An Interview with Northern Whale
Written by TAYLOR PIERCE on February 1, 2018
An Interview with Northern Whale for Black Squirrel Radio
By Taylor Pierce
Alternative-Indie-Pop Youngstown band Northern Whale has big plans for 2018, with upcoming shows and a full album in the works. Singer Jake Capezzuto talked with us all about the music scene in Youngstown, the band’s evolution since 2013, and what fans can expect this year in terms of new music.
It seems like the band has a pretty diverse sound, and that many of you play various instruments. Tell me a little bit about that.
Jake Capezzuto: None of us are really trained or have some strict music lesson-focused upbringing. Aside from our drummer Guido, who graduated with a degree in music, we all just kind of picked up on various instruments and taught ourselves to play. Over time, like many other things, we just got better and better.
How would you describe the genre of music you perform?
Jake: I would probably describe us to be a combination of ‘Alternative-Indie-Pop.’ We haven’t been fans of the “Pop” title to describe us, but lately we’ve just accepted the fact that “Pop” is a big part of us, and the music we like and write.
Do you currently have any new singles out?
Jake: Our latest single is called “Sushi” and it was released back in June.
The music scene in Youngstown has become quite impressive over the last few years. How does it feel to be a part of it?
Jake: It feels incredibly humbling. Brandon and myself have been in Northern Whale since we were like 15 years old. When we started, the majority of the Youngstown music scene was Classic Rock/Rock or Screamo/Metal. Not that there’s anything wrong with those genres, but it made it very difficult for us to kind of break through. We were also a much different band then. Coming from that and looking at what we have now, with bands like Model Rockets, Spirit of the Bear, Labra Brothers, The Vindy’s … we actually find it hard to believe that there could possibly be a local music scene better than the one in Youngstown, OH. For us to be able to say we’re a part of it has become more and more of a pleasantry and it’s very refreshing to see.
I noticed you have a nice variety of EP releases, and a couple singles out. Which has been your favorite release as a band?
Jake: That depends who you ask. For me, my favorite collection of songs we’ve released is the Sailor of the Seven Seas EP. My favorite single release is probably “Deep” just because of the crazy organic success it’s had. I think we all have a different opinion on that — for now.
How did it feel to release your first full length LP in 2015? How has your music changed since then?
Jake: It was a relief when it was finally released, because of the time and effort it took to create it. It didn’t quite reach the pinnacles we were hoping for, but it’s still good to say we have an entire LP under our belt. Our music since has changed quite significantly, and we’re very excited for the future. We’ve learned to obey the songs more as opposed to what we like. I love playing my synth, but if the song doesn’t call for it, then we won’t add it. We’ve taken a simpler approach to our arrangements in certain aspects, and I feel as though the songs we’re making now feel much more organic and not so forced. In a lot of ways, you could say we’re going back to our 2013 EP roots, but it’s all very fresh. We’re still hoping to surprise some people.
I see you plan to release an album soon. Tell me about that?
Jake: After the release of “Deep”, we didn’t really have a plan. That song was basically a message saying “Hey, we’re still here and we can make really good songs.” We then recorded and released “Lost” a year later. After “Lost”, we were back in the studio much more frequently with several songs. We still weren’t sure what the plan was. We just knew we had cool songs we wanted to lay down. “Sushi” eventually came from these various recording sessions and we knew that it felt more like a stand-alone single than most of the other songs. Since then, we’ve decided to set our sights on another full length LP. I can’t say much about it other than that it is an album, and there are 13 songs on it. Three of which being “Deep”, “Lost”, and “Sushi”.
Do you have any upcoming shows or events?
Jake: We’ve been rather scarce with our shows lately. Mostly due to the fact that we want to finish this album. But our next scheduled show is February 24th at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts in Youngstown, OH with a super cool band from Kentucky called VISIT. There are also some bigger things in the works.
Where’s a good place for people to listen to your new music?
Jake: All of our music is available wherever people listen to music. Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon, etc. You can also listen on our website and on our YouTube channel. You can even place us at bars and restaurants that have TouchTunes jukeboxes.
What’s a goal you have as a band for 2018? Where do you want to see your music go and how would you like to evolve as a band?
Jake: The main goal for 2018 is releasing this album. Once that happens, we’ll start to look beyond it at the possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead.