The sun is setting on upon an English treasure. Northern Oak are setting out on their last journey before night falls upon the band. But, before they go, they will be sharing a series of three farewell shows late February / early March. One final chance to see their folk inspired metal live before the experience passes away leaving the scene that little bit poorer for their absence.
ZT caught up with Martin Collins [vocals] to gain some insight into the decision, share some memories and to shed some light on the upcoming dates:
Why is the band calling it quits after the dates?
Rich [bass] said he wanted to leave for various reasons and this sparked a conversation amongst the remaining members about the future of the band. We had a lot of discussion and eventually reached the conclusion that this had been the definitive line-up of the band. We wanted to end it on a high with the current line-up and successful release of our recent album Of Roots and Flesh. We’ve shared some amazing moments and done some amazing things and it just wouldn’t be the same with a different group of people.
How would you like to be remembered?
As the greatest flute-wielding, nature-obsessed progressive folk metal band that Sheffield has ever produced! on a more serious note, that the music that we made continues to keep mean something to everybody who listens to it. We created some very powerful and emotive songs, which we feel have a truly unique sound. We hope our fans continue to enjoy and appreciate them for a very long time to come. To paraphrase some lyrics from one of our songs- “May we leave our mark and shape the flow of history.”
Are you looking forward to getting out there one final time?
We’re really looking forward to it. It as an opportunity to say thank you to all the people who have supported us and come to watch us over the years. It is also a chance to have a big party and celebrate what we’ve achieved together – band, fans and friends alike! We’ve had some great gigs in Nottingham and London in the past but it’s the Sheffield gig that is obviously going to be the most emotional. We’re playing a real selection of songs from the first to the current album so it will be a night that people remember!
What is your best memory from the years of the band?
The one we all agree on was playing the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock Open Air 2010. It was the biggest gig we’d done and it was an incredible experience from start to finish- the crowd were really into it, there were a whole bunch of people that we didn’t know wearing our shirts at the front (sounds sad, but we were genuinely amazed that people we didn’t know were fans of us!) and it felt like we did one of our strongest performances despite a few sound troubles. After that we all have different memories dear to our heart whether it was other shows like supporting Moonsorrow and playing Beermageddon, the success of our Kickstarter campaign and being able to record at Skyhammer Studios with Chris Fielding, which was an incredible experience. There will also be all the memories of the little things – our adventures together trying to find a weird and wonderful variety of venues, making so many friends in other bands, that experience of finishing a song in the practice room and not being able to wait to play it live for people and having a celebratory meal together every Christmas.
What will the members be doing music wise once the sun sets on Northern Oak?
Catie already plays in various other folk projects so will continue with those. She’s not sure there’s much call for metal flautists but you never know! Chris has a whole bunch of ideas and riffs lying around for various different projects and his goal is to get a semi-decent home studio set up so he can work on some of them. He has plans for something a lot lighter and groovier than Northern Oak (more stoner rock) as well as some black metal where he can just throw blastbeats at everything. No other personnel involved just yet since he’s still in the planning stages, but he hopes the years of experience with Northern Oak will make the process of getting another band set up a lot easier. Digby will be trading in the keyboard for a proper synthesiser and indulging in his love of ridiculous electronic music. Also spending a year doing some proper violin practice! Martin has no intentions for musical projects at the moment, he will be focusing on his practice of Buddhism and other creative endeavours such as writing and painting. Rich is taking a break from music for now but looks forward to creating music again in the future. Wib has always been in multiple bands so there is no doubt his music making will continue!
So, we hope you will join them on their farewell journey in Nottingham, London or Sheffield.
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