NORTHCOTE is Matt Goud, Stephen McGillivray, Mike Battle & Derek Heathfield.
2015 - Hope Is Made of Steel is the third full-length album from Northcote, the moniker of Canadian songwriter Matt Goud. The album arrives September 2015 and is an exciting step forward for the hard working artist. 2014 saw Goud and his band mates build their audience around the world with over 160 shows throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and the UK. The new record reflects Northcote's punk rock and folk influences while sonically embracing the rock sound that they have developed through 18 months of near constant touring on the road.
“When I was putting together songs for this record, I wanted to pursue the ones that didn't feel necessarily like Northcote-type songs.” Goud says. There was a big batch that I knew could work and that could fit well with the other records, but I wanted to pursue the material that felt surprising and challenging to me. The record feels vulnerable in that way and reflects some of the experiences I have had in life and from all the touring we have done.”
Hope Is Made of Steel confirms emphatically that Northcote has emerged from a coffee house singer/songwriter into something more fleshed out and fierce. Following years of solo touring around the world, Goud and his band mates Stephen McGillivray (guitar), Mike Battle (bass) and Derek Heathfield (drums) ventured together on Northcote’s European headlining tour and in the Spring of 2015 the same group supported New Jersey icons The Gaslight Anthem on a five-week tour across North America. Northcote’s larger scale full band tours of the past months have foreshadowed Hope Is Made Of Steel, which is forged by Americana-rock electric guitar and soulful hard-hitting rock drums.
"I’ve been touring solo or with various arrangements for almost seven years and I’m in a place where I want to start playing more electric guitar, feeling that energy and freedom you get with playing the songs loud and with the band. With this record it is a priority for me to bring a more dynamic show on the road."
Along with a heavy touring schedule Goud, his wife Brittany and their two dogs Libby and Gigi have uprooted twice in the past year moving from Victoria to Ottawa and back again, nearly 3,000 miles in each direction. The theme of movement and finding ones place in the world continues to be a central theme for Northcote, however this time the feeling is more clearly communicated and soaked in experience.
“In between tours I was writing songs in the basement of Lydia’s bar on Bank Street in Ottawa. When we decided to move back to Victoria, Britt went ahead of the dogs and I to find an apartment. I spent a couple more weeks alone in Ottawa before driving the car across the country with the dogs. Upon arrival in Victoria, I turned around and immediately started tracking the new album in Vancouver that very next weekend. We had the bed tracks done before the moving truck showed up. I think that stress and energy influenced the album positively by allowing me to be more raw and direct in the writing and making of the record.”
Hope Is Made Of Steel was produced by Vancouver-based Musician and Producer Dave Genn (54-40, Hedley, Matthew Good Band). Additional special collaborators and contributors include producer Gavin Brown (Metric, Billy Talent), and guest vocal appearances by Canadian songstress Hannah Georgas, and two of Goud’s biggest influences – Chuck Ragan and Dave Hause.
Goud credits the artists he has toured with in the past two years as influences on his work ethic, and approach to writing and performing live.
“I was lucky enough in the past couple years to support some of my heroes in music. I learned that seizing the moment in front of you is the most important aspect to touring. I look up to musicians like Chuck (Ragan) and Dave (Hause) in particular and how their personality and spirit is so visible in their music. I think there is a lot of dread in that vulnerability, but there is also a type of freedom. I’ve always been attracted to artists who are 'laying-it-on-the-line’, no matter what the genre may be.”
Although the album sounds brave and fresh, there is plenty of dynamic and variety here. ‘Small Town Dreams’ is the third track and represents a progression for the band to a more alternative/modern rock leaning sound. The song tells the story of small town youthful naivety – all the hopes and dreams of the two characters someday making it to the big city. In contrast, the track ‘Leaving Wyoming’ echoes the sensitivity and heart-on-your-sleeve storytelling that of tracks from previous albums such as ‘Speak Freely’ from the album Northcote (2013) and ‘Under the Streetlights’ from the album Gather No Dust (2011).
"There is a clarity to the songs that I think I may have struggled with in the past.” Goud admits. “I remember playing at the Horseshoe in Toronto last summer and a friend asked me what a particular song of mine meant to me, and I didn’t haven’t a very clear answer. I feel on this record, I have written a batch of songs that are more direct and that feels less safe. I challenged myself to be more lyrically direct on this album, and I believe I have accomplished that.”