"We wanted it to be heavier, darker, angrier and more personal" - Australian hardcore types Northlane talk new album Alien
With their new album Alien now on shelves, we spoke to Australian hardcore Northlane about how they put it together, the arrival of bassist Brendon Padjasek and why this is an album inspired by childhood trauma.
Guitarist Jon Deiley opens up about all of it...
When did you start work on the songs for Alien?
"We began working on what would become alien at the start of 2018, possibly even before then. It’s hard to know. We recorded half of it in May 2018 and then the other half in January 2019."
How did you want this album to move on from what you did on Mesmer?
"We wanted it to be heavier, darker, angrier and more personal. That was easy to do. We incorporated new songwriting techniques as well and introduced electronic elements in ways we’d never done before."
This is your first album with Brendon in the band, what has he brought to the writing process?
"He has been a huge help. He’s an incredible bass player and vocalist. He added a lot to the latter stages of the writing process, especially with vocals. It was super helpful having a third person bouncing ideas off Marcus and me in the room."
You produced this album yourselves, why did you decide on that approach?
"We had previously learned a lot from all the producers we worked with. Sometimes we’d walk away from the studio not always happy with the result of the stamp they’d inevitably have on the album. We were confident in our own production and songwriting decision making and wanted to make Alien our own, so we did."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Is there a theme to it?
"The album focuses on Marcus's upbringing, growing up with violent and drug-addicted parents. There are a couple of songs that stray slightly from that theme, but they’re all coming from a pretty dark place."
Which song on the album took the longest to get right?
"That would be 'Bloodline'. We wrote the chorus about 20 times and spent over a year working on it to get it right. It felt like pulling teeth at times but we got there in the end."
And which came together most quickly?
"None of them. We took a fine-tooth comb to everything. '4D' was probably the least painful."
When did you decide on Alien for the album title? Were any other titles in contention?
"The album title was decided only a couple of days before we finished recording. We had a few other titles but once we found Alien, we knew it was perfect. It relates to the alienation I felt growing up in a toxic household as well as how I felt around other people at school and in social situations. It also mirrors the electronic and synthetic sounds that we have experimented with on this album."
What are your plans to take the album out live?
"The Alien World Tour will take us across the world including the US, the UK, Europe and many more destinations. We can’t wait to play these new songs as they were always written with the live show in mind."
You’ve got five records now, how will you decide what goes in your live set?
"It’s very difficult! We try and keep all the crowd-pleasers in there intertwined with the songs we think will make for the most interesting setlist."
When will we see you back in the UK?
"We’ll be there headlining at the end of the year!"
Northlane's new album Alien is out now in hmv stores.