Next month Australia will see home-grown metal giants Northlane and In Hearts Wake take the stage for one of the most anticipated tours this year. However, as we soon learnt late last month, the stage is not the only thing the band will be sharing. Surprising fans around the world, the two bands released a secret collaborative EP. Never have we seen two of Australia’s metal heavyweights join forces to produce something like Equinox. The three-track EP sees the friendship of the Sydney bands taken to new heights, with all 10 members collaborating on each track. We chat with vocalists Marcus Bridge (Northlane) and Jake Taylor (In Hearts Wake) about the two bands’ unique friendship, and what we can now expect on their co-headline tour.
How did the idea to record an EP together surface?
Jake: I’ve always really appreciated the music that Northlane have written, and there is that mutual understanding and respect between our bands. John is the main writer for Northlane who comes up with the meat of the music. And for our band we have Ben. There’s usually always someone who gets the re going. We have spent many a time at each other’s houses over the years, on tour and off tours hanging out. Through conversations, it came up a couple of years ago that one day it would be cool to create something together, whether it was In Hearts Wake and Northlane or just a few of the members. Last year it really came into a discussion where we both thought the timing was right in Australia where we could pull this off together of equal merit. We were both ready to take that step and that collaborative approach to what were doing.
Marcus: Yeah, it felt like the right time to do this, and with everyone kind of on the road and hanging out and having barbeques in the car parks... I don’t know the vibes just felt right.
Talk us through the writing process. How did you coordinate the songs between so many of you? Did you find it awkward at any stage or find your ideas clashed?
Marcus: Each band started with a song that we had come up with for this project. As we slowly started building it, everyone came to it with their own ideas. Once we got into the studio, that is when the real collaboration happened. It wasn’t too bad I guess in terms of clashing. Everyone knows each other very well and get along pretty well.
Jake: Yeah, I think you have got to be flexible with ideas. Everyone knows their roles and knows what’s good and what’s bad. I think at this stage we are professional and seasoned enough — on our third and fourth releases — to know the good ideas and the bad ones. There is a lot of trust that goes into it. We brought in what we had and it just really owed and came to completion within six days.
I can’t think of any other time in Australian metal history where two heavyweights joined forces on one stage... these shows are going to be huge!
Jake: We don’t even know the full scale of what we are going to achieve, but we have some ideas. It’s not going to be a conventional show where one band plays one set, and then the next band plays their set. We want to take the approach we took to writing and recording Equinox and bring that to the stage. Audiences will see both bands on stage at the same time playing these songs, and it’s going to be interesting to say the least.
Marcus: We still have to practice don’t we?
Jake: Yeah, well Northlane are off to Europe, and we are at Groovin’ The Moo, so we will have to wait until we are all back we will have to look at what we can pull off. I don’t have any doubts about playing Equinox. We have all performed our pieces and are capable of playing it; it is just a matter of how many lines we can get into the mixing desk [laughs].
We know you are good friends, but Jake is there any beef with Marcus because of their recent ARIA win (with Node just beating out Skydancer)? If you win an ARIA for Equinox does that mean IHW get to keep it?
Jake: [laughs] No way. I would have been cut if one of us didn’t win it! In the grand scheme of things, if Northlane or In Hearts Wake won it was a win for the family. Now we get to do an EP with an ARIA winning artist so I’m stoked [laughs]. I think it is a fantastic thing for our label UNFD as well.
Equinox is out now visa UNFD. Northlane & In Hearts Wake will be touring around the country this June. For details, click here.