By Heather Leszczewicz Special to Published Jan 03, 2007 at 5:20 AM

Most local bands can only hope to gain the attention of the public in the cities in their own vicinity, let alone another state or two. But to get someone on the other side of your world interested in your music; now that’s exciting.

The foursome known as Northern Room -- Andrew Jonathan (lead vocals/guitars/keys), Michael Morgan (drums/percussion/programming/keys), and brothers Micah Olla (bass/synths) and Tony Olla (lead guitars/keys/synths) -- have signed with Japan’s BM.3 Records.

“Actually BM.3 found us. They had heard some of the tracks off our 'Last Embrace' EP and were very impressed -- so they contacted us and began negotiating a deal,” Tony says.

The EP is currently available in stores and Northern Room is currently in the studio recording more tracks.

“(BM.3) want to release our six-song 'Last Embrace' EP as a full-length by adding four new songs to it,” Jonathan says. “The tentative release month will be March 2007 solely in Japan.”

Tony says that the relationship that the band has with BM.3 could be considered much like any business relationship, “much of the communication is done through e-mails and an occasional phone conversation.” However, the relationship is still budding.

“To be honest we aren’t entirely sure of what to expect from BM.3, but we are excited about their enthusiasm,” he says. “They have helped us by financially backing our new project, and we are in the process of working out a sub-publishing deal with them as well. Thus we are hopeful things will continue to develop, and that they will help to establish Northern Room as a worldwide act.”

The band began as another band’s run was ending.

“Tony and I were in a band called Jacobstone for three years. We broke up in the autumn 2003; then contemplated quitting music all together,” Jonathan says. “It wasn't until Tony called me one night in July 2004 that I felt like writing and performing again. Tony and I have always had a dynamic chemistry, so he called me to write and to simply get in a room again with our guitars to see what would happen.”

Next the band added Morgan and finally Micah.

“We asked Michael Morgan to join us in order to fill the role of drummer that evening. He was an old friend of Tony's from college who had just moved back to the area to start the next chapter of his life. Needless to say, he proved his belonging in this possible new musical outfit within minutes,” Jonathan says. “Shortly after our first ‘rehearsal’ Tony suggested that his brother Micah step in and play bass. He had dabbled with synths and guitars before -- and easily picked up the bass. It was at this point that the four of us knew it was time to make the band official.”

To go with the official band, there’s the name of the band which actually came from a lyric to a song.

“The song wasn't any good but I thought the lyric 'northern room' was a great band name,” Jonathan says.

The band has gotten some great feedback from their EP, as seen by the interest by BM.3 and their five-star rating on iTunes.

“We are extraordinarily grateful for the support we receive from our fans and critics. The response that we have been getting has been very encouraging -- nevertheless we strive to focus on what really moves us as a band,” Jonathan says. “We are an emotional band -- and I’ll admit that at times the feedback and press we receive can have an effect on us. But honestly, we'd rather sit down with our guitars to write songs without any critical statements running through our heads. I'd rather our hearts lead our melodies than our minds.”

As for what’s next for Northern Room, the band will finish up in the studio soon and release the new EP solely in Japan in March and the States will follow. In February, the band will be in New York filming the music video for the song “Last Embrace,” which has the possibility of being added to the MTV Japan rotation.

There’s also a new tour in the works.

“We are going to completely re-vamp what we have done live for the last nine months,” Jonathan says. “A new and improved version of Northern Room per se. We will also have a new group of songs we will be cutting our teeth on this new year. We are hoping to begin performing again in March 2007. Then, depending on how well 'Last Embrace' does in Japan we may tour over their sometime next year.”

Tony says the possibility of a Japan tour is exciting, but the band is being realistic.

“It really depends on how our music is received and promoted. If our release in Japan sells well, they will expect and support a Northern Room tour over there,” he says. “But like here in the U.S. it’s really about the songs we write and music we bring--if people can relate and respond to it -- they will invest in it.”

The opportunity to sign with BM.3 came at a good time for Northern Room, Tony says.

“We are hopeful that it will help establish Northern Room and spread our music. Right now we are in the process of building a team and getting a story started,” he says. “We are confident that more opportunities will arise, and we see ourselves someday joining with a label here in the U.S.”

Heather Leszczewicz Special to

Originally from Des Plaines, Ill., Heather moved to Milwaukee to earn a B.A. in journalism from Marquette University. With a tongue-twisting last name like Leszczewicz, it's best to go into a career where people don't need to say your name often.

However, she's still sticking to some of her Illinoisan ways (she won't reform when it comes to things like pop, water fountain or ATM), though she's grown to enjoy her time in the Brew City.

Although her journalism career is still budding, Heather has had the chance for some once-in-a-lifetime interviews with celebrities like actor Vince Vaughn and actress Charlize Theron, director Cameron Crowe and singers Ben Kweller and Isaac Hanson of '90s brother boy band Hanson. 

Heather's a self-proclaimed workaholic but loves her entertainment. She's a real television and movie fanatic, book nerd, music junkie, coffee addict and pop culture aficionado.