jueves, 23 de septiembre de 2010

The Northern Skies

What's the meaning behind the band's name?
How did the band get started??
The meaning behind the band’s name and how we got started are intrinsically connected. We were originally called “Drake” after British musician Nick Drake. While camp counselors in a summer camp in Northern Michigan, a mutual love for Nick Drake’s music inspired Nathan Schleicher and I, (Eric Engblade), to start writing songs together. We would play under that name for four years; playing coffee shops, churches, small community festivals, and eventually going on a month long summer tour to Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. Through our four years together, Nathan and I would often ask friends to join us on stage. Fellow camp counselor Emily Carlson and Nathan’s childhood friend Paul Wozniak were asked so many times to play violin and percussion, (respectively), that we asked them to join “Drake”. We continued to build up our resume by playing music clubs, bars, and breweries all over Michigan. We released our second full length album, called Northern Skies, in December of 2008. Soon after, Nicholas Cole-Klaes joined us on bass guitar to round out our live sound. In the fall of 2009, we officially changed our name to “The Northern Skies” because of the complications the name “Drake” brought for us with the Canadian rapper of the same name rising in popularity. Since then, we have continued to grow and change by writing new material, playing more established venues and festivals in our region, and losing band founder Nathan Schleicher. We are in the process of recording a new record at Mackinaw Harvest recording studio in Grand Rapids, MI and we hope that its January 2011 release will help us continue to do what we love.  

What's the message you want to transmit with your music??
What's your method at the time of writing a song??
Sex. Drugs. Rock and Roll. We want people to listen to our music and connect to it in whatever way they want to. That might be spiritual, emotional, or otherwise. I have lots of different ways of writing songs that I think can connect people to various experiences in their lives. Sometimes the lyrics come first. Sometimes the chords and melody come first. I have a song called An Old Widows Prayer that came from a songwriting workshop that I taught at a Rock and Roll camp for High Schoolers that we have been involved with for five years. I asked the kids to create a person from the ground up and to write a song through that person as if it were them speaking. While participating in the exercise, I took different elements of both of my Grandmother’s lives and mixed them into a whole new person’s life that I just made up. I have heard many people say An Old Widows Prayer could have been written about their own Grandmother. Music connects people to it through their own individual responses and, in turn, music therefore connects people to each other. And that is the message that we want to transmit to others: our connectedness.

What are your musical influences??
Nick Drake, The Beatles, Paul Simon, John Prine, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Tool, Led Zeppelin, Rusted Root, The Police, Dave Matthews Band, Days of the New, John Hartford, Bach, Crooked Still, Nickel Creek, Madison Greene and traditional folk tunes.

What plans do you guys have for the future??
We are in the process of recording a new record at Mackinaw Harvest recording studio in Grand Rapids, MI and we hope that its January 2011 release will help us continue to do what we love. In May of 2011, we are going on tour to promote the release of our new project across the Eastern United States including West Virginia, New York, and Maine. We hope that the summer of 2011 will bring us to more regional festivals and venues as well. In the Fall of 2011, we are planning on heading west to Colorado and Montana.     

What has been the funniest prank you have taken part of while on tour or after a show??
Pranks don’t happen that often while on tour etc. However, I did get pretty drunk at a show in Mt. Pleasant last year and, while packing up, I accidently shut the van’s back hatch on Paul’s head. It was pretty funny…especially now.  

If you guys were stranded in the middle of nowhere after a show or while on tour. The help is 65 miles away from where you guys are, ¿Who would you guys send to look for help? And if while the rest wait, there's no food and the only way to feed yourself is by eating each other, ¿Who would you eat first?
I don’t understand this question. We are all vegetarians.

Which countries would you love to play?
We would like to play over in England, Ireland, and Spain. We have lots of requests from Europe asking us to tour over there.

What bands would you love to share the stage with??
We would love to go on tour supporting Crooked Still, Railroad Earth or Sir Paul McCartney. Screaming J. Hawkins would be alright too (youtube him singing Paul McCarney’s Monkberry Moon Delight and you will see why).

Are you guys OK, with the direction the band is going actually?
Actually, yes! We have lost a founder of the band, but we know that his leaving will not slow us down. We continue to have high hopes for the future of our music and can not wait for the release of our new record and for the tours that we have planned for 2011. It’s going to be a great year and we hope to have more and more people listening to our music!

Check out more of this band by going to: thenorthernskies.com

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