Interview with vocalist Marcus Bridge | By Annette Hansen | Photo by Guila McGauran
When Northlane put together their upcoming album, Alien, due out Aug. 2 via UNFD, the Sydney, Australia, band found themselves in new territory as artists, especially vocalist Marcus Bridge.
For Bridge, this work was more than just another album—it was an honest glimpse into a frightening and traumatizing past.
In August, you will be releasing your fifth full-length album, Alien. How are you feeling as that release date creeps closer?
I’m the most nervous I’ve ever been for the release of a new record. Alien took almost two years to write and record, and it’s a shift in direction both musically and lyrically. All that being said, I couldn’t be more proud of this album. I’ve opened up more than ever before, but at the same time, that vulnerability is pretty scary to put out there.
You’ve said that this is the most personal album you’ve released. What pushed you to give this album that sense of vulnerability?
The stories and themes throughout Alien are things I’ve always wanted to talk about in the past, but I was always terrified to open up about my upbringing with violent, drug-addicted parents. When [guitarist] Jon [Deiley] first started sending through the first few demos for the album, the tone of the music really called for something darker, something angrier. It was time to tell that story.
How did it feel for you, personally, to be so open and honest with these songs?
Usually, when I’m writing about experiences from my past, that’s the escape and the relief, but these experiences and memories from my youth have stuck with me for a long time, and I haven’t felt that relief with these songs yet. Obviously, it’s something that will never go away, but I’m hoping when we start playing these songs live, singing these songs to people who have made it through their own trauma, that unity will trigger the release I’ve been waiting for.
How do you feel taking a different songwriting approach benefited this album?
I love songs that are personal and raw, songs you can relate to. I’ve always connected with songs that I can put myself in, and I know a lot of people have grown up in a similar way to me or have gone through similar experiences. This change in approach has brought something fresh to our sound, and I think our listeners will hear and feel something very different straight away.
What do you hope listeners take away from some of the heavy themes addressed on this album?
This album is dark and real. It touches on things most people may be too afraid or embarrassed to talk about. My hope is for people to feel comfortable talking openly about their past, for them to see there is a way out and that they’re not alone. I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world and live my dream despite my upbringing, but that’s because I made a point of not being defined by my parents. Though it might seem hopeless, you can escape your past and do something positive with your life if you want it.
How do you feel Alien as a whole represents where you’re at musically and artistically as a band right now?
This is the most honest form of Northlane there’s ever been. We self-produced Alien, meaning any decision or mistake that was made was purely our own. We didn’t cut any corners; we didn’t “dumb down” any parts to fit the mold of what might be expected of us. We spent 16 to 18 months doing exactly what we wanted, and in the end, we got the best out of all of us because of that freedom we gave ourselves.
With all of your upcoming endeavors, what are you looking forward to the most?
Obviously, I’m excited for people to hear Alien, but playing these songs live is going to be the real deal. We haven’t played a show in about six months, so I’m keen to get back to it, and with these new songs, it’s going to bring a whole different energy. We’ll be heading through Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Europe [and the] U.K., and for the first time in over two years, we’re heading back to the U.S. They have been very patient, so I’m glad we can finally make up for the tour drought!