March 11, 2014 Interview – Adrian Fitipaldes of Northlane
Australian metalcore band Northlane has been exciting the music scene with their unique twist of ambient elements intertwined with hardcore flare. Since their inception in 2010, they have found major success in their homeland of Australia and have intrigued Americans with the release of their 2013 sophomore album Singularity. Due to the albums fascinating concept and style, time will show it to be a milestone in Northlane’s career. After a successful touring cycle in 2013, the boys are spreading the word of Northlane further in 2014 as a supporting act on ‘The American Dream Tour’ with Bring Me The Horizon and Of Mice & Men. Recently CrypticRock had the chance to chat with lead singer, Adrian Fitipaldes, at the sold out New York City show to talk about the making of Singularity, where Northlane is headed for in the future, and much more.
Crypticrock.com – Northlane blazed onto the Australian scene in 2010, which soon resulted in touring with the likes of August Burns Red, Blessthefall, and Parkway Drive. Since then the band has really taken off in North America. How does it feel to have come this far in just four years?
Adrian Fitipaldes – It feels pretty fucking awesome to be honest. I know a lot of bands have been around for a lot longer and achieved similar success, or in some other unfortunate cases, have not even gotten as far as we have in the time that we have. I feel a lot of the hard work that we did in the beginning stages of the band has paid off. Especially a lot of the touring we did back in Australia. That really helped establish ourselves as a band in Australia and helps launch ourselves into the international touring circuit.
Crypticrock.com – It always redeeming to see hard work pay off. The band’s sound has had a very distinct balance of ambient sounds and brutality, which can be heard on your first studio album Discoveries (2011). How did the band develop and refine this sound people know today?
Adrian Fitipaldes – I guess we have two sides to the type of music we like to write. We all grew up listening to the metal, hardcore, and post-hardcore; but we also grew up listening to a lot of softer music like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Incubus, and Deftones. I think that has had a really positive impact on the music that we write, because we never really saw ourselves as being a really tough metal band. We still have a very gentle and soft side to our personalities and taste in music, which has been reflected in the music that we have been writing. It has helped us create a unique sound that is being explored by a lot of bands these days. Just to rattle off a few: two of our close friends in Volumes and Structures; we consider ourselves in the same vein of music as them, and I remember talking to Michael Barr about it. There is a new wave of bands coming out that are pushing the limits on what metal and hardcore really can sound like.
CrypticRock.com – That is very true, the scene is very fresh and exciting at this time. Your newest album Singularity was released in November 2013 and sees the band further progress. What was the writing and recording process like for this new album?
Adrian Fitipaldes – It was quite hectic to be honest. We had about four tracks written before we headed off on a tour in Canada. The band and I were constantly writing on the road, and we were headed to the studio right after that tour. We were literally forced to meet a deadline and write a record while we were on tour, not eating the best food, and sleeping in the van. They were not the most ideal conditions for writing, but we actually ended up entering the studio with about five or six songs, and only had about four left to write. I do not know how he did it, but Jon Deiley managed to hash out all of those songs we did in five days. I have said this a few times in the past, but I think the pressure really helped us. People tend to work really well under pressure. To get all nerdy for a second, I think that is just the way animals work. When animals are forced to adapt and change, they have to, unless they just die or perish.
CrypticRock.com – That is very true and also a very good analogy.
Adrian Fitipaldes – Yeah, it is right! It is the epitome of evolution, being forced to change and adapt to the conditions. That is what we did and I am glad it happened because I am very proud of that record and would not have it go any other way.
CrypticRock.com – The record came out great and you should absolutely be proud of it. Being part of the metalcore scene, it is easy to get lumped with a crowd of other bands, but Northlane displays a diversity of textures which makes you stand out. Singularity is the pinnacle of that. Was that the band’s intent going into this album?
