By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)
Over the last few years, four high school kids from Boardman, Ohio have been jamming, writing songs and dreaming of conquering the world. And in April of 2013, that band, Northern Whale, took a giant leap toward that dream by taking advantage of a unique opportunity and making an eyebrow raising impression along the way.
“We got invited out to LA by the Indie Music Channel, which is basically an internet radio station that streams online,” said lead singer and guitarist Jake Capezzuto. “And we won the awards for Best Teen Band and Best Teen Performance. While we were out there we played at the Hollywood House of Blues and Sunset Studio. It was really a different kind of experience.”
The band, consisting of Capezzuto, along with guitarist Brandon Fisher, bassist Jake Stephens and drummer Seth Donchess, has a refreshing alternative rock sound. Influenced by the likes of The Cure, Arctic Monkeys, The Vaccines and Walk the Moon, Northern Whale’s debut EP, Sailor of the Seven Seas, incorporates indie sensibility and catchy modern alternative with a fresh young twist. Songs like “All I Want,” “New Beginning” and “Red and White” indicate a songwriting maturity that exceeds their years, and hints at exciting creative steps to come.
“A lot of people think they’re meaningful and kind of deep meaning, but we don’t really read into any of our songs,” said Stephens.
Although the band are now playing high profile gigs both locally and regionally, they made their live debut at a school talent show a few years back.
“Our first show was, awful,” laughed Capezzuto. “It was for an eighth grade talent show.”
Despite the rough start, Northern Whale forged ahead, continuing to perfect their craft and establish themselves as serious musicians.
“We just kept playing and writing songs,” said Donchess. “And then we finally got to a point where we were ready to make an EP and play some bigger shows.”
Several months ago, the band seized an exclusive opportunity to broaden their audience and put their name on the mouths of music industry moguls. Through Indie Music Channel, they submitted music from Sailor of the Seven Seas and were eventually nominated for five awards. Because of this, they headed out West and made an impression.
“It was an almost surreal experience,” said Capezzuto. “We got to perform in the same studio that the Red Hot Chili Peppers recorded in. That was really cool. On the way home we did a show in New York. The responses have positive and we’re excited to do more shows nationally.”
Northern Whale plans on more live shows and heading back into the studio this summer.
“We all want to take it as far as we can, doing as much as we can, but I think if it doesn’t go that far, we’re not going to beat ourselves up because we’re enjoying it. We’re having fun, and we wouldn’t trade that for anything,” said Fisher.