The Northwestern

Craig Broad 28/10/2009

It isn't easy being in a band. Sometimes things conspire against you; sometimes you can barely make ends meet. Even if you do 'make it', maybe you'll be popular for one song, maybe you'll be popular for a few albums, there are no guarantees and there is no certain way to second guess the market in an attempt to create success. You speak with most musicians who have a record out, ask them why the make music and why they battle with the constantly uncertainty and they will answer the same way as Sam Herlihy, “It's just what we do. We write songs and want to make records and play shows. It's our job and all most of us know how to do well”. The difference is, that Herlihy has already gained some form of success, at least underground success with his former band Hope of the States and such modesty is endearing. You wonder how a musician can keep on writing, after all, surely everything has already been achieved, bands aren't cheap and they are no picnic to keep going, so it can often feel strange when someone comes back with an all new band and an all new attitude. With The Northwestern the struggle for attention has already begun, not only with music fans but for label support as well, something that Herilhy has already dealt with before and knew exactly what to expect, “There are amazing, excited, bright people at major labels as well as money grabbing artistically dumb scumbags. These two categories of people work at "indie" labels too. I can see the benefits of doing things alone but often it's nicer to be in a gang”. There are no overblown ideals of global success and groupies, just a sheer love of creation, at whatever cost.

Picasso once wrote “Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction” and in speaking with Sam Herlihy, that is the impression I attained from him. The death of Hope of the States has led to a rebirth for him both in a musical and attitude sense, one that takes him away from what he has described as the 'political, postrawk' sound of Hope Of The States and into something that he has described as “more fluid and interesting”. There are no huge tours on the horizon, there are no album releases forthcoming either, The Northwestern are about small victories with Herlihy happy to admit that The Northwesternwould love to play anywhere that will have us”. The main thing is, that The Northwestern are up for the fight, they know that they will be compared to their former bands and they know that the industry may not fully accept their not so mainstream sound but they are doing it for as good a reason as any, “the only intention for us, was to write good songs” and good luck to them for it.

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