Folksy – but in a good way

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Punk taught Northcote about the world, but singing gave him hope. /Image: Listen Harder

Punk taught Northcote about the world, but singing gave him hope. /Image: Listen Harder

Northcote reflects on changing dreams

Article: Dana Morenstein – Contributor

Sometimes, every so often, on a full moon in October, an opening band is as good as the headliner. Which is exactly what happened when newcomers The Dead South opened up for seasoned singer songwriter, Northcote. You can’t fault a band that knows how to hustle, which is exactly what The Dead South did. Upon a spontaneous request for a quick interview, vocalist Nate Hilts eagerly agreed to speak and answered each question thrown his way, without more than a few moments preparation.

“As far as musical success, we just want to be places where people want to hear our music and have a good time with it,” Hilts answers when asked if he’s content opening for other bands or if he really just wants to be famous.

“Whether we’re opening or headlining, we do this to have fun and so other people have fun as well.”

The Dead South proudly sell their CDs for donation.

“As people donate, we can save up to start recording more records.”

Northcote—also known by his name, Matt Goud—has a way about him that’s quiet, yet self-assured. He has received considerable success as a musician, having recently released a self-titled album and will soon be embarking on a European tour. He’s traveled and performed consistently over the past eight years, first in a post-hard-core band and now as a singer songwriter. He credits his beginning in music to singing in church as a kid, jamming to Nirvana on his brother’s drum set, and eventually teaching himself how to play guitar.

[pullquote]“When I was younger, [music] made me think about things I didn’t think about. That’s still kind of going on. When you listen to music, you connect with it: it opens your world. Almost like you’re living another life, or you can feel something that someone else feels. You gain wisdom and empathy from music.”[/pullquote]

“When I was a kid, I wanted to be a broadcaster,” Goud reflects. “But then, I hit my teen years and I wanted to become a minister. I was a devout believer. When I was a teenager, I had never heard of veganism, homophobia, sexism, or anything about world trade. Punk music taught me all that. Even though I’m no longer a believer, I have a hope. I have a purpose. When I was younger, [music] made me think about things I didn’t think about. That’s still kind of going on. When you listen to music, you connect with it: it opens your world. Almost like you’re living another life, or you can feel something that someone else feels. You gain wisdom and empathy from music.”

Northcote plays music that sounds folksy, but in a good way. The songs seemed to urgently push themselves forward, away from his soul, and towards the crowd. His voice is strong, powerful, convincing, and clear.

The Dead South, on the other hand, are twangy, blue grassy, and a little bit grimy—in a good way, too. Their stage presence made the crowd, quite literally, stomp their feet and dance on tables. They got the audience revved up and ready to go, like they were supposed to. Then Northcote took the stage and happily calmed them down.

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