Pop-punkers, Head North hit the scene late last year, but the fact that they haven’t been around all that long hasn’t stopped them from achieving what they want. Set to release their third EP on 2/18 entitled Scrapbook Minds, vocalist and guitarist Brent Martone cut some time from his busy schedule to talk to us…
Substream Magazine: Your hometown of Buffalo, NY is becoming one of the biggest spots in the US for emerging artists. What’s like coming from such a competitive market? Do you feel it’s helped you as a band?
Brent Martone: It’s absolutely helped us! Coming from a scene that surrounds us with such talented and creative people gives us the drive to be a part of it. Also, the community of bands up here is so inclusive and welcoming and we’re fortunate to be apart of it and be able to call a lot of the guys up here friends that we can bounce ideas off of. We all look out for one another. We had the local homie, Jay Zubricky engineer the record, which is awesome because he was honestly one of our top choices to work with regardless of his location. We’re lucky enough to have our friend Brad from Cedar Kites come to the studio and drop some guest vocals on the new EP. The Traditional, and Real People are playing our Tour Kickoff show. We’re very fortunate.
SM: You guys haven’t been around all that long – for those who don’t know about you yet, sum up Head North in three words.
BM: Thank you BasedGod. I think that counts?
SM: You played a show in Buffalo with Transit recently, how was that? Pick up any pointers from them?
BM: Phenomenal, those dudes always put on the best show. Ben talked to Joe, the singer, a little bit after. They’re some good guys. It was an acoustic show in a record store, so it had a unique vibe, but definitely a privilege to be able to play with them.
SM: You guys are set to head out on an East coast tour in March – is it nerve-wracking playing to new audiences? Is there anything you do especially to captivate their attention?
BM: It’s always intimidating to hit up cities I’ve never been to. I never know what to expect, but I love that in a weird way. It makes it that much more exciting. We’re hitting up some cities that we’ve been through, so I’m super excited about that too. Come to a show and see for yourself!
SM: What are you plans for 2014, after this tour?
BM: We have a couple other tours in the works before summer in different areas which I can’t wait to announce. Then we’ll be back with Jay Zubricky this summer demoing out a bunch of songs and seeing where that leads, then back on the road all fall and winter.
SM: If there were no limits, what places would you like to go on tour? Any city, any country… any planet?
BM: Australia. No question. Koalas are cute, dawg.
SM: Your new record Scrapbook Minds is set for release at the end of this month, but what’s more fun to you: touring or recording?
BM: That’s tough. I love recording, I love making music. BUT, I like touring better. When we record, I make myself focus on that, I don’t go out much, I kind of obsess about it. It feels like work to me, and don’t get me wrong I love every second of it, I’m anxious to go record new stuff already, I just go into a weird state of mind. Touring just feels more like going to hangout with your friends and eat greasy food and see new people, and a new city every day, and play a show every night.
SM: Do you feel like your music has matured or changed in this new record compared to your first release, Arrows?
BM: Absolutely. I feel like whenever bands go through member changes they always come out with the same statement like “We’re gonna be back and better than ever just you wait and see!” and so I’ve tried to avoid that by not comparing Scrapbook Minds to Arrows. Arrows I wrote when I was like 15 and I hope that they still hold some weight with people, I just don’t really connect with them in the same way I used to, maybe one day I will again, maybe not. Scrapbook Minds is a totally new direction, sonically and otherwise. The songs are all very personal stories about the last year or so of my life. Sonically its a lot grittier, and we hit a bunch of parts that sound way bigger than anything we hit on Arrows. I’m very excited to get it out, I’m very proud of it.
SM: You also released an acoustic version of Arrows. What was the recording process like for that in contrast to your other records?
BM: Like I said about how I record is I buckle down and kinda collapse in on myself in the process, and when we record full band I have the other guys there to balance me out. Arrows Acoustic was me in my bedroom with my guitar and open-air mics. It came out sounding kind of frantic and I like that about it. That gave me a chance to get really self-indulgent and approach recording differently than I had in the past.
SM: Have you got a song that you’ve written/recorded that means something to you in particular?
BM: Every single one. There’s an acoustic song on the upcoming EP that’s very personal, and all the full band ones hold special places to me. I’ll try not to be too pretentious and talk about all of them individually, I feel like I’ve done that enough this interview. Thanks so much for giving me the chance to talk about the new EP and everything, means a lot.
Scrapbook Minds is available tomorrow, February 18.
Interview by Madison Convey