To me fusion brings up images of Frank Zappa and some sort of totally unlistenable music. But fusion can be so much more. Give NORTHERN LINES a listen after you’ve read this interview. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
1. There are so many different genres out there that it is hard to keep track of them all. You seem to play something called instrumental progressive fusion rock. For all of us in the dark, what is that all about?
-The word “fusion” has a bad reputation these days unfortunately. If you think about “fusion music” as a genre, you’ll immediately think about snobby musicians playing complicate music just for the sake of it, just because they can and that makes them feel superior in some way or another. This could not be more wrong. The concept of fusion has to be taken literally. As in mixing together every genre you can think of, and seeing where that brings you. Fusion it’s about enjoying what you play.
2. When you formed did you do so with a clear intention of not having vocals? Why do you not have vocals?
-Yes, we knew right from the start that having vocals wouldn’t add in anyway shape or form to what we wanted to achieve. We want people to invent their own stories when listening to our songs, that’s the real beauty of instrumental music. No one is directly telling you what to think about, you’re just free to drift away in the sound, making up whatever your mind feels like.
3. How do you explain the meaning of the band name?
-The name “Northern Lines” doesn’t have an interesting backstory(sadly), but we can tell you it’s mostly due to the fact that our drummer Cristiano is part Dutch, and a lot of interesting prog music has been made in northern Europe across decades. That’s pretty much it!
4. When you don’t have lyrics that tell a story how do you tell the song’s story? What means do you use to tell a story?
-We’ve probably indirectly answered this question with our second answer, but to go even more in depth, it’s the little nuances, the details, the choices in the arrangements, those are the tools we have to put our listeners in a certain mindset, without forcing them into some really precise argument. Sounds, not just in music, can tell you more than thousands of words, because every sound can trigger a particular reaction in our brain, depending on our mindset of the moment. I guess you can say we let our music do the talking!
5. I am a huge fan of LP art work. How important is it to have the right art work for your album?
-It’s immensely important to us. We worked on the art for the cover for two months, searching for something that could convey what we felt was the album’s core concept, which is death, and the path everyone of us has to take in accepting that eventually, we all have to die.
6. Today seem to be all about how many likes or clicks you can get on certain platforms. How do you avoid being affected by the hype likes on youtube and facebook can create on social media? What does all these likes generate in the physical world?
-Likes and clicks and views and web presence it’s, without a shodow of a doubt, pivotal, in these day and age. Physical music has no value at all on the market, and since pretty much everyone can record music fairly easily and put it out on the internet without much effort(for the most part), the “competition” it’s virtually infinite, which can be a good and a bad thing. We usually try not getting overly stressed about views and clicks and whatnot, but it obviously has its importance.
7. When you play in a band does it feel like you are a part of massive community? Is it important to feel a part of something?
-Playing in a band it’s basically putting your soul, together with other people, in a pot, in order to create moments worth living for. For us, music is the one thing keeping us from just sitting all day waiting for something to happen. It’s a path for life, i don’t think you can really ever “retire” from music. And of course, as human beings, feeling like you’re part of something bigger than yourself, its a pretty good feeling overall.
8. How important is it to be signed to label today? What can they do that you cannot so on your own? .
-To our experience, being signed it’s almost completely useless, unless we’re talking big, worldwide companies. But we play instrumental fusion rock, so i guess we’ll never know. As we understand it, all that record labels do for you in these days, is forcing you to pay for physical copies of your music(which then you can use as fancy bookmarks for all they’re worth), and then proceed to sell them in web-stores and the likes, meanwhile asking you for even more money for who knows what. The reality is, labels, at least the ones who are not Sony, don’t have a reason to exist in their current form anymore, yet they cling on to it.
9. How much of a touring band are you guys? How hard is it to get gigs outside of your borders?
-Funnily enough, we found almost easier to get gigs outside our country rather than inside. We’ve done a tour of northern Europe to promote our first album, “Farts from S.E.T.I. Code”, playing through Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland, and it’s been one of the best experiences of our lives. We’re currently in the phase of organizing a second tour to support “The Fearmonger”, this time covering a couple more countries. In Italy(especially in Rome) it’s hard to find gigs where you’re getting paid, or even treated like a humble working human being to be honest. It’s pretty bad.
10. What will the future bring?
-We just hope we’ll get to play music for as long as we live, maybe making even half of a living out if it, that’d be great! For now, we’re just hyped to get back on the road and playing for people live, that’s why we exist, for that feeling!