Interview: Josh Smith of NORTHLANE

Words/Interview by Suze Blacketer

Festivals are slowly returning to our calendars and one of the biggest announcement to date is Full Tilt. With a huge line-up that includes Northlane, Thy Art is Murder, In Hearts Wake, Thornhill, Make Them Suffer and Alpha Wolf, music fans are heralding the return of live music by snapping up tickets.

For headliners Northlane it will be their first time on stage since their hugely successful Alien tour in 2019. I caught up with guitarist Josh Smith for a quick chat about the festival and their latest single ‘Clockwork’.

Hey Josh, how are you?

I’m great. How are you?

Good thanks. Very excited for Full Tilt!

So am I.

It’s nice to see festivals slowly returning.

Just to play live music in general.

Oh yeah, you guys haven’t actually played since Covid have you?

No, we have been waiting for the right opportunity and this was the right opportunity for us. We didn’t want to go and play shows again until we could do it the way that we wanted to. We didn’t want to have to water it down. Full Tilt gives us the opportunity to do that.

I guess playing that show ties in with your latest single ‘Clockwork’, around the return to writing and playing again. The anxiety around it and having that first gig back after so long.

Your right about the anxiety part. I think ‘Clockwork’ came out at the right time for this festival. It couldn’t have been better timing actually. We are really excited to finally play it live.

I’m excited to hear it live.

The anxiety though really just stems from the fact that we are perfectionists and like I said to you we really want to put on the best show that we can. We’ve headlined festivals before; we know what to do. It’s a walk in the park for us, we have had a decade of experience. We are going to put on a brilliant show but have not done it for a while it is a little scary.

That little bit of rustiness.

I don’t think we will be rusty, but you know we are human, and we feel all the same things that everyone else does. Sometimes shit like this feels scary until you walk out onto the stage and then you realise everything is fine.

Your home and you know exactly what to do. Your new single is the theme song for Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Oceanic Nationals eSport League 2021. I have to admit I needed to go and look up what that was!!!

Yeah, that was amazing. Ubisoft reached out to us around the end of last year asking us if we could do a track for them to the soundtrack to their tournament for Rainbow Six. We showed them a bunch of demos from the album that we were working on at the time, which I am actually recording at the moment. They like Clockwork so we finished it off and recorded it all remotely and got it done just in time. It was really cool to work with them on that and be involved in eSports.

Recording remotely, would that have been the first time you guys have had to do that?

We write that way, so it wasn’t that difficult. We just had to buy some equipment, make sure that we had certain equipment to be able to do it properly. It was recorded while there were still snap lockdowns happening so it was pretty risky, and it could have fallen over at any time, but we managed to get it finished.

And your working on an album?

Yes. So right now I’m in a house in the Dandenong Ranges just outside of Melbourne and we are going to be here right up until when Full Tilt happens to record our sixth studio album.

That’s what I like to hear! Although Alien was pretty special.

Yeah, we are really proud of that album, we always will be.

That tour was pretty special, the Adelaide leg for me was just one of those special moments. I also got to sneak peek at the Roundhouse show before it went online. That was probably one of the best live shows I have ever seen, and I wasn’t even there.

That was a very special one but that whole tour was incredible. It was pretty much sold out around the world and it was a really great return to form for us. We turned everything around and came back guns blazing.

And some!! And you are now a four-piece?

Yeah, we are a four-piece now. I was very sad to see Brendan leave but he had his reasons. To be honest I don’t even think he would have been able to perform in Australia with us at Full Tilt. It is what it is.

Has that changed much up for you guys?

No, not really. It’s still the same four people that have been working together as a unit for a very long time now. So while Brendan has gone Jon and myself are founding members, Nick joined the band only a few months after that and Marcus came along a little later, but we have had cohesion for a very long time. It hasn’t really changed heaps, to be honest.

I guess the excitement is building to be able to tour around the country.

Beyond excited. Live shows are the pay off for us as artists. It’s the kind of stuff that makes us feel like our lives have meaning. Having that taken away from us was very difficult but music is back, live shows are back, and we are absolutely thrilled to be a part of it. The line-up for the festival is so good, and all these friends I haven’t seen forever that are performing. It’s just going to be awesome.

Yes, Josh indeed it is going to be awesome. Full Tilt is coming to a city near you throughout June and July so make sure you grab yourself a ticket.

Watch the music video for "Clockwork" below:

Tour Dates & Line Up:


Saturday 12 June - Eaton's Hill Outdoors, Brisbane

Line Up: Northlane | Hands Like Houses | In Hearts Wake | Thy Art Is Murder | Luca Brasi | Slowly Slowly | Make Them Suffer | Frenzal Rhomb | Press Club | Alpha Wolf | Thornhill | Yours Truly | The Bennies | Reliqa


Saturday 3 July - Coburg Velodrome, Melbourne

Line Up: Northlane | Hands Like Houses | In Hearts Wake | Frenzal Rhomb | Thy Art Is Murder | Luca Brasi | Slowly Slowly | Make Them Suffer Press Club | Alpha Wolf | Thornhill | Yours Truly | The Bennies | Drown This City


Saturday 17 July - Adelaide Showground, Adelaide

Line Up: Northlane | Hands Like Houses | In Hearts Wake | Frenzal Rhomb | Thy Art Is Murder | Luca Brasi | Slowly Slowly | Make Them Suffer

...and more to be announced


Saturday 31 July - Bella Vista Farm, Sydney

Line Up: Northlane | Hands Like Houses | In Hearts Wake | Frenzal Rhomb | Thy Art Is Murder | Luca Brasi | Slowly Slowly | Make Them Suffer | Press Club | Alpha Wolf | Thornhill | Redhook | The Bennies | Closure

Head to for more information.

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