How did Northvia form?
The band formed back in high school, with Thomas on guitar and Rick on bass/keyboards. The lineup we have now, though, didn’t really come together until winter 2002. We met Robbie (percussion) at a show and asked him to play guitar. However, after many fruitless attempts at finding a drummer, Robbie introduced us to John (guitar), and Robbie graciously agreed to step down from guitar and move to drums. We played our first show in February in Valdosta, GA.
How did you develop your sound as a band?
When we started out, we wanted to play music that kind of reflected our various influences, from Sunny Day Real Estate to American Football to Radiohead to Starflyer 59. Rick really loves the shoegaze-type stuff, bands like My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Ride, and sometimes that influence likes to creep into the songwriting process. All of us are also influenced by some of the more post-rocky and instrumental bands like Mogwai, The Six Parts Seven, Explosions in the Sky. As for our band sound, it’s kind of a logical extension of all of our different tastes in music. John and Robbie love more traditional alt-rock, like Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins. The sound has changed a bit since high school, too. Back then, it was really intricate, emo-type stuff; noodle for a bit and then power chord it at the end. With the new guys, especially John, we seem to have a developed a more atmospheric and sophisticated sound. More subtle, anyway. It all depends. With the new guys, for a while we unconsciously shifted into this mode where we would just try to rock. It would still be atmospheric, but just really rocking. We’ve kind of moved out of that a little bit, although it pops up a lot on the EP.
Describe the songwriting process for Northvia. What inspires you as a band?
Usually, one of us will bring in a riff and then we’ll try to flesh it out at practice. That’s usually the way it happens, anyway. Thomas came up with some of the ideas a long time ago. If you were to go and listen to the old bedroom demos, you’d hear some of the same guitar lines bleeding over. They just kind of took a different shape with a full band behind them. Inspiration is a little trickier. It’s not usually obvious where our songwriting influences come from, because we don’t have any lyrics. Different things inspire all four of us at different times. Whoever seems to be ‘inspired’ the most at the time will try to take control of the situation. Other times, Thomas will come to practice with an almost fully arranged song, and then we’ll tweak it until it sounds the way we want it to.
How do you feel so far about the songs you have recorded?
We’re extremely proud of the music we have made and recorded. The demo CD has kind of a neat concept: we wrote it so the five songs almost play like five movements of a whole piece (each song flows into the next without a pause). Our friends Questions in Dialect www.questionsindialect.com hooked us up with their friend Joey at Mile 5 recordings www.mile5recordings.com in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. We were really pleased with the end result; he did a great job recording and mixing us and was really able to capture our sound on the EP.
Any plans to release your music any time soon?
Well, our five song demo EP is available through our website, so email us if you’d like a copy. There are also plans to do some soundtrack work in the next couple months; a friend of ours is a film student doing his thesis. That’ll be real different. We kind of want to go really experimental with this one, see what we can do. We’re also thinking of maybe doing a 7” record sometime in the near future, or maybe a split record with another band. We’ll see.
What are some of the CD’s you guys have been listening to these days?
We’ve all been spinning the new Radiohead record, Hail to the Thief, which is pretty good. Robbie keeps rocking out to the Beck’s Sea Change. Thomas can’t get enough of Broken Social Scene, and Rick listens to so much music in a week that it’s hard to keep up with it, but lately he’s been listening to Brian Eno’s Music for Airports a lot.
Is there any particular message that you want to share with listeners through your music?
We’d like for people to have a meaningful experience when they listen to our music. Our goal is to create a mood or atmosphere or sound that can relate many experiences and feelings, kind of a soundtrack. We want people to listen to our music and be changed after the actual physical experience is over.
What was it like to open for Unwed Sailor?
It was awesome. Johnathon Ford, Nic Tse, and Matthew are some of the nicest people we’ve ever met. Very down-to-earth and laid back. We were a little nervous because these guys have been very influential to our perceptions of music. Meeting them and playing a show with them was kind of a culmination. But they were totally cool.
Describe for us the music scene in the south.
The south’s music scene is starting to pick up. There are a lot of really good bands around here, and a good variety of wonderful instrumental bands, like The Mercury Program www.mercuryprogram.com, Questions in Dialect, Pari Passu www.paripassu.net and Maserati www.ihaveadagger.com. The “scene”; we frequent the most, the whole Tallahassee, FL/Valdosta, GA scene, is still semi-reluctant to our genre of music. But most people have been really receptive and we are starting to develop a good fan base.
What is in the future for Northvia?
We’re really excited and optimistic about the future. We just want to see how far we can take this. It’s a great group of guys we have here, so the friendship also makes it worth it. As for the immediate future, we’ll be playing shows and working on the aforementioned soundtrack.
Any other comments?