4 years ago, Northlane were a supporting act for metalcore giants like Parkway Drive and August Burns Red in tours across Australia. Now, the 5-piece troupe have grown popular, and are selling out shows all over the world.

The Australian band have been racking up accolades over the past few years. Infographic by: Sofia Amanda Bening

Northlane made a stop in Singapore for the very first time on May 6 as part of their 2017 World Tour to promote their fourth album, Mesmer. It was released on the band’s website on 24 March without any prior announcement to thank fans for their support over the years. The surprise album achieved critical and commercial success, earning stellar reviews from publications such as Rolling Stone, and a peak position of number 3 on the Australian music charts.

Since forming the band in Western Sydney in 2009, Northlane have come a long way. Their debut, Hollow Existence, released in 2010 met mixed reviews and was even called “dismal” by sputnikmusic.com. Undeterred, they embarked on 6 tours across Australia over the next 2 years, determined to make a name for themselves­ – all while developing their sound and style.

“Success isn’t going to come overnight,” said Northlane’s drummer, 23-year-old Nic Pettersen as bassist Alex Milovic, vocalist Marcus Bridge and guitarist Josh Smith, all in their mid-20s, nodded in agreement. He added: “You just have to keep grinding, keep touring over and over again.”

Vocalist Marcus Bridge and drummer Nic Pettersen at Northlane’s first ever Singapore show on May 6. Photo courtesy of: Pennylane Events

Their hard work paid off and in 2013, Northlane skyrocketed to mainstream success with their 2013 album Singularity. Since then, they’ve ranked number 1 on ARIA Charts with their 2015 album Node and snagged the Best Hard Rock or Heavy Metal Album award at the 2015 Australian ARIA Music Awards. With their rapidly growing international fanbase, Northlane have headlined shows in London, Canada and played at festivals all over Europe.

However, the path to success hasn’t been all sunshine and roses for the band. “You need to prepare for it to be really difficult,” said Smith. “Spending a lot of time away from home, away from family and friends becomes dislocating from real life. When the shows aren’t good, that’s really hard.”

What keeps them going? It’s neither the prospect of wealth nor fame, said Bridge. “For me, it’s really the love of it. Music’s all I can do…being in it and wanting to create and release emotions and feelings keeps me committed.”

Their passion for music keeps Northlane going during tough times. Photo courtesy of: Pennylane Events

For Northlane, their music is a symbol of their musical and personal growth. “I think every album is a snapshot of where that artist is at that particular time,” said Smith. Bridge added: “We write about stuff we’re passionate about and what we’re going through.” Northlane’s songs cover an array of inspiring themes, from the environment (Leech) to the dangers of the digital world (Citizen).

The band don’t deny that their ever-growing global success has its perks, though. Bridge said: “Getting to play around the world is pretty cool.”

“I have moments when I’d get super emotional (on stage),” confessed Bridge. “I’d turn around, look at our banner up there, realize where I am and crack for a second.” His band members smiled, all seeming to share the same sentiment. “Just like, ‘wow, this is outrageous.’”