Northcote (aka Matt Goud) plays the Moustache Club in Oshawa July 28. The SASK. singer/songwriter is touring his latest release, his third full-lenght, Hope is Made of Steel. Originally Northcote was a solo project but it has grown into a full band with Stephen McGillivray (guitar), Mike Battle (bass) and Derek Heathfield (drums). Goud has also been working with producre Gavin Brown and the album includes guest vocalists Hannah Georgas, Chuck Ragan and Dave Hause. His gruff but gentle vocal style and his heart-on-his-leather-jacket-sleeve draws comparisons to The Boss, Bruce Springsteen but one can see where his heart really lies on the songs he chooses to cover, from Modern Baseball to Florence + the Machine, its a diverse list and we had to ask him which side is he on musically - past or present?
SlowCity.ca: There is an obvious working class rock n roll vibe to your sound of course - when creating music do you prefer to dig deep back into the roots of that sound or do you rather push yourself to explore new musical territory, instruments, sounds?
Northcote: "I like to hear what people are doing currently. I usually will have one or two bands on the go, which I am going trough their discography in more depth. Recently I went over Tom Waits albums again and was listening back to Leonard Cohen. Both of those artists have cool new records. There is a group called Big Thief that has a new album out called Masterpiece. I've listened to that a lot. This morning I am listening to an album called Indian Ocean by Frazy Ford. As far as influences I believe it is much better to pick a couple things and get really obsessed with them. The alternative is borrowing broad strokes from classic artists and that can leave you feeling a little stale. I'm going to try and get into something that makes me freak out a bit, and go after that. With creating you are not really supposed to be trying to just fit in. Plus there can only be one Tom Waits anyway."
SlowCity.ca: We seem to be heading to a place where people are going to have to choose what side they are on - Springsteen and Billy Bragg, Frank Turner and others are outspoken in their support of social issues- it goes hand in hand with the style of music they play - What is your opinion on artists and musicians talking and singing about social issues, do artists have a platform?
Northcote: "I don't believe that the artist is responsible to anyone. The work is the most important for the socially active and for the more inactive. There is a need for beauty for its own sake, and for beautiful work with a more palatable message. Remember there is art that can cause both healing and discord. For the most part, they each have their place. Personally I am very moved by songs that are more blatantly political. But in a way all songs that share a sincere point of view are political in nature. An important act for us in Canada is A Tribe Called Red. They are doing great things. Yes artists have a platform, on the big stage or at an open mic, cafe or blog. If say the best 'political' acts follow their own passion, even if it's not political in nature you will be surprised by the meaning it may take on. When you hear Otis Redding it's not political songs really, it is mostly forelorn love songs , but the lines all blur and run together, you can hear and see all of America when you listen to it."
See and hear all of Northcote at the Moustache Club July 28 2016