Let’s play a game. I’m thinking of something that would benefit the music industry. Now, if you guessed the deportation of Justin Bieber back to Canada, you get an A for effort. However, that’s not it. Right answer: people need to hear more of the Dallas-based band Northern National.
Northern National is a new group (all members are named Michael. C’mon you know that’s awesome) with a traditional pop/alternative sound described as a “mix between an old John Mayer and Matchbox Twenty” by band member Michael Kanne. Their first album “Young & in Love” debuted last September containing their hit single “She.” Inspired by artists like Allen Stone, Ft. Worth band Green River Ordinance, and older artists, this band is sure to meet success with their fresh sound. Michael Kanne, the band’s keyboardist, took the time to answer a few of my questions. Here you go, music nerds and readers who are being forced to read this by a media professor. (I’m not stupid. Well, normally.)
The DC: Did you know that you wanted to be a musician from the get-go?
Kanne: “I personally didn’t. The lead singer I think did. The other guy wanted to be a golfer. He wanted to play golf in college but ended going the music route. I love music, but the funny thing for me is that I suck at singing. I’m a terrible singer (welcome to the club, Michael). I write all of the songs, and I write a lot of the melody stuff. As a songwriter, sucking at singing is very interesting because people get really surprised ‘like oh you write songs. What kind of music do you sing?’ and I’m like ‘well, I sing back up if that.’ For me, I always wanted to play basketball. I knew that through high school. Then, I wanted to do theater for a point, and then I was like ‘I’ve always liked writing poetry, so maybe I should get into this songwriting thing.’ It’s been an interesting ride, but for the last five or six years, I’ve been writing songs, but it’s definitely not something I started with.”
The DC: What is your best memory so far as a musician?
Kanne: “There are a lot of cool moments. For us, one of our favorite memories was our CD release show because we had a lot of family and friends there. You know, being able to celebrate something you’ve worked on for awhile with family and friends was amazing. We do a lot of different college shows and play at different sorority events, so that’s been cool. The coolest moment lately was having one of our songs on the TV show ‘Cougar Town.’ It was in the background of a bar scene, so you could hear it, but it wasn’t super loud. But at the same time, just being able to see our music on a TV show was a super cool thing.”
The DC: You are scheduled to play here at SMU sorority events, correct?
Kanne: “Yes, we are. I think it’s going to be later on. We haven’t gotten the exact dates down. It’s more of a toss right now, but hopefully we can work it out and make it happen.”
The DC: Are you currently working on anything that you can share with us or are you focused on touring right now?
Kanne: “It’s a mix right now. We can say that we will be looking at releasing new music in late 2015 or early 2016. But y’all can be expecting a lot of touring and flying around this spring and summer, but we will also be releasing live music, just live performance videos of one new song and a couple more off the record, as well as a new music video.”
The DC: I know this is kind of a debated question, but how would you define success in the music industry?
Kanne: “For sure, that is a debated question. I think there is two ways of thinking about it. One is if someone listens to a song and loves it or someone has been influenced by our music in a positive light. That’s a huge success and the sense of why we do music for sure. When it comes down to success in financial terms, you know, we are really a new band and formed last May and then released our debut in September, so it was more of an independent thing for us to get our name out there. Now, it’s just about playing and getting in front of new people. When someone comes to a show and says ‘your song has been stuck in my head all day,’ that’s a real success for us for sure.”
Speaking of shows (see what I did there), Northern National is opening for artist Max Frost on Saturday night at the House of Blues. Get your tickets and come prepared to have your music taste buds nourished. Also, make sure to catch my coverage of the show in Monday’s issue as well as an interview with an amazing new artist. Until then, enjoy your weekend, don’t get too crazy (or go nuts – you do you, kid), and avoid any music that sounds remotely “Bieberish.” Or go blast Justin’s first album, dance like you’ve never felt the pain of an all-nighter, and then deny that ever happened. It’s not like I’ve done it or anything…