A Brief Chat with North
Matt Bacon got the chance to meet up for a chat with prog/doom/other band North, a band that never hesitates to bring in weird and fresh ideas into their music and who constantly inspire the listener with unique twists and turns. Fighting genre tags and constantly pushing for something greater these dudes made for a fascinating interview where they really got to get into the nature of what they are creating.
What is your favorite aspect of Conan frontman Jon Paul Davis?
Evan (E): The dick jokes.
Matt (M): The dad jokes.
E: The shitty jokes in general. He’s constantly discussing his love of massive amps! There’s so many, he can’t carry them all!
What was it like getting an opportunity to tour with a band like that who define the era?
M: Pretty cool. Getting to see a band who perform like that every night and who are so heavy was so cool.
E: It was cool seeing how they work too from a band perspective. Especially if you’re used to touring DIY bars and doing door deals with drink tickets. It’s weird going back! It’s cool seeing how they work as a business and the professionalism they bring but also that they love what they do and have fun. We learned you can never have too many shirts or too much merch. They are the merch kings. I did enjoy making a lot of revolutionary war jokes too! It never stopped!
M: One of the things we consciously discussed since we like to do shitty accents we were like “Maybe dial back the British one”. We didn’t.
Zack (Z): I pulled it out day two!
E: I pulled out a distinct Chris accent the other day and I was impressed. To hear the three different accents was a trip, especially because most Americans only think about the Michael Caine, but there’s so many dialects. Them asking us about our accents was funny too. They wanted to know if we had a Tuscon accent!
M: Is there one?
How does it feel to be playing Psycho Las Vegas?
M: Pretty surreal.
Z: We’re honored to be part of the lineup. It’s hard to believe. I’m stoked to be here.
E: Every time I see the list of bands for the day I’m like “I can’t believe we are on the same fest!” It’s so good seeing everyone you know.
Z: No doubt about the metal community – it’s like a giant party.
E: I’ve seen the agent for the Conan tour like nine times already! Nate Carson rules. He’s got like ten bands here! I’m convinced he’s the guy who put together the Subrosa/Yob show out of nothing. He’s amazing.
Obviously there is a broad swathe of music represented here today from sadboi art doom to weird art prog, where does North fit into that spectrum?
M: I hope that we’d stand out as something that isn’t your typical easy to describe music. I want to stand out and have people think we are just different.
What defines North though?
E: Because it’s so varied there’s something for everybody. It’s something we try and emphasize, it’s eclectic.
Where does the eclectic nature come from?
E: It’s the typical ‘we listen to different stuff’. I think when you start playing music you have the same bands in your head when you form. When we listened we didn’t listen to a lot of doom or the artsier stuff, we’ve had totally different musical interests since we started this band and that’s only served us well.
There’s a marked shift from the fairly straightforward early records to these that you can’t really define…
Z: It goes both ways too – some people like having something different and others are like “I don’t know!” Putting the question to people is really good though.
You think it’s that diversity that draws people in?
E: I think it’s interesting to make people question genres in the first place. So often it’s like “That’s a death metal band” and that’s it. But like we want to make people question, like sure we do sort of doom but we do weird shit they might not listen too. It’s cool to make people broaden their horizons. Some people don’t want to do that which is why we often have a smaller space in the genre but we want to change peoples perspectives. We all have such weird fucking tastes.
That wasn’t really the case on the first record though – when did that shift happen?
E: Just as we got older and had more separation. When you first together you’re really focused and we wanted to do post rock.
M: Then we wanted to add a vocalist, that was the beginning of the change. We wanted another layer, to have more options to play around with. It spiraled from there. Then it was like “Let’s add all these instruments and play riffs like this!”
Z: It was very different five years ago, we had very ambitious songs.
E: There’s the passage of time too – if you don’t record for a year then you’re going to change.
M: As time goes on life will change you and your output will evolve.
E: The road changes you too – the more you tour the more you see how people react to your music and what people are listening too and how they vibe to your stuff. Touring has a huge part of it!