It was during the “all-star jam” at ProgPower USA festival in 2007 when current NIGHTWISH singer Floor Jansen and PAGAN’S MIND guitarist Jørn Viggo Lofstad spontaneously joined forces on stage for some cover songs and noticed a certain creative magic between them. Although the two musicians had never met before, they soon discovered their mutual love for stripped-down hard rock and decided to write some songs together. In 2008, still barely knowing each other, they composed an entire album’s worth of material in next to no time — but due to their tight schedules with their main bands, their new project named NORTHWARD never found its way to the spotlight, until today!
In 2017, the year of NIGHTWISH‘s break, Floor took the opportunity to contact her old friend Jørn Viggo again to see if he was still interested in resurrecting NORTHWARD — and of course he was!
“Jørn Viggo was positive about the project and we started to make the overall plans, meeting again in March of 2017 in Sweden to go through all the material together to see if we still felt happy with what we had created”, recalls Floor.
Stepping free from boundaries, NORTHWARD‘s sound is strong, euphoric and straight in the tradition of SKUNK ANANSIE, FOO FIGHTERS and ALTER BRIDGE but also bands such as DEEP PURPLE and LED ZEPPELIN.
With the help of producer Jacob Hansen (VOLBEAT), the two forged a raw diamond composed of heavy riffs and Floor‘s incomparable voice, free from influence of the musicians’ main bands. And although the songs had originally been written in 2008, they just felt as fresh and alive upon a second hearing as they had on the very first day of their creation.
“The music is melodic, but also in-your-face and kick-ass rock,” says Floor. “Cool riffs, good melodies and tasteful arrangements. We would simply like to call it ‘good music.’ We wanted to explore a basic rock sound, with drums, bass, guitar and vocals. Not the heavy layers of keyboards, choirs etc.”.
Alongside Jansen and Lofstad, Morty Black (TNT) handled bass duties, while drums were recorded by Django Nilsen and Stian Kristoffersen (PAGAN’S MIND). You will also hear a guest appearance by Floor‘s sister Irene Jansen, singing a duet on the song “Drifting Islands”. And finally, Ronny Tegner from PAGAN’S MIND played the piano on one song.
This year NORTHWARD is ready to break free and the release date of its debut album, which will be made available via Nuclear Blast, is soon to be unveiled. Jansen states: “We are happy and excited to be able to release this rock album under Nuclear Blast‘s name. They accepted the challenge of bringing this non-metal album into the world by believing in us as musicians, and also for the pure love for music that sounds good to them. We have both put our heart and soul into this album. We are very proud of it and we can’t wait to show it to you all!”