Norglen was getting airtime before they even put out a demo. Back when the band was only Andrew Doll (vocals, guitar), Brendan O’Byrne (bass, keys) and Joel McCann (drums), three best friends who grew up living minutes away from each other on a street called (get this) Norglen Crescent in Northern Alberta, they got a surprise late one night when they saw their D.I.Y. music video for “Before She Fades” playing on Much Music. “It was a very, very indie project,” laughed McCann. Shot with close friends and a low budget it was unexpected but, of course, completely embraced that they made it into the station’s late-night rotation.
These boys have come far since then. They moved to Toronto, completed the band with their two new and talented guitarists Hugh Allen and Hiro Okhibu, and are on the verge of making their second professional music video; this one for “Wasted,” the second single off of their first full-length album called A Long Way From the Truth.
The move from Alberta to Toronto happened in 2006, two years after the band had released their three-song demo. “In those two years we kept ourselves busy with the only things that artists can really do; rehearse the music, record the music and perform,” said McCann, who just so humbly left out that in that same time frame their catchy pop-rock topped Alberta’s top 40 radio charts and had them playing sold out shows across western Canada. The move to Toronto was their chance to try their luck at a bigger centre since there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to play big places at home, said McCann remembering how he, along with Doll and O’Byrne used to drive five hours into Edmonton just to check out a concert.
Along with a new city to call home came the band’s two new faces, guitarists Allen and Okhibu, who would complete Norglen in 2008. McCann admitted that he had always thought that, because the bands three founding members have known each other for so long, it would be hard to bring another element into the group. Luckily, though, right upon meeting both musicians through “the ultimate power of Craig’s List,” he, and the rest of the band, knew that these guys were perfect for the group.
The changes that have happened within Norglen have been big and, so far, all for the best. “From where we come from it’s not really the norm to have a band fly down to L.A. and record an album for three months,” said McCann about A Long Way From the Truth which officially comes out on August 25th. They worked with producer Chris Fudurich who’s also worked with bands like Jimmy Eat World and Nada Surf. Together they recorded 17 full tracks almost to completion before narrowing it down to the 11 that made it onto the album, said McCann. “Vocals, drums, bass, guitars... rough mixes but they were 80% complete,” he said, “Hopefully we get to release B-sides in the near future or play them live.”
And even without seeing that first music video that caught the boys off guard years ago, it should be safe to say that big changes have happened to that element of the band as well. Their video for “Miss You Yet,” the first single off of A Long Way From the Truth, looks anything but “indie.” The video was directed by Luga Podesta and filmed in the scorching heat in an airplane graveyard in the Mojave Desert, a location idea credited to the band’s manager Mark Lund. “We had all of the bells and whistles,” said McCann, “the makeup crew, the trailers... well, just one though. We all had to share,” he laughed.
The band’s been happy with the release of “Miss You Yet” as their first single. It’s a solid, mid-tempo song that, they feel, well represents the band. Their next single off the new album and, consequently, their next video, is going to be “Wasted.” McCann said that it was definitely his first choice, saying it’s much more of a pop song than their first single, but still holds the band’s edge. Filming for that video is set to begin sometime in August.
With big plans ahead of them, Norglen are busy “doing their job,” and hoping to play every small town and big city that they possibly can even if it means more late night drive-throughs. “Hugh mentioned that he’ll never eat McDonald’s ever again,” McCann laughed, “But we usually finish a show around 12:00, load up by 1:00 and in Canada the only things open at that time are Tim Horton’s and McDonalds,” he huffed. “At least the night shift crew are always ready to serve. They do know customer service.” [ END ]