Adrian Fitipaldes – Definitely, I chose the word “singularity” to title the record because it traditionally refers to a point in history where humans will have reached a stage where, technologically, we will be so advanced that it will be hard to even describe what life would be like here on Earth. I am talking about things that are science fiction, at the moment, of course, like teleportation and time travel. It is also what scientists refer to as “The Big Bang”. They call it a singularity or a black hole. It is this point where space and time no longer exist and it is really hard for a human mind to even comprehend what that would be like. I thought that would be a very fitting metaphor for our record, to be something indescribable and incomprehensible. That is what we wanted to do; we wanted to give people something that was different and hard to put a label on.
CrypticRock.com – The album is a deep concept and you appeared to have accomplished that. Speaking of the metalcore scene, it appears that many bands are carving their own niche and defying the stereotypes placed on the genre by outsiders. It actually seems like a very fresh time for the scene. How do you feel about the progression of this form of metal?
Adrian Fitipaldes – I am very happy about it. I am excited, really, because for a long time, a lot of bands have played it safe and stuck to formulaic music that has shown to sell and be popular. That is all well and good, and it works, but only for so long. Once the market becomes saturated with too many acts that appear too similar, it really will be the bands that are doing the different thing that stand out the most. That is why across all genres of music things have become way more experimental, even in hip-hop, rap music, and of course metal. It has come to the point where it is steering away from what metal really was. Some people might have a negative opinion about that, but I think it is an exciting time for music. I love experimenting with different sounds and it is going to be interesting to see what new Northlane is going to sound like. We are going to keep trying to push the boundaries and think outside the box wherever we can.
CrypticRock.com – That is something exciting to look forward to. One element that really stands out on Singularity are the vocals. How did you prepare yourself for this broad range of vocals heard on the record?
Adrian Fitipaldes – During the recording period of Singularity, I was going through a lot of lifestyle changes. As I am sure many vocalists can empathize with, there is a time where you may have to sacrifice things in your life; whether it’s alcohol, cigarettes, bad food, little sleep, etc. That became increasingly apparent as I became closer and closer to recording, and I finally made the big decision to quit cigarettes during that recording period. Even though it is such a mundane and trivial thing to say, I think the preparation involved was mainly lifestyle choices that I have been making and making sure that I was making positive moves that were going to improve my voice, skill, and talent as a vocalist. Also on a deeper level, I want to be a really good role model for the young listeners who are coming to our shows and listening to our music. We have a really positive message and want to help heal whatever mental instability or trauma people face in their daily lives. I know a lot of people, even the band and I, have gone through stages of depression in our lives, and want to change the way people think about life and turn it into something a bit more positive. I would not feel right if I was not making the positive moves in my own life to really walk the walk instead of just talking the talk.
CrypticRock.com – That is a very honest and sincere way of looking at things. It’s also very clear thinking and it sounds as if yourself and the band are on the right track. Judging by your live performance, it really seems you release a lot of emotion on stage. How do you feel when you are performing live?
Adrian Fitipaldes – I really get to this point where I stop thinking about anything. I stop thinking about how I am sounding. I stop thinking about who is watching. I try to get lost in the moment, because there are not many times in life where you can be thoughtless and at peace. We all have so many things to do and so many people to see. For that brief thirty minutes on stage, when I am having a good show, I get to forget about everything and feel a really deep sense of elation or euphoria. You can call it anything, but there really is no way to describe it or understand it until you have that feeling yourself.
CrypticRock.com – It sounds like an extremely surreal feeling. The band finished up a successful run in North America with Veil of Maya among other bands. Now you are back in early 2014 on ‘The American Dream Tour’ with Bring Me The Horizon, Of Mice & Men, Issues, and Letlive. That is an amazing line-up of talented bands. Many of the dates have been sold out, how is the tour going thus far?
