After six years of writing and performing music together, Sault five-piece band Northwest is ready to take it to the next level, performing their music outside the Sault for the first time by playing at the Rock On The River music festival in Timmins July 26.
“I think we’re all at that point in the band where we want to take our music to other markets,” said Northwest lead vocalist Wayne Watkins, speaking to SooToday before playing SooToday Stage Two at Rotaryfest Saturday evening.
The group has recently released its second EP, simply entitled Songs From 2015-2017, available through Spotify and other streaming services.
“We play rock n’ roll with a punk rock edge to it,” Watkins said.
“I think all of us are influenced by Weezer. We all grew up in the punk rock community,” said Watkins, the band also drawing inspiration from Bruce Springsteen, The Flatliners and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
The band, consisting of Watkins, Greg Callaghan, guitarist/ vocalist, Mike Yakasovich, guitarist/vocalist, bassist Mike Smykacz and drummer Marc Santos, formed in 2013, inspired to name their group Northwest when celebrity couple Kanye West and Kim Kardashian named their newborn son North West.
“That was a major piece of pop news at the time. It fit and it sounded cool,” Watkins said.
Six years later, “we all hold jobs and we’re all Dads, new Dads who entered fatherhood at the same time...it’s really cool to see a local band that’s gone through this much family dynamic change and still come together to play and write music,” Watkins said.
“Now that we’re Dads, I want to show my kids it’s important to have something like music to have fun with, stick to it and challenge yourself to become better at it...I think that’s what it’s about for me now,” Watkins said.
“Music’s something we all grew up doing, something we found a leave or an escape in,” Callaghan said.
“We just keep going. Music is art, and art is the release from the monotony of everyday. Other guys have bowling leagues and stuff like that. We have a band. It makes perfect sense for us,” Yakasovich said.
Of course, the chance the group will write their first hit song that changes everything remains an added incentive to keep working together.
“There’s always that ‘what if?’ What if you write that one song (that brings fame)?” Watkins said.