INTERVIEW: North

Hi North, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thank you, I’m good thanks! Been super busy which is always good, if I’m busy it keeps me out of trouble…Most of the time.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Breaking Me Down”?

It’s been a long time coming that’s for sure! I wrote it back in 2012, I’d been through a rough few years to say the least. I’d had my heart broken, moved my whole life to London, my Dad was almost killed in a horrific bike accident and I was just desperately trying to hold it together.  I’d actually started to record this song when I signed with Band Management Universal (BMU) here in London in 2015, until it came to light that their whole operation was a scam  – The ‘worst scam in over 20 years’ was the line used by the BBC and the Musician’s Union, it was pretty soul destroying. I was already battling my own demons, and ended up losing my job, my home and suffering a breakdown, for a long time I couldn’t look further than the end of each day. I was quite literally broken, mentally anyway.  But you can’t keep a Northerner down, and following the BBC story airing, Dreamscope (My current label) got in touch. I’d had quite a lot of people contact me after the story went out, and after already having my fingers burnt I was understandably wary of their initial message, but they persevered, went on to send me a video message introducing themselves and reach out, and I’m so glad they did! They’ve breathed life into the song that I couldn’t have imagined was possible and have spent quite a lot of time building me up and teaching me about the industry. They brought in Robert Venable (Kelly Clarkson, Megadeath) from Nashville to mix and master the project and I can’t wait for you to hear it!

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

Life. It was a scream at life to give me a damn break! To be honest there wasn’t any one event, more an accumulation. Life just kept throwing punches and with each one I got a little more lost and tried a little harder to fight it until I couldn’t. But out of the ashes the phoenix must rise. It’s about being pushed to your absolute limits, a war cry if you will, we all fall but it’s how we get up again that matters. I generally have three go to methods of coping – beer, songwriting and therapy, in no particular order but songwriting is admittedly the cheapest, beer the most fun, don’t tell my therapist about the second one!

Any plans to release a video for the single?

It’s in the pipeline and we hope to have it released for everyone very soon.

How was the recording and writing process?

I only started songwriting seriously when I moved to London in 2010. I had this really helpful (hear my sarcasm) gremlin on my shoulder telling me that I couldn’t do it and wasn’t good enough and the fear ruled over me. Enter Dan, my co-writer and one of my best friends, he has this innate ability to calm me down, and make me listen to rational thought – it’s a rare, yet useful talent. I play a little guitar but I’m by no means a guitarist, so I would come up with the basic outline of the song and the lyrics and I’d hand it over to Dan and put the pro on guitar duties and then we’d bounce it between the two of us until we got it down.

What role does the UK play in your music?

One of many places to conquer! I grew up on Elton John, the Father is a massive fan, he hitch- hiked from York to Wembley to see him in the 80’s and then back again with a life size cardboard cut-out! I’m not sure the UK itself plays a huge role, that said I do love The Rolling Stones – especially Keef, Queen and a bit of Led Zep. Most of my major influences are from across the pond, America always seems to do things bigger and better. I’m from York originally which is up in the North of England, I had a conversation a while ago with a friend that moved down to London around the same time as me, over why he had completely lost his accent and I still had mine, his answer ‘Well Sarah, some of us move down south and integrate, others, like yourself, move down and become professional northerners… so there you are! It’s certainly influenced something!

As far as writing goes, us Brits have a knack for understating things and underreacting, such as when you tell someone to ‘make themselves at home’, but what you really mean is ‘come in sit down and don’t touch anything’ hahaha! Songwriting is great for venting, if someone crosses me they will most likely end up the subject of a song when I have the time and space to put down what I really think… But seriously friends going in my fridge is fine, I’m not that highly strung.

How has P!nk and Christina Aguilera influenced your writing?

I wouldn’t necessarily say that they have influenced my writing exactly, I listen to all sorts from Snarky Puppy to I spent years singing along to their songs in my bedroom, wishing I was them, hairbrush mic and all, but they taught me what it means to be a strong, badass, fearless woman and not to settle for less. I’d put some other influences down to Elton, Slash, Myles Kennedy, but at the minute I’m hooked on Stormzy, his lyrics are just so raw and brutally honest.

How’s your new EP coming along?

It’s coming along great! We are finalizing everything now. I was so excited to work with Robert Venable for the mixing and mastering

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

My first ever EP (self-titled) will come out on 28th of February and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with everyone!

Any plans to hit the road?

I’ve been performing around London again and it has been amazing to be back on stage again after everything that’s gone on. I feel like I’m finally finding myself again and gaining my confidence and self belief again. The guys and I are excited to hit the road outside of London and we will be announcing dates for the summer very soon!

What else is happening next in North’s world?

I will have a follow up EP in the autumn. Until then I’ll be performing loads, hopefully some collaborations along the way. It’s going to be exciting!

Download / Stream- https://ffm.to/breakingmedown

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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