There is perhaps, no greater detriment to an upcoming band, than undergoing a major line-up change right around their breakthrough. For Australian metal band Northlane, the change came right after their 2013 breakout album “Singularity” which climbed to number two in Australia and developed their presence in the United States, landing them a coveted spot on the Bring Me the Horizon/Of Mice & Men tour in early 2014. Later that year, citing concerns for his health vocalist Adrian Fitipaldes left the band, leaving Northlane in a very difficult position.
Enter Marcus Bridge, a relatively unknown singer with no previous experience playing in front of large crowds and touring in foreign countries. Bridge was immediately thrown into the fire as the band had already begun working on their follow up album and began shooting a music video merely days after Bridge had joined the band. After writing and recording their 3rd studio album, Node the group geared up for a very important release. Node debuted at number one in Australia and also became the first Northlane album to crack the Billboard 200 in the US.
I sat down with Marcus before the band played Boston’s Brighton Music Hall last Friday, and we talked about adjusting to his new role as the vocalist in Northlane and how things have gone around the release of Node so far.
MPR: You’ve been on the Node North American Tour with In Hearts Wake for a few weeks now, how has it gone for you guys so far?
MB:It’s been good! Tonight is actually our last show in the US, and then we’re doing a week in Canada, but it’s been going really really well, these last few shows have been mental, New York last night was, probably the best show we’ve had all tour. Just being here on the other side of the world and seeing people go mental – especial for the new stuff – it’s been amazing.
MPR: You mentioned how people having been going off for the new material, has it been like that for the whole tour?
MB: Pretty much, we have been seeing that the album might kind of grower for some people and it might take a little bit of time for people to get on board with it. But as we’ve gotten further and further into the tour we’ve been noticing the positive to negative shift a bit more in our favor. Overall it’s been really really good, we’ve been playing a lot of new songs on this tour and the vibes have been great.
MPR: So about the album in general, away from the just the live shows, have you been happy with the reception for Node so far?
MB:I think this album was always going to be nerve-wracking to put out with the line-up change. But we’re all really proud of what we’ve done and we’re really excited now that we’ve kind of put ourselves in this position where we can kind of go from here. But we’ve been so lucky, the album went number one back home in Australia; which for a metal band is pretty mental and for my first album with Northlane it’s been crazy to get that recognition. So yeah we’ve been really happy with how it’s gone over.
MPR: So talk to me about that nerve-wracking part, was it difficult trying to balance being a new member of the band with writing and recording an album right away?
MB:Yeah kind of, like when we first met I was very comfortable with them, which isn’t always the case for me, I can be a bit socially awkward at times – though I’ve gotten a lot better having been thrown in the deep end with all this – but yeah when we first met we gelled instantly and they were really cool. But it definitely took me some time to get comfortable performing in front of these crowds, like my first tour was in Europe and that was my first time overseas, and my first show was in front of about 2,000 people in Sweden so all of that was pretty mental. But now that we’ve had almost a full year for me to settle in I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with things.
MPR: So when writing for Node, were you instantly a part of the songwriting process?
MB:Yeah, there was a lot of collaboration between myself and Josh, Josh probably handled the majority of the lyrics but then we’d come together and change small parts and I’d get to put more focus on the melodic side of things and I suppose how everything would be set out. Which was a cool way of working, I guess if one of us was just kind of dropped into doing it all – because Josh was pretty new to writing lyrics as well – I’m not sure if we would have had the product we do now in Node. So yeah I was really happy with how it all worked out.
MPR: You mentioned how it took a little while to get comfortable in your new role, what were some of the biggest challenges you faced since joining the band?
MB: I don’t know really, there’s always gonna be tough times but for me I just feel very blessed to be in this position. Not more than 12 months ago I was just in my room doing nothing really, playing music still but certainly not doing anything like this. And to be over here playing music and doing what I love it’s been great. Of course there’s always the times when you get homesick and even just sick in general. The last time we were here I got really sick for about a third of the tour which wasn’t that great. But besides that kind of thing I really couldn’t be happier.
MPR: What about coming over here to the US? what are some of the biggest differences you notice about playing in the US?
MB: I’d have to say food is the biggest, I’m not really familiar with everything yet, and I’m a very picky eater so trying to find something that I’ll like is hard. But when I do find something I like I’ll basically just keep smashing it until I hate it. Also the snow, our last tour was here was during the winter and at first I’d never really seen snow before and I was so excited and I think after about one day I was like nope, get me out of here!
MPR: What’s your favorite part of touring in the US?
MB: There’s really a lot of passionate music lovers here, seeing those kids go off here in the states, it’s really different than back home; not in the sense that it’s more tame there, there’s just a different energy here. And also just the feeling of being over here and playing music to people on the other side of the world.