One of the main things I feel blessed being involved with Last Day Deaf, is that there are occasions like this one, interviewing my teenage heroes. Yep, pOrch were one of those bands that shaped my musical taste and fed my vigorous teenage energy with their cathartic, “grungy” rock: Bass, guitar, drums vocals. That’s it! Plain and simple. I am more than happy that the trio is back for good, and those of you who can catch them live on their “Spacemen From California- Europe Tour 2017” make sure you do not miss this rare chance. Microphone to Cristopher, Todd & Michael…
Please share the latest news regarding pOrch. What happened all these years after you excellent 1994’s self-titled debut?
Cristopher Frey (CF) – Kids, wives, travel, other bands, life.
Todd Huth (TH) – All the above for certain not to mention Mike and I sat in a room for an ensemble of years tweaking god knows what!
Michael Jacobs (MJ) – We don’t have a lot to show for that period, but I still remember if fondly. Wrote a lot, grew a lot, played with some amazing bands (Hella, Deerhoof, Caesura, 400 Blows, The Maeshi, to name only a few).
April and May you are going to do a string of tour dates in Europe for the “Spacemen From California- Europe Tour 2017”! Are you looking forward to this then? How did you decide to do this? Very much looking forward to it!
CF – We got tired of waiting for someone to do it for us so we decided to DIY.
TH – Looking forward? Very much yes! The positive response we’ve gotten from different parts of Europe has been reason enough to get over there.
MJ – Seemed like a natural target for us considering we’ve always gotten much stronger response for releases from Europe. Lot of work, but we’ve learned a lot. We gave it a shot a couple years ago after giving Up, but the time was not right. Hopefully, we make it back alive this time.
Going back to your debut! What can you recall from this post-grunge era? 1994 was the year the last Nirvana album ‘In Utero’ was released?
CF – Not as much as I’d like. I remember quite a few Barkmarket shows but not a lot else until I got married.
Music forever changed after ‘In Utero’, it wasn’t “ours” anymore, it belonged to the world at large. That could be felt the rest of the 90’s and into the 00’s as well.
TH – The thing I remember the most was getting the opportunity to play with some of the best bands of that era such as Jesus Lizard, Fishbone, Helmet just to name a few.
MJ – Shows where people were in the moment and not in their devices…
‘Your Hair’ is my personal ‘on repeat’ song from your debut! The circular melody and the addictive riffing turns this one into an ace tune! Cannot overcome it 23 years now.. Please discuss.. What’s the story behind this “beast”?
CF – Thanks so much for the kind words, so glad you like that song. TODD?
TH – Wrote that song in bed on an acoustic guitar. Brought it in the next day and Chris and Dave unintentionally flipped the time signature. Magic moment.
‘Walking Boss’ your second album was self-released some 20 years after ‘Porch’. How difficult was to get back and record an album after all these years? Happy with the result?
CF – Actually it was our third release. Because of our experience recording ‘Givin Up’ (our second full length) we learned what worked and what didn’t recording wise. Working with Tim Green made it such an easy experience, it was hard to mess it up, though we DID try!
Now that we’ve had some time to reflect on what those songs and that record means to each of us personally, I think we’re all very pleased with how it turned out.
MJ – Very meaningful recording experience for me. Challenging, but have nothing but respect for Mr Tim Green. We look forward to our next camping trip in the wilds of Grass Valley at Louder Studios.
Apart from pOrch which other projects are you involved with, and in what way do they differ from the aforementioned?
CF – I’m playing with people here and there in the PNW but pOrch has always been my main thing. The other stuff I do is usually less complicated than pOrch. My brain can only hold so much.
TH – I’ve been recording songs I may never finish and have “Todd Huth and the King Panda Experience” and assorted play scores in the works.
MJ – Todd, there is no way you’re getting me in a panda suit. Just isn’t happening….
I also keep busy playing with The Tunnel from San Francisco. Just recorded a new 2-song release coming out later this spring.
Which do you think are the main differences between 90’s and 2010’s? Do you believe the digitalization has helped music to be spread or tape-trading and snail mail was more effective? In other words, is it a matter of quantity, or quality?
CF – I think it’s allowed bands like us to do what we do ourselves without being dependent on a record label and their (taxable) handouts. I do know back in the early 90’s I had far less access to recording gear in general. With technology being what it is now, I’m answering these questions on my own little studio now. All that’s involved is an interface and some microphones, far easier than in the 90’s.
MJ – Hard to say. The artist empowerment part to reach fans all over the world is amazing. The money part could be better. Little tough to make ends meet just doing music, but that’s just life. We do it because we love it.
I’m a huge fan of Bandcamp and sifting through all the new stuff that’s out there. It might take a bit more effort to find, but there’s stuff being released right now well worth the effort.
TH– I’ve bought many times an album just to find out one or two songs were good and the rest was crap. Now with music right at your fingertips it has become easier to sift through what you like or don’t. The biggest challenge for artist has always been making a living while creating this seems to not have changed in retrospect.
It’s easier to record and put your work out but it’s also out for the taking.·
MJ – Bandcamp rules.
How was last year’s experience in PRF BBQ West 2016. Oxbow and Albini’s Shellac appeared in this one too! In addition, how was the 25 March gig with Cash Pony and Musk?
CF – Every PRF BBQ we’ve had the pleasure of being involved with has been an absolute blast. Great bands, nice folks, no attitudes. It’s always awesome! Cash Pony & Musk both really kicked ass! It’s really nice to be able to play with bands we would go see if we weren’t playing ourselves.
MJ – Always a great time. Sense of community I haven’t felt since going to hardcore shows in SF back in the 80s and 90s. Show with Cash Pony and Musk was great fun. Both great bands.
The majority of artists oppose to Trump’s Presidency. Now that a few months have passed since he started, would you still agree/disagree and why?
CF – Trump is an idiot and an embarrassment to the majority of Americans. I don’t even have the words to describe how much he’s disliked here by our friends and families.
TH – The dudes a dope but if people don’t see that he’s a dope then I’m not going to sit around and cry. All we can do is fight.·
MJ – I’ll pass on that one. Don’t want this to run too long.
Which bands/acts would you recommend for our readers from the Oakland underground scene? Is there a vivid scene there at the moment?
CF – Hurry Up Shotgun immediately comes to mind, not just because we share a practice space with them either! The Tunnel, Cash Pony, Love Moon, ColorTV, Roland, there’s ALL kinds of music happening in Oakland!
MJ – Also Musk, Black Spirituals, Shamewaves, Surplus 1980, Disastroid….
After the tour, which are pOrch plans? Going back to studio?
CF – Sleep and studio, oh and play a few local shows.
MJ – We really need to focus on writing and recording. Time for a new record. We need to speed up our pace.
Last words belong to you. A question you’d like to be asked and didn’t have the chance to?
CF – Feo, Fuérete y Formal.
TH – Did man really go to the moon?
MJ – Send us all your European friends …. http://www.bandsintown.com/porch
Thank you !
Photo credits: Peter Ford