We spoke to Chris Humphries from The North By South recently following the release of his brand new collaborative EP with his friend and sometimes band mate, Oliver New.
We spent some time chatting to Chris about this new release when it dawned on us, who better to tell you about this journey and where it has lead Chris and Ollie then them themselves!
So here it is in their own words, hope you enjoy xx
Alive: An Autobiography
Firstly, we’d both like to thank Sally and all those who work for Songbird HQ for letting us write this article.
Me and Oliver New have been mates for 8 years, from jamming on semi-broken acoustic guitars in the now demolished Surrey House student accommodation at Goldsmiths, to playing our first festival gig ever at Kendal Calling in 2019, lugging our amps over hills & through the mud. A lot of energy, passion, and literally blood, has gone into our musical endeavours. While juggling the unpredictability of life and circumstance, we both set out on different paths yet always ended up meeting at a crossroads and that’s what this EP is all about. While we maintain our identity in music, we’ve come together to make these songs as a collaboration.
We wrote “Shari” almost 6 years ago in a small flat on Egmont Street off of the Old Kent Road in South East London, right down from the now deceased (or rather under new management, and turned into a gastro-pub), 5 Bells, a stage donned by acts like Sports Team and The Skinner Brothers. We played every open mic you could think of in South London during our early years there. Then, bored of London and seeking a new life, I moved up to Manchester in 2016 and was encapsulated by the city, it’s people and adopted residents.
After launching “The North by South” I recruited Ollie on bass for a few gigs with some recording sessions falling apart with earlier members of the band in late 2019. After the lockdown and a brief period of thinking I should give up on music, I recorded the Episteme EP in Stockport and revitalised “The North by South” with my first content in over a year. Whilst I was busy with garage rock music and folky ballads, Oliver was up to something quite different, and more relevant than ever, lo-fi and indie rock/dance singles.
Ollie’s entrance into lo-fi stemmed from learning how to produce in Lockdown. He found satisfaction in the end to end production of sounds based around different themes and concepts. In the space of 1 year he has released 5 Lo-fi EPs and other singles which blend different genres and styles, such as Critical, a bossa nova indie track. There is even a tinge of lo-fi in the intro of the first track Alive on the EP which adds a certain character to it – Chris Humphries
Listen to ALIVE here now.
We here at The Songbird HQ absolutely love this new track. Its got everything about it that makes it an absolutely outstanding track and just goes to show what incredibly talented musicians this pair are. The track starts off slow and steady and you just know its going to kick it and your blood pressure rises to the beat of the melody. The track ebbs and flows with absolute precision and the lyrics are genius offering us an insight into the relationship of this incredible pair. On first listen it put us in mind of when late one night as falling asleep on the sofa, this unknown band called Arctic Monkeys struck up a chord and we knew then that we were witnessing the start of something which had the potential to be phenomenal……
Additional words – SALLY NEWMAN