The Northeast Collective is a project by Christopher Prestamo, an artist specializing in fusing mellow and serene collections of alternative sounds. The Northeast Collective is much more than just one man behind the intricate lyricism, and listeners are in for a real treat with the vast expression that gets poured into every written song. The group consists of various touring artists, and at one point, had over 20 artists contributing to the essence of the songs. One can seriously begin to understand the versatility level that goes into the performance of each track, making the listening experience even more elaborate than one may initially believe it will be.
A recent release from The Northeast Collective was titled "Happy" and featured an easy theme to find yourself resonating with in one way or another. Difficulties surrounding self-understanding and confidence arise within the track, and such introspections are intertwined with a consistently soothing melody. The song's tempo is very characterizable of what listeners can expect from a variety of The Northeast Collective's music. The rhythm transpires an array of emotions, keeping itself simplistic and slightly vibrant in some manner. There isn't any pressure whilst listening to "Happy," which one would inherently think upon listening to the track. It's easygoing and even more natural to melt into the presented lyricism. All in all, "Happy" imparts an elaborate listening experience and sets the stage for what The Northeast Collective will be prone to releasing next.
"Happy" came right off of TheNortheastCollective's album, "If I Can Get Home". How do you feel that "Happy" contrasted and/or complemented the other three tracks present on the album?
Stylistically "Happy" takes the band in a slightly more indie direction, I feel as though it speaks to the direction that we're really leaning towards with our next EP coming out in early 2021. The guitar work of Ryan Albrecht (Fellow Feeling) really makes the song what it is, he layered so many elements that made the texture come to life which I believe is special and unique to this song compared to the others on the record. I think lyrically "Happy" is more universal, it has a similar message to its predecessor single "Lafayette", but with a more accessible narrative and less personal imagery.
Let's talk more about the construction of The Northeast Collective and the various influence that stems from the team of artists contributing to the production of each track. How does this level of collaboration often ensue, and how did it particularly go over for "Happy?"
Personally, I believe the collaboration of the NEC is what makes it so special. Without even mentioning the talent of each musician, I believe the idea of collective creativity adds an element of community to the art we create which elevates the final product to a unique level. I'm pretty big on community, I don't believe humans were created to live in isolation and I truly believe there's something spiritual (or at the very least super cool) that happens when community and art coexist. For "Happy" my influences were combined with those of Ryan Albrecht, Ian Ferguson (The Concussion Theory), and Warren Trunz (Walking Tree, Tone House Studios) in a way that created something new in a special way.
What do you feel was the most genuine expression present within "Happy?"
I would say I was expressing longing in "Happy", and I was searching for contentment. Often times I believe we need to make an intentional effort to allow ourselves to be happy; sometimes people can have so much and be miserable while others have so little but have inner peace. I believe a lot of it is based on your inner dialogue with yourself, and your acceptance of the world around you, and I think I make that obvious in the lyrics. I spend the first verse talking about my struggle with myself, and then I talk about my relationships with others. This varies in difficulty for everyone, trauma plays a part for many, but at the end of the day we all have something we need to overcome to find inner peace and it's a journey each one of us is on.
Where is The Northeast Collective going from here with their integrated sound?
Ohhhhh, we're gonna have some fun in 2021. We have an EP coming out in the spring which combines several analog and digital elements as well as several new musicians with new influences, and we will have two singles out in the summer that presses even deeper into the trajectory we have been on for the last several years.
2020 has been a very challenging year for everyone. What has been keeping you inspired to create music? What advice can you give another artist who's finding it difficult to do so?
I got engaged this year! My relationship with my soon to be wife has been a pretty big inspiration, it's also caused a ton of writer's block haha! I'm used to writing about sadness, mostly cause it's the emotion I have the most trouble processing, so being in this season of magical bliss is sort of hard to wrap my mind around as an artist. But a dear friend of mine Mike Mazzotta (Providence Music Group) once told me when artists create from a place of gratitude only good art comes out because it's more challenging than creating from a place of sadness or loss. I think that would be my advice for artists coming out of this year, assess what you're grateful for, and start creating. There has been a lot of negativity put out into the world this year, there's a lot of changes we need to make, and if we can all take an inventory of what we're thankful for and make art that flows out of that inventory I believe we can make a real difference.