Name: A Northern Light
Hometown: Strabane / Dungannon
Genre: Electronic Post Punk
Line-up: Darren Doherty (Vocals & Guitar) | Colm Laverty- (Bass/Synth) | Omar Benhassine- (Drums & Electronic)
Similar to: 30 Seconds To Mars | Biffy Clyro | Angels & Airwaves
What They Say: “It’s a great battle between guitars and technology, we’ll call it a draw!”
What We Say: Shooting for anthemic choruses Jared Leto would be proud of.
◀ Q & A ▶
▶ Tell us about your stage name?
Darren: Myself and Omar’s previous band was called ‘Tapasia’ and it seemed to cause a lot of confusion for people searching for us online and such, so this time around we wanted something bold and simple but that still held some significance for us. A Northern Light is pretty self explanatory… but also has some personal meaning… which we keep to ourselves!
▶ When did you start playing music and how long did it take to find your own sound?
We have all been in quite a few bands throughout the years, stretching back as far as 1996! However, when we first imagined the premise for this one we were very clear about what we wanted. Massive, modern, larger than life tunes steeped in melody and fully embracing the very many developments in music technology. It took us some time to get it all working how we wanted it. Playing with the click track live was a learning experience – it still is!
▶ What releases have you put out so far?
Our first EP was called ‘Chase The Ghosts Away’ and looking back now it was quite a naive attempt at our sound. The songs however were all there, ‘A Touch Aggressive’ (the opening track) is still our finishing song live. We followed that with ‘The Right Thing To Do’ EP, which sounded far better, more mature and got a great reception for us. Our new single ‘Kill It’ is out 5th August and we’re very excited because it is a massive leap production-wise for us and people seem to be digging the new video. Woo.
▶ Is there a particular live show that stands out amongst all the rest?
I would say we all agree last November’s home town show in The Alley Theatre, Strabane, was our proudest moment. We had always talked about being popular enough to fill the place and putting on a proper visual performance and late last year we did it! It was a fully seated theatre show with massive visuals behind us, a trippy light show and probably WAY too much dry ice – but being big Rush and Pink Floyd fans that was not much of a problem for us.
▶ Can you talk about a Highlight of the journey so far?
As always with bands there are ups and downs, but playing last years T-Vital was pretty awesome. We played the acoustic tent during the day and the harsh rain meant the tent filled up just as we were starting; a fine stroke of luck – cheers Irish weather! The whole experience was class, playing the same event as the Foo Fighters has gotta be a big one for anyone!
▶ You are in control of forming a 4 piece ‘super group’ – who is in it and what do they do?
OK. I’ve been looking forward to this one.
There can be only one front man for me: Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer). The man has the greatest voice ever, such subtlety alongside SUCH aggression.
I believe Colm would pick Jonny Greenwood as guitarist and composer and I have no arguments with that, lovely scratchy telecaster noise.
On bass it would be Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel). He would alternate between bass and The Stick, it you haven’t heard of him or it then check it out – It will blow your head off.
Behind the kit is a tough one because we could have Danny Carey (Tool) or the great Neil Peart (Rush), but to keep it varied It has to be Travis Barker (Blink 182). The guy does everything from punk to rap to drum n bass, and with so much style. I reckon that’s one kick ass group.
▶ If you and 3 bands of your choosing were to do a world tour, who would the other 3 bands be?
I think the line-up would have to make sense music wise so with that in mind. We would open the show, followed by Angels and Airwaves, then Pendulum and closing with Rush… couldn’t help myself.
▶ What will be the 3 strangest things on your rider when you’re able to make any demand?
I imagine Colm would want a new kitten at every venue, Omar would demand a panda who DJs and I would diva it up by having Sly Stallone give us motivational speeches prior to each show.
▶ Who has been your biggest inspiration as a musician?
Personally my biggest influence is Noel Gallagher, normal bloke from a council estate ends up writing some of the greatest songs in popular music ever. Acts the complete rock star, does all the drugs, makes headlines all round the world, lives to tell the tale and still manages to come off as a cool guy. That’s how it’s done.
▶ What does ‘success’ mean to you?
Success to us would be a steady progression improving our songwriting, getting around the world a bit to play for as many people as possible and eventually not working bleak jobs anymore… that’s the main one – being able to make music every day.
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