Wearhaus Featured Artist: PrioryFebruary 24, 2014
In a world full DIY enthusiasts, it’s still compelling to see a band take the homegrown approach to creating music. Portland’s Priory have done just that. Bandmates Brandon Rush and Kyle Sears met in the most unattractive of circumstances, at a flophouse with no functioning kitchen. But what kept them going was the music. The two pulled their equipment together, said goodbye to the outside world, and basically lived in their studio for a year and a half, crafting perfect indie rock.
The resulting EP is where electronic harmonies go to live their best life. Weekend EP is full of hits, including the title track that comes complete with a movie-like, epic music video. Brandon and Kyle not only have rhythm in their songwriting, but witty banter that only comes from being best friends. We got to chat with the two about being a Portland band, recording the EP and why they think they have plenty in common with monks.
Wearhaus: What do you think separates a Portland band from all the rest?
Brandon Rush: Banjo, maybe a little bit of cello, too many members. That is kind of the inside joke. Honestly, the Portland scene is small and it’s very supportive; everyone looks out for each other.
There is a bumper sticker around Portland that says ‘Keep Portland Weird’ and the music scene is the same way. You are encouraged to step outside the box; there is no specific norm and nothing you feel you need to adhere to. We love it and love all of our friends there and it’s a good scene.
The band name almost sounds like an app. Where does it come from?
Brandon: So the band name is actually a word that was created by Catholics. We are not Catholic, we are not a religious band. But we were in London and there is a rehab clinic, the biggest one of its kind. It’s called the Priory and it’s a place where monks live. When we were creating our album, we were locked away from everybody and we worked on this thing 24 hours hours a day and in a lot of ways, we found some parallels. We were so separate from everyone else.
Kyle Sears: Brandon and I have always stayed off the beaten path and done things our way and monks would kind of do the same thing and we definitely related to that.
‘Weekend’ is a killer song. At what point in the writing process were you like “This is it!” or was it one of those things where the whole album came together and someone else told you that it might be ‘the song.’
Brandon: To be totally honest, we never really had that realization. We feel like the EP is a complete work and more or less, we looked to our management and they were like ‘What do you think about leading with Weekend?’ and we were like, “It’s as good as any.”
Kyle: We would have been cool with anything, we love all of our songs. The fact that it’s getting radio play and it’s getting Billboard love is just fantastic for us. The EP will show a lot of different flavors of how we write and create and all of them are still very pop-centric.
Brandon: Pop-centric? I would not describe it as that. Sure, there is an element of that but when we sit down to write music, we don’t set out to make it sound like anything. We just want it to be good. Some days, it will be nothing but working out a guitar sound or a percussion sound and that was nice because we had all the time in the world. We didn’t even know if anyone was going to like it.
You were hidden away recording by yourself. Do you plan to keep that going?
Brandon: Oh yeah, always. The very first day I met Kyle, he had a ton of gear and I did as well. We moved into this flophouse together without a functional bathroom and kitchen. We probably had $2,000 worth of gear each but didn’t have cars. We have always been that way; the music is the most important thing. So over the years, we built up our studio which became our home base where we make all of our music.
The Weekend video is completely epic. What inspired it?
Kevin: We have to give credit where credit is due: our Director, David Vincent Wolf. He had so many great ideas. We had a lot of phone conversations with him and this was one of his ideas and we thought that it was great so we ran with it.
Brandon: Our only direction was that we wanted it to be a little bit dark and we wanted it to be cinematic.
What do you want to tell someone before they listen to the EP?
Brandon: There is an overarching theme throughout the entire album. It is about the survival of youth and even when terrible shit happens, maintaining positivity. Life is one gigantic party and everyone is invited. It’s all inclusive and everyone is accepted and let’s freaking do this thing together.
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