Northern Vibe just dropped a video for their new song “Timeline” due out on their next album, Waking Moments , still in production. This will be the follow up to their debut EP released January 2014. The group consists of Drew Bayura on lead vocals and drums, Levi Toth on guitar, Pete Brucker on bass and Kim McInnis on keyboards. You’ll notice some recognizable scenes in this one with shots from Point State Park and West Overton Village in Scottdale, PA. Pittsburgh native, actress Sydney Samery takes the lead role and is filmed by Marc Liscio of 20:1 Productions. You can see them live April 5 for the Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle at Bloomfield Bridge Tavern and Art All Night April 23 at Scott Electric in Lawrenceville. Check out the premiere of “Timeline” and see our interview with the band below!
Sound Scene Express: Can you give me a brief bio about your band?
Drew: Northern Vibe started in 2013, when Levi and I started jamming with a couple other friends. It was mostly a recording project at first while we figured out the kind of music we wanted to make, and what message we wanted to send. That message got stronger when Pete and Kim joined in 2015, so we decided to focus our energies on reaching more people through shows and online.
SSE: When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music
Levi: We started just exploring sounds and songs while recording together in 2012. The storytelling aspect of songwriting is really important to us. We’re musicians, so of course we love a rippin’ guitar solo; but we want to connect with people, and you do that through stories.
SSE: Have you been in any other bands?
Pete: Funny you ask that. Before I found myself in Northern Vibe, I played in 4 bands; 3 at one time. It was fun, and every band was different. But I knew I wanted to make my roots in Northern Vibe. When perform, I feel a magic in the air. It’s something unmistakable.
Kim: I moved here from Canada, and in my hometown I bounced around the local music scene a lot. I fronted a heavy metal band and sang in churches, funk bands – anywhere people would listen. Joining Northern Vibe was really exciting for me because there’s no musical limits with these guys. They’re so creative and open-minded; it’s just a fun environment unlike any other experience I’ve had.
SSE: Who writes your song lyrics? What is your inspiration?
Levi: We all write; usually in pods of 2-3 people at a time. One person will come up with a basic idea and the rest of us will go from there.
Drew: The seed of a song could be an image or a hook. Once we have that, we try to delve into the world of the song. It always feels like the song already exists, and we’re just trying to tap into it and make it so other people can experience it with us.
SSE: What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your
Drew: We call ourselves “bubblegum rock”, like a mix of Coldplay and Van Halen.
Levi: But we listen to everything. We like a lot of rock and alternative like Switchfoot, and songwriters like John Mayer and Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie. We also listen to a lot of classical and jazz. We try to draw on whatever musical texture suits the song.
SSE: What is your favorite Northern Vibe song?
Kim: The song that first captured me as a listener, before I even joined the band, was “Crashing”. I’d never heard anything like that before. My favorite from this crop of new songs we’ve written together is “Timeline”.
Levi: Mine is an upcoming song called “Connect the Dots”.
SSE: Why did you choose to feature the song “Timeline” in a video?
Drew: “Timeline” is pretty ambitious as far as pop songs go, but we chose it because it’s a great introduction to our sound. It also does a good job of encapsulating the theme of this whole album, that every moment of our lives can be a coming-of-age.
SSE: How did production go?
Kim: Making this video was a rollercoaster in the best of ways. The idea we had for the song was very cinematic and we didn’t really know what we were getting into. Luckily we had a great team – Marc Liscio as DP, Mariana Gonzales with art direction, Sydney Samery as our leading lady, and an amazing cast of background actors who were completely behind the vision every step of the way. Filming was three long days and piercing it together was another three months after that, but it was worth it.
SSE: What band would you love to open a show for?
Levi: Walk the Moon, Marianas Trench, Muse, or Rihanna.
SSE: Where have you performed? What are your favorite venues?
Pete: We’ve played at the Hard Rock Cafe, Smiling Moose, Club Cafe, the Keynote Cafe, a small venue near Greensburg where most of us met, and some of the local high schools. My favorites were the high schools. The kids we met there had so much passion and enthusiasm. I hope we inspired them as much as they inspired us.
SSE: Do you perform outside of the Pittsburgh area?
Kim: We did one mini-tour to my hometown in Ontario last summer. We’re hoping to venture out a little further over the next year, and to continue building what we do online.
SSE: What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each
week, in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?
Drew: Earlier this year we started broadcasting weekly on YouNow, a live streaming community. So we usually spend every Sunday together, writing or jamming or rehearsing for the broadcast.
SSE: What do you think of the Pittsburgh Music Scene?
Kim: Since moving to the region last January, at first it was tricky to find the scene! I’m happy that Sound Scene Express exists though, because it’s been a great guide now that I finally live downtown. There’s a ton of talented players here, and promoters who are working hard to make big things happen. The Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle is so supportive, and having the SAEM program at Point Park is an awesome advantage. I can honestly say that as an independent musician, there’s no place in America I’d rather be.
SSE: Who is your favorite Pittsburgh band/musician?
Drew: We’re really good friends with the guys in Nevada Color. We dig their songs and their show continues to impress us more and more each time we see them.
Levi: Or how about Johnny Costa or Joe Negri from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood?
SSE: How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website
with sample songs or a demo CD?
Drew: We have all our music up to stream free on www.northernvibe.com. You can also find our 2014 EP on Spotify, iTunes, or anywhere else you buy music. We’d also love for people to connect with us on YouNow! We’re there taking requests and playing our new material every Sunday at 8pm ET.