Concert Crap: You guys recently released your first full length album The Last Living Man Alive Ever in the History of The World , how does it feel to have people listening to it?
Benjamin Lieber: It’s been such a long journey start to finish, I will admit there was a point where I thought it would never come out; it’s slowly sinking in that it’s not in our hands anymore and that is a wonderful feeling. Couldn’t be happier to share our best work with those who want to hear it.
CC: So the story behind this record is that it’s a concept album about a world where God and love are forbidden. What made you decide you wanted it to be a concept album?
BL: I don’t think it was necessarily a “we want it to be about THIS” . I think that the current state of the band as well as our personal lives at that time really put this record’s story in our laps for us, and it just took us realizing that to make something of it.
CC: This album is different from most of your previous work, there’s a lot of new sounds that haven’t been heard from you. What made you decide to do that? Did you just want to try something new?
BL: A combination of things. A strong topic in this record (I feel) is the distaste and exhaustion of every band sounding the same, doing the same things, just churning out money, etc. We felt ourselves becoming that with our previous releases, the direction the band was heading, and what avenues we were working with. This was a big reason why we stepped back for a bit, so we could really figure out who we were, and how our music reflected that, instead of trying to create something that would sell or please the big guys in suits. In addition, we worked with some pretty incredible people on the recording of this record (Brett Romnes, Gary Cioni, Kevin Kumetz at Barber Shop Studios) who I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t say were a huge reason for this records unique sound. We tried many different weird, untraditional recording techniques, and ran with any idea that popped into our heads, and I think it absolutely shows. That is by far my proudest piece of this record; it has a sound of its own, and its Head North, and it’s absolutely never been done before.
CC: What was the writing process like for this album?
BL: This album we definitely took a different approach as to previous. Before TLLMA, it always was, “Everybody stand in the jam space, throw an idea out there, and then we just play with each other until some structure formed, and then Brent would put lyrics in the mix.” It was tedious, stressful, and often turned out a mediocre result because we felt pressured and the juices weren’t flowing. This time, we all developed our personal ideas much much more before bringing them to the band; Brent had whole song structures put together, I had full drum and percussive parts written out; and we trusted each other to have a good idea and see it through, and it made less stressful work and more enjoyable work for everyone involved. We are all such good musicians on our own (Brent and I both have our own solo projects as well) that it makes sense for us to let that work naturally and then build on it even more when we come together as Head North. It took us a while to realize that, but we did for this record and it shows.
CC: My favorite song from the album is “Hibernation Hymn, I like how raw it sounds and the lyrics. Where did you get the inspiration for that song?
BL: That song plays into the story of the album for sure, but it’s pretty reflective of winters in Buffalo and how intense your surrounding environment can effect you.
CC: Your going on tour pretty soon with Gates and Vasudeva, how excited are you to get back out on the road and play your new music?
BL: Couldn’t be more. I hope people like the new music cuz it’s all we’re playing! 🙂
CC: What are some records you’ve been listening to lately?
BL: I’ve revisited Sgt Pep recently and it’s pretty much been the only thing I’ve been listening to. I think it’s because we released the record, and theres a lot of parallels between this release for us and Sgt Pep’s release for The Beatles. That’s a different interview, though. haha 🙂
All questions answered by Benjamin Lieber, drummer for Head North
Post and interview by Madeline Cronin
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