Adrian Fitipaldes – It is going really well. It is a great opportunity for us as a band to be able to play to big American crowds. Of Mice & Men and Bring Me The Horizon have been able to sell out some amazing shows and I would like to think that we have been helping sell those tickets as well, but only so much. We owe the world to these bands for having us on this tour. Everyone has been absolutely friendly to us; all the bands have been so welcoming and warm. There is a mutual sense of respect amongst all the bands on this tour and it is very nice to see. Tours always go way smoother when everyone is getting along and having a good time. There are good vibes and positivity across all bands and it has been a great experience and change of pace for us. We have been headlining some stuff back home and some here in the States, so it is good to mix it up a bit.
CrypticRock.com – Good chemistry on the road is definitely important for a positive experience. My last question for you is regarding films. Crypticrock.com is a rock/metal and horror news site so we like to focus on all genres. Are you a fan of horror films and if so what are some of your favorite horror films?
Adrian Fitipaldes – Horror films, eh? I am a fan! I think there is nothing better than a thrill. On a completely different note, I went on my first roller-coaster last year, and the sense of thrill is so human. It makes you feel alive and I think that is what a good horror film is all about; getting that cheap thrill and letting yourself be scared. People are afraid of being afraid and I think it is healthy and natural to be afraid sometimes, just like feeling depressed or whatever you are going through. I do not like how society tries to look at it in such an unnatural way. It is a part of life, all these emotions, and that is the beauty of film and cinematography. It can really capture you and simulate an experience for you.
Some of my favorite horror films… I watched that new Evil Dead (2013) movie recently. It is so creepy beyond belief, but that is what is good about it. They push the limits, and it is great. I am a big fan of the Saw movies. Psychological thrillers are great. Growing up, I used to watch Jason Voorhees and Freddy Kruger, the classics. Freddy vs. Jason (2003) is another great movie.
CrypticRock.com – Nowadays, many TV shows fall under the horror genre such as The Walking Dead and American Horror Story. Are you a fan of any of them?
Adrian Fitipaldes – I watched a bit of The Walking Dead, but I have to admit that I did not like it. I am the type of guy that is like “okay, let’s see some blood right now!” if I am going to watch a horror movie. Although, I appreciate how much effort they put into the story line and the drama involved, because it really is human. It shows the human side to what a zombie apocalypse would be like, which is cool. I do not have a lot of spare time when I am home. I dedicate all of my time to writing music and lyrics, so sometimes TV shows are at the bottom of my list of my priorities.
Northlane on their European tour w/ Stray From The Path & Architects:
03/07 Manchester, UK – Academy
03/08 Glasgow, UK – O2 ABC
03/09 Sheffield, UK – Leadmill
03/11 Cardiff, UK – Solus
03/12 Birmingham, UK – Institute
03/14 London, UK – Koko
03/15 Dordrecht, NET – Bibelot
03/16 Eindhoven, NET – Dynamo
03/18 Antwerp, BEL – Trix
03/19 Hamburg, GER – Logo
03/20 Copenhagen, DEN – Pumpehuset
03/21 Gothenburg, SWE – Sticky Fingers
03/22 Oslo, NOR – John Dee
03/24 Helsinki, FIN – Nosturi
03/26 Stockholm, SWE – Klubben
03/28 Warsaw, POL – Proxima
03/29 Krakow, POL – Kwadrat
03/30 Chemnitz, GER – AJC
03/31 Berlin, GER – Lido
04/01 Nuremburg, GER – Hirsch
04/02 Munich, GER – Strom
04/03 Budapest, HUN – Durer Kurt
04/04 Vienna, AUT – Szene
04/05 Gualtieri, ITA – Tempo Rock Club
04/06 Romagnano, ITA – Rock N Roll Arena
04/08 Barcelona, SPA – Razzmatazz
04/09 Madrid, SPA – Sala Caracol
04/10 Bilbao, SPA – Kafe Antzoki
04/12 Clermont-Ferrand, FRA – La Cooperative De Mai Club
04/13 Solothurn, SWI – Kofmehl
04/14 Frankfurt, GER – Batschkapp
04/15 Cologne, GER – Luxor
04/16 Paris, FRA – La Maroquinerie
Interview conducted by Emma Guido