A Conversation with Ben Lieber from Head North

PC: Courtney Kiara

Head North have had a whirlwind of a year and have finished it off with a bang. The 4-piece rock band from Buffalo not only released their first full-length record, The Last Living Man Alive Ever in the History of the World, this past summer, but they just finished off a cross-country tour with Trophy Eyes, Free Throw, and Grayscale. We were able to catch up with drummer Ben Lieber ahead of their Philadelphia show on December 15th.

So you’re currently on the Trophy Eyes tour and that’s almost over, how’s it been so far?

BL: It’s been good. They’re good people, we’re really tired at this point, but it’s been fun.

Is this your last project of 2017?

BL: Yeah, nothing else. I’m ready to go home and sleep for weeks.

What are you looking forward to in 2018? Do you guys have any plans?

BL: I’m doing a solo tour with my other project Marigold at the end of January so I’m looking forward to that and there’s more to come with Head North as well!

So, you guys are from Buffalo, NY and they have a really great scene up there. Have you been influenced by that scene or is that something you’ve tried to stray away from?

BL: Oh no. I mean, that was such a huge part of our roots. There are a lot of important people in the Buffalo music community that helped Head North a lot. We recorded our first few EPs in Buffalo and played shows for years. It’s very tight knit. It’s like a family.

You guys are also currently unsigned. Are labels something you’re not even looking at or are you just having a good time staying independent?

BL: We’re not against it, but it was just something that needed to happen for this release (TLLMEITHOTW). We’re definitely pursuing it in the future. Hopefully, we can find a home for the band that really just wants to help us do what we like.

Speaking of the latest release, this was not only the band’s first full length, but it was also a concept album. Did that make you guys want to keep the creative more within the band and kind of stay away from others chiming in?

BL: Essentially, yes. That was definitely an element, but we also made the record before we proposed anyone with it because we wanted to see our vision through and we did. Also, because it was a more out of the box sounding album from our previous releases, we kind of struggled finding somebody that would put a name to it. So, it was a combination of artistic freedom and us struggling  with finding a home for it. It kind of just got to the point where we wanted to just put it out.

It’s had a really great reception. What has been your favorite song from the album?

BL: My favorite song is Stranger Sounds.

Why?

BL: It sounds like a Goo Goo Dolls song to me. They’re from Buffalo and they’re like our hometown heroes. It just has a really great 2000’s radio rock feel. It’s got a good vibe to it. I think it’s one of the best songs we’ve ever written.

Why should people listen to Head North?

BL: Because they want to. If they don’t want to it’s okay. We did the whole thing a few years ago where we took the stance of the band that markets themselves and kind of convinces people to want to listen to you, but we’re over that. This is kind of the whole point with the record where we’re just going to do our thing and be ourselves and if people want to listen then that’s awesome, but we’re not going to push it down anybody’s throat.

You’re the only band I’ve ever seen who describe themselves as cosmic rock, which I somehow understand with your sound, but want to just explain by what you mean by cosmic rock?

BL: Hey you said for some reason you understand so it makes sense! We play loud rock music with, like, indie and electronic elements, but I feel like one of our strongest suits is how we can use the space and the air as we play. It’s a term that I felt like was unique.

Is there anything that you want to shout out?

BL: We just put out a cool video that I made. I do these collages and I made a music video for a song on our record.

So you’re also an artist? Does everyone else in the band have their own creative thing going outside of it?

BL: Yeah, everyone has different things that they’re into. Alex and Eli both do digital photography and  Brent does graphic design. He majored in it in college and works at some marketing agency in New York when we’re not touring. He’s always working, but he has his own solo stuff too under his name.

Is the music for Head North a complete collaborative effort or does one person usually come in with the idea and everyone will build off of it? What’s the process like?

BL: Yeah, something that we’ve really developed over the past year or two is trust with each other as far as songwriting and I think that the other people are strong songwriters. We let each other develop our own ideas before we bring them to the table, then if we have one riff we’ll be like okay, let’s build this song together. We  first pursued an idea on our own and then offered it to everybody and that worked out really well. I think that’s a reason why the last record is so much further from our previous music.

Well the album is great! Thanks again for taking the time to talk and I hope you have a great show tonight!

BL: Thank you!

Check out Head North below:

FB: facebook.com/HeadNorthNY

Twitter: @HeadNorthUSA

Instagram: @HeadNorthUSA

Spotify: spotify:artist:736nwXorhFmy09ZfEszaZb

BandCamp: https://headnorthny.bandcamp.com/