Download 2017: No. 31 - Northlane - 50 bands in 50 days

By Eric Mackinnon



Download Festival

Main Stage

Friday, June 9, 2017



The first band to plug in and unleash musical hell from the main stage at the Download Festival this summer will be Aussie masters of metalcore, Northlane.

For many fans and Download revellers they will be the very first band they hear over a weekend which promises to be a musical marathon.

And Northlane guitarist Josh Smith has promised to kick off the festival with a thunderous din.

“I’m really excited and can guarantee we’ll be starting the day with a bang,” says Smith as he chatted to Eric Mackinnon from The New Rock Times. “We will be bringing elements of our large-scale Australian show to Download for the first time internationally. We’re right at home on a big stage and are very excited about this show.”

He continued:” At Download I’m super excited to see System of a Down, Mastodon and our mates Issues!  I’ve been a huge Mastodon fan for quite a number of years. I haven’t seen them live in about 10 years so it’s well overdue.

“I grew up on System and I’ve never had a chance to witness their songs live.”

Northlane released their fourth album, ‘Mesmer,’ with no forewarning or advertising as it dropped in late March, coming as a surprise and welcome shock to fans.

“It really was hard to keep under wraps,” admitted Smith.

“Not only were we incredibly excited about what we were creating, there are so many people involved in the creation of a record from start to finish that word of mouth on the news was always risk.

“We also had to be very careful with our social media during the creation process and everyone who worked with us had to be briefed on our plan, some even signing non disclosure agreements. Our label UNFD did an incredible job on the industry side and we remained tight lipped until the very end.

“It was very satisfying to release a record on our own terms in an age where leaks in the ship are all too commonplace.”

Smith continued: “There were no reservation about doing it like this at all, because it wasn’t in line with the goal we had in mind.

“We wanted Mesmer to feel like a gift to our fans, we wanted them to be able to listen to it straight away the moment they knew it was coming, without having to wait for it. I don’t think the excitement in our fanbase would have been the same with a prior announcement and we achieved all we wanted to with the release.”

‘Mesmer,’ is, by the band’s own admission, their most reflective and personal records with a number of the tracks tapping directly into their personal lives as Smith reveals one track even detailed the final words spoken to him by a loved one before they passed away.

“Some of the songs are very personal yes,” he explained.

“We experienced a lot of loss in our personal lives during the writing for ‘Mesmer’ and although it’s not a topic we’d normally write about, it became a running theme through the whole album. I think the most personal one to me was Veridian which I wrote about watching my great grandmother slowly pass of old age. It was a heart-wrenching event to witness and writing about it was incredibly liberating for me.”

Northlane will open the Main Stage on Friday, June 9, and with Smith and co in irresistible form their set will set the tone on another Download which will be burned long into our hearts, minds and ear drums – long after we return home.

“I love festivals. Playing there its bigger, more exciting and gives us the chance to play to new ears. All are things that we relish as musicians and as performers. We can’t wait to hit the mainstage! see you all there,” beams Josh.