Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ron Trembath presents: A Bi-Coastal Interview With Westfold.

For the last couple years or so, Mark Palumbo, Tony Reyes, and Simon Carrillo have been rocking the underground scene in their home base of Portland, Oregon. And with the addition of drummer Nic Moen, as well as the release of their third EP, which is a self titled re-definition of an acoustic trio turned electric manic suppressants.
Though the city of Roses is wear our boys primarily lie their tweed hats down, the band has their roots in the home of the most famous crack, Philadelphia, PA. I have a selfish obsession with promoting these guys whenever possible. They were actually my very first exploit as a new to the game music blogger. I also like to think of myself as a pretty damn good thinker. And being the utter genius that I am, I finally realized that I have been contributing to a wonderful music blog based out of Philadelphia, Comfort Comes, for the last two years. And when it comes to all things Portland indie rock related, Crappy Indie Music The Blog reigns supreme, and have let me throw in a different interview to their site once before. Then it just made sense. Bring the two cities together, if only for a quick interview. Let the worlds collide. So, for the few folks who might read this, take a chance to visit the blog these words are also having the day on.
I had the opportunity to reconnect with the band’s lead guitarist and vocalist, Mark Palumbo, via a series of questions and corresponding answers via e-mail (which we have both decided is really a rather convenient way to go) in which we discuss the band’s latest EP, their upbringing, and, of course, paint covered blood stains and bullet holes.
For the Crappy Indie Music readers who might have missed Ben Meyercord’s constant plugs and mentions, or Goldie’s long time love for you guys, how would you describe Westfold?
Westfold is a group of friends who spend most of their time hanging out together while writing Face Melting Indie Rock.

So, we know you currently rock the hell out of Portland, yet have deep roots in the great city of Philadelphia. What exactly is your connection with both cities?
Portland is our hometown. We all live here and love it. Philadelphia is where Tony and I grew up and met. I go back every once and a while to visit family and friends.
What brought you guys out to the Northwest?
We didn't come to Portland together. I moved out here in August 2001 as a transient. I was in a band called The Wayward Symphony with my friend Rodney Shank. We wanted to start new. {Portland made sense. So I packed a bag and my upright bass and took a train west. We didn't have jobs or a place to live. We played on the street for money and slept in a disgusting hotel downtown. It was the type of place where they just painted over bloodstains and bullet holes in the room.
Once we got settled in, Tony came out to visit. We had a blast together! Until that point we hadn't hung out in years. I was shocked when a few months later, Tony called me with news he was moving to town. At that point I started writing songs on guitar and Tony was just learning bass. We then started a band called Jacobin.
Was it directly after Jacobin, that Westfold was born?
Yeah. Simon and I started hanging out. We had this idea for “dual songwriter” acoustic songs. Westfold grew from that beginning.
What sort of, if any, music were you and Tony playing/becoming inspired by when you were growing up in the home of Rocky?
Tony and I always seemed to be in bands that were on the fringe musically. Heavy and bizarre. Lyrically, our past bands were thought provoking and poetic. I was a drummer back in the day. Tony was a guitarist.
Do you think that your music still holds a bit of east coast influence?
Maybe a little. It's still in our blood. I don't really think about that kind of stuff much.
You recently released your third, and arguably your finest, EP. What do you think it was that made this one so different from your first two releases?
There were a few things that made this last recording different. First of all, we never intended on releasing it. We planned on just recording a demo to send to labels in hopes of landing a deal to record our first full length album. Also the speed in which we recorded. We finished everything in just 32 hours. I think that by working so diligently, it captured a moment in time without over thinking. Like a diary page that has charm, honesty and flaws. Plus it was our first time working with engineer Adam Pike at Toad House [Recordings]. He's amazing! If we ever get the backing to record the new songs we wrote this winter, we want to work with [Pike] again. He knew his stuff and really made us feel comfortable in his studio.
For long time cult followers, the general style of Westfold might have seemed to have changed pretty drastically over the last couple of years. You’ve progressed from an experimental folk group, to a band with a much heavier and complex sound, to say the least. What do you think has inspired such a change?
I started playing electric guitar again last year. That has a lot to do with it. We still write on acoustic but when it's translated to electric the sound builds. The four of us have recently been writing collectively with more ease than ever.
So, can we expect to hear the newly transformed version of you guys from here on out?
We hope so. It's been a humbling learning process. Westfold intends to continue to go forward and always take a new approach to each new song. Simon and I still play the occasional house party with acoustics. We still enjoy the intimacy that an unplugged set creates. The full band just continues to grow in a very natural sense. Being fully electric has definitely changed us for the better, though. We're so excited about the new songs we're working on. We're like kids in a candy store.
Any plugs you would like to throw out before we close this up?
The Portland band Themes is on the top of my list. They just finished recording in the studio and played us a sneak peak. It's amazing! Also, The Taxpayers are about to leave Portland on a two month tour. I recommend checking out their show if they come to your town. They're going to be in Philadelphia towards the end of July. They're having a bit of trouble booking a show there so if anyone can help them please do so. My favorite band in Philadelphia is Sweetheart Parade. I love those guys. I usually play a show with them when I come to Philly, and Joshua Britton plays with Westfold when he comes to Portland.

Westfold’s latest self titled EP is now available on iTunes.
If you are in the Portland area, or plan on making your way out the upper left coast, be sure to catch Westfold playing at The Know on July 5th.

No comments: