EPISTEME – An EP Review
The North by South is a Manchester/London act fronted by Chris Humphries formed in late 2018.
Humphries says he got into music from a young age, and he can clearly recall aged 5, when his dad put The Beatles “1” CD on and he remembers his younger sister dancing around the the room to “She Loves You Yeah Yeah”. Chris says that he started playing bass and eventually guitar when he was a teenager, learning every sort of genre of music that he possibly could from Punk to gypsy folk.
With regard to The North By South, Chris says that this has always predominantly been a solo effort, and that he has always thought of the band name as a book title of sorts. When he was 19-21 he ran a British Indie Live Music Blog which he named the “The North by South” and it was a follow on from this when he recorded some material, that he decided to label the music as such as well!
In 2018 The North By South released their self titled debut EP and in the early incarnation of the band, George Hammond featured on 3 of their tracks, 30th of February, Locked Jaw Live at Boogaloo, and Fancy Free. Hammond is no longer a permanent member of the outfit and as stated above, Humphries very much views the project as a solo effort with occasional collaborative input.
In December 2020 “Episteme” was released which is a 4 track EP featuring the producer Jonny Woodhead on piano/keyboards, and backing vocals on the tracks “Avaline” and “You Could Stab Me”, and Tom Pickles on cello.
Of the EP Chris comments;
My latest EP Episteme is a dark romance about life and death. It’s not really about anyone specific, but there are references to ex’s and even just close friends. Episteme means source of knowledge, so my songs and lyrics all come from my past experiences and just being sat with a guitar and singing. So, I thought I’d title it that and include the acoustic demo. The cover is a photo I shot of fairy lights, they’re a constant in my life, it’s a play on this dark xmas and winter. It was recorded with Jonny Woodhead at Green Velvet Studio in Manchester, and features cello from classical musician Tom Pickles.
The opening track on the EP ‘You Could Stab Me’ in contrast to its title is a forlorn and somewhat reserved track with mellow vocals. It betrays a sense of loss and longing which gives an undoubted essence of ethereal beauty to the track.
The following song ‘Avaline’ whilst maintaining this longing and somber feeling, also consists of quirky words and phrases that bounce and rhyme giving rise to the notion of an unresolved romance.
We love the inclusion of the live track ‘Eye to Eye – (Quinn Fest Livestream)’ as its a positive feel good track reminiscent of good times gone by.
Finally, we have the title track, which rounds off this EP with a statement. It’s a statement that says here we have an act that are showcasing their undoubted talent and ones who we can expect to grow and transform with each new track that they release.
Having moved down from Manchester as previously mentioned, Humphries now finds himself firmly based in the East End of London where aside from his own musical endeavours with The North by South he is also part of the much respected band, The Skinner Brothers for whom he plays guitar.
Chris has said that there is more to come from him and The North by South in 2021 with more songs being released the first being a single collaboration with his ‘The Skinner Brothers’ band mate, Oliver New, which is scheduled for release this coming February.
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Words by SALLY NEWMAN