By GUY D’ASTOLFO
Northern Whale has competed in the High School Rock-Off for the past three years and is considering doing it again in January.
There is just one catch: One member of the band isn’t in high school any more.
Brandon Fisher, the guitarist, is a freshman at Youngstown State University.
“We could become one of the only bands to do it all four years,” said Jake Stephens, bass/keyboards. “We might train a substitute just for those nights.”
Stephens and Jake Capezzuto (vocals, keyboards) are seniors at Austintown Fitch High, while drummer Seth Donchess is a junior at the school.
Northern Whale has stayed together all through high school. As a result, it has a lot of experience for its age, and is well ahead of the game.
The band released its third EP, “Reckless,” a few weeks ago, and has a show Friday at Rodeo Music Hall in Austintown. “Reckless” is available on iTunes. To learn more about the band, go to northernwhaleband.com.
Northern Whale’s debut was a three-song offering that was created two or three years ago. Another five-song EP came out last year.
So how does the brand-new release compare to that first one?
“It’s a thousand times better,” said Stephens. “We were 14 and 15 years old when we wrote the first one.”
The new EP, like the previous two, was recorded at Imperfekt Music in Austintown. The band takes a collective approach to crafting new songs, with Stephens or Fisher writing a draft and the others contributing.
With graduation approaching for two of its members, what does the future hold for Northern Whale?
Stephens said they plan to keep it going, although college might slow things down. He is considering attending either Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland or Full Sail University in Florida to study music production.
But for the time being, Northern Whale has several shows set up throughout Northeast Ohio that will keep it busy.