port harbour 1



Based in Harrisonburg, Va., the indie rock group known as PORT HARBOUR has come a long way to become the band they are today. The band originally started out as a simple acoustic three piece with vocalist/keyboard player Taylor Bess, guitarist/vocalist Brandon O’Neill, and guitarist Jake Sawyer. But, their sound evolved and they needed more people to create the music they envisioned. Along the way, they added vocalist/synths player Valerie Westerman, drummer/percussionist Hunter Glotz, and bassist/trumpet player Justin Graces to the band. Now, they’re at full strength and have developed their sound and purpose. As a band, they wish to establish a lasting influence through their unique sound by being honest and independent. So far, they have released their debut album Wake and are working on a new album to be released in August 2015. We had a chance to speak with PORT HARBOUR to discuss their upbringing as well as their music making process.

How did the band come about?

Brandon: The band came about from Taylor, Jake, and myself. We were friends and wanted to make music together. We then needed some more rules and one person who played drums, and one person who played guitar, and then we brought in Valerie who’s a great instrumentalist and musician. We needed more structure, so we added more people. We made it a six-piece and had more set roles.

port harbour 3What inspired you to make music together?

Taylor: All of our inspirations and experiences are on an individual basis, and [that] sort of has been inspirational in its self. We also enjoy just expressing that with other people and what can come out of that. Once we came together, everything started to fit really well and how we do things came together to something we all really loved.

Could you describe the music-making process?

Brandon: We’re definitely learning and getting better at it. Our first writing session was horrible. We managed to create the song “Dawn,” and it was the second song we wrote as a band. Some of us didn’t know each other and how we were creatively. Now we know each other on a personal level and how we work creatively. Now, someone brings an idea or structure to everyone, and we go from there. We learned that the hard way.

Who are your major influences?port harbour 2

Taylor: I like a lot of indie and electronic stuff.

Brandon: Individually, we’re really different. Our guitarist Jake likes BON IVER, and our drummer really likes UNDEROATH. I really like pop punk. and I’ve really been liking BEARTOOTH lately. Valerie really likes SLEEPING AT LAST and SWITCHFOOT. We all like different stuff and heavy stuff. It’s funny because we like heavy music, but our music isn’t heavy at all.

You guys released your album Wake in September. What were the main inspirations and influences for the album?

Brandon: Looking at it now and as a whole, it’s almost like a narrative. It starts with “Wake,” which is an instrumental. Then moves on to “Avalanche,” which is about humility, which is sort of the whole theme of the album. Then each of the songs after that is about deprivation and community, but have redemptive twist. Then it becomes introspective. It’s cool how they ended up that way.

Taylor: The album itself came out of the songs that we had first written. Since it was our first album, we didn’t intentionally make something that was cohesive. It ended up falling together that way.

Are you guys working on new material?

Taylor: Yes, we’re actually writing right now. Our drummer and bassist are writing parts for a song that I wrote last week, and we’re hoping to release some of it in August. We have a good amount of songs for the time being.

Brandon: We have a new set of songs to be released in August, then another project after that. In May, we want to get into the studio. We made the last album alone, and [for] this next one, we [are looking forward to working] with a producer.

For more updates on PORT HARBOUR, be sure to visit their website, “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and check out Wake on Bandcamp.

Shelby Baker

Shelby Baker

Shelby is pursuing a bachelor's degree in psychology with a minor in writing and studio art from Christoher Newport University. Music and writing, in any form, have always been a strong passion of hers. During her time at CNU, she has written frequently for The Captains Log, CNU's student newspaper.e. The most recent article I wrote for the newspaper was about the Vegetarian Club. Shelby personally enjoys post-hardcore, pop punk, and alternative music.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *