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The Northwest is on the brink of something big

Local band The Northwest has been performing since forming in 2013, but the release of their latest album 'All In' has pushed the band to new heights

The Northwest, a five-piece Sault-based band, has had some stunning recent successes.

From the outside, it really feels like things are really coming together after nearly nine years performing as a band, three releases and multiple videos later.

“This year has been amazing,” says Wayne Watkins, vocalist and guitar player for The Northwest,

“We put a lot of time and effort into this new EP, really trying to focus on the release and get this in front of as many people as possible.”

Joining Watkins in the band is Mike Yakasovich on guitar/vocals, Greg Callaghan on guitar/vocals, Mike Smykacz on bass guitar, and Marc Santos on drums.

“We spoke to a lot of industry people beforehand to help us map out a proper release strategy,” says Watkins.

“It’s really something we are proud of.”

The band has seen positive reviews of their album, airplay on stations across Canada, songs played during Hockey Night in Canada (multiple times) and most recently a successful opening slot at the GFL Memorial Gardens, warming up the venue for the show’s headliners Mariana’s Trench and The Trews.

Asked if the opportunity to play the “Gardens” with the legacy of all the great bands that have played there over the years impacted the band, Watkins confirmed it was a “dream come true.”

“Oh for sure … as soon as we walked on stage I had chills,” says Watkins.

“Even leading up to the show, I felt overwhelmed at points that it was actually happening. Really, it was all about just being in the moment and enjoying the day.”

The frontman confirmed that the attention that The Northwest had recently been getting seems to be on a much larger scale than what many local bands see.

“In 2019, when we found out we received the Ontario Arts Council grant, we decided that we wanted to try to take the next step,” he says.

“Our goal on this release was to jump out of the ‘local band’ category. As a songwriter, I really wanted to see this project viewed as a ‘band from Canada’ and to really start to reach new markets and audiences.”

Although a full Canadian tour doesn’t currently make financial sense for the band, they are bringing their music to new communities.

“Our strategy is really just weekend shows or heading out of town to play when it makes financial sense or if the opportunity is going to be a benefit.”

Watkins also notes that the band is currently applying to as many Canadian festivals for Summer 2023 as possible.

“We have also applied to a festival in the U.K. for next spring,” he says.

“So let’s hope we can share that news soon!”

In the meantime, The Northwest has an upcoming show in North Bay to play a concert series put on by Guerilla Grooves Music Performance Series.

“We are also planning our holiday show at LopLops where we will be celebrating a very successful year.”

Watkins says that the band is grateful for all the community support they have been receiving.

“First, we all have to thank our family and partners for the support and having our backs. We are all dads with young kids, so our partners have been amazing and encouraging for us,” he says.

Our group of friends have also been really supportive. All In all, it’s been great to see people have our back and support what we are doing.”

The Northwest’s EP All In was released on June 10 and is available on most streaming platforms.

Listen to The Northwest on their Apple Music or Spotify page.

Keep updated on the band by following their FacebookBandcampInstagramTicTok, or Twitter pages.