off a gruelling but rewarding visit to Canada and in the midst of more promo for their epic three months of national touring, guitarist Josh Smith spoke to Loud about keeping it real, achieving their goals and who his favourite band is…
You’ve been busy all year, but it seems the last few days have been extra busy for you.
Ha! Well, I’ve been doing a lot of [interviews]! (laughs). I moved house last week too, so I’ve been pretty flat out since I got home and I’m going away again in a day or two.
You must have trouble remembering what your house even looks like. For the next few months you aren’t even going to be home!
I won’t! (laughs) I haven’t been!
There’s a lot of people who probably didn’t know you at all twelve months ago, but you’ve done a lot of work getting to the level you’re currently at. Northlane didn’t just spring up out of nowhere like some people may believe.
Absolutely not man! We’ve done a lot of the hard yards and a lot of the shitty stuff to get where we are today. When we first started out we did a lot of regional touring because no one in the major cities was booking us. So there was plenty of nights in the van, not taking a shower for a week, all the usual stuff to get to where we are now. I think after Discoveries came out and our fanbase just exploded and people started taking notice there was an illusion that it happened overnight. Which is absolutely not the case.
The regional touring seems to have worked for you though. Most bands do it the other way around – city shows first, then regional ones.
It was more of a situation that we were forced into, because we really wanted to push this band as much as we could but we weren’t really given any opportunities at all. So we just made our own.
It’s paying off for you now. You’ve got a massive tour coming up with Parkway Drive and I Killed the Prom Queen. That’s gonna be huge.
Oh that’s just mind-blowing. I can’t believe that’s gonna be happening.
Then you’re going back to doing regional shows again, which is awesome because a lot of those people probably haven’t seen a show in a long time.
Absolutely! And to be honest, I’m just as excited about that tour, maybe even more. Because I really love to see the country that is Australia. It’s just gorgeous. And I love to play in those small towns, because people appreciate it so much. I know it means a lot to them that we make an effort to go out there. And you can really see that. It means a lot to the fans that we have out there that wouldn’t normally get to go and see the bands that they love anywhere closer than six hours away. So even though the rooms are smaller and the venues aren’t as good and it’s not that glamorous, it’s just as much fun. There’s so many great memories I have of doing tours like that – having barbecues on the beach and things like that. You just can’t replace it.
You’re taking In Hearts Wake out with you too. Adrian did a song with them on their album – is there any chance he’s going to jump up on stage and rip out the track during the tour?
I don’t know man! They haven’t asked him. But if they ask him I’m sure he will. We’ve actually known those guys for a very long time and we’ve done regional shows together when we’ve toured before so it’s gonna be like a trip down memory lane.
Then you no sooner finish that tour then you go out on Soundwave, which is of course going to be enormous.
Oh yeah man, that’s going to be the biggest crowd we’ve ever played to.
Is there any bands that you really want to see while you’re out on that festival?
Oh dude… Slayer are my favourite band. They’ve been my favourite band since I was about 11. You have no idea how pumped I am. When I heard that we had got Soundwave, the first thing that came into my head was, “Holy shit, I get to watch Slayer every night for, like, two weeks! And Metallica. And Anthrax! What more could I ask for?” I would have been happy enough with just a free pass to get in everywhere, but the fact that we’re playing it too is just so hard to believe.
It really has been a huge year for you, as you’ve also just come back from North America.
We toured Canada, yeah. Canada was really cool. At first it was a lot like when we’d just started out because no one really knew who we were. But as the tour developed we started seeing more Northlane fans at our shows and there was a few shows on that tour that were almost like playing at home, which was seriously surprising. But the cool thing about that tour was that it was also like doing a regional tour of Australia. There was a lot of small rooms and lot of smaller, remote places that we played in, which was really, really cool to do that in another country. I’m not sure there’s too many bands get the opportunity to do that. We got to see a lot of the country and play to a lot of the people. It was a very humbling experience to do that. Some of the shows were quite difficult but overall it was one of the best experiences of my life.
Well what’s next for Northlane? You’re about to tour with the biggest band in the country, you’re on the biggest festival in the country and you’re only on your first album!
Well, I think I could say what it’s leading towards, but I can’t say much about it! I can say that people will find out what Worldeater is pretty soon. There’s been a lot of conjecture about it, but I can’t say what it is. We’ve got a lot in the bag that needs to come out in the near future and a lot of people are gonna be very surprised and a lot will be very happy! But I can’t say too much about it.
Northlane is touring around Australia:
with Parkway Drive + I Killed the Prom Queen:
13/12 High School, Byron Bay NSW
14/12 Riverstage, Brisbane QLD
15/12 Hordern Pavilion, Sydney NSW
16/12 UC Refectory, Canberra ACT
17/12 Panthers, Newcastle NSW
19/12 Challenge Stadium, Perth WA
20/12 Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide SA
22/12 Festival Hall, Melbourne VIC
with In Hearts Wake:
10/1: Youth Activities Centre, Byron Bay NSW
11/1: Boambee Community Hall, Coffs Harbour NSW
12/1: The Loft, Newcastle NSW
13/1: Rhythm Boat Cruise, Sydney Harbour NSW
15/1: Oasis Centre, Wyong NSW
16/1: CWA Hall, Orange NSW
17/1: Koonanwarra Community Hall, Wollongong NSW
18/1: Neil Wilson Pavilion, Wodonga VIC
19/1: Mechanics Institute, Ballarat VIC
20/1: City Band Hall, Mt Gambier SA
21/1: Kulcha Shift, Warrnambool VIC
24/1: Kapunda Institute, Kapunda SA
25/1: West Whyalla Football Club, Whyalla SA
26/1: The Edge, Buronga NSW
27/1: Expo Centre, Dubbo NSW