Interview with Priory

4 Aug

This is an interview with Greg Harpel, of Priory.

Teenage Vulture: Can you give my readers an introduction to who the different members of the band are and what they contibute.

Greg Harpel:

Brandon Johnson – Front and center.  Co-founder, alongside long time collaborator Kyle Dieker, of the original project that has now become Priory. Brandon is a young veteran of the live and session avenues of the Portland music scene. On stage and on record he’s lead vocalist and bass player, though behind the writing, he is arrangement aficionado.

Kyle Dieker – Stage right and barefoot. In his back pocket are the hooks and the beats. Along with Brandon, Kyle is one of the originators of the lovable songs. Ready to twang, play the keys, or jump on a tom drum.  He hits the higher register on multiple levels.

Greg Harpel – Stage left and melodious. I get my kicks from filling the pockets, be they with electric guitar, keys, or xylophone.  I joined during the second inning of Priory, happy to play and write with the talents in the group.

Joe Mengis – Drums, the one who wears the pants in the relationship. He’s our most recent member, and choicest addition to the band.  Since his joining, he’s become integral. Is true love real?  Yes, there’s a Joe Mengis for everyone.

TV: How did the band meet and come together?

GH: Kyle and Brandon lived together several years ago while during various academic endeavors in Portland.  They started collaborating then. But the two separated, following different leads in different cities. In 2008, both were back in town and began writing the Priory material. Kyle and I both grew up in Yakima, having small town music ties going back for some time.

TV: How do you pronounce Priory and how did you guys come up with the name?

GH: It’s like diary with PR, Priory.  The name came from a record Kyle and I picked up several years ago. A group of monks took a crack at making a folk record. It wasn’t a stylistic influence for us, but more so a conceptual influence of the idea of a group of like minded people who live and work together for a common goal.

TV: What music did you guys grow up listening to and are there any particular bands/musicians that have influenced your guys’ sound?

GH: We were really all over the place growing up.  Each one of us.  Everywhere from Beethoven to Count Basie to David Bowie and Michael Jackson.  Pete Seeger, Beastie Boys, etc.  The sound is all about pop sensibility with lyrical integrity and sonic diversity in the instrumentation.

TV: What made you guys want to blend the genres of electronic and folk?

GH: The truth is it came naturally. We all grew up with a heart for folk music and pop on our radios. The combo of the two loves really just stood out as to where our interests lay at this point in our creative process.

TV: Is the Portland music scene supportive?

GH: For the most part, yes. We’re surrounded by a plethora of talented peers, engineers, and industry type folks. The venues are accessible, and the fan base is ready for a little fun. Every city has its challenges, but we feel fortunate to have the support we have in this city.

TV: You’ve just released the self titled debut, can you tell us about the recording process, ie: how long did it take, how did your record deal with Expunged come about?

GH: We recorded our first, self released EP in the summer of 2010. This was recorded with our good friend and engineering mastermind Skyler Norwood at Miracle Lake Studios. These tracks caught the ear of Anthony McNamer, founder and frontman for Expunged. We were signed that fall.  He sent us back to finish up the LP with Skyler, the rest is audible history.

TV: You guys are sponsored by clothing company Tankfarm, how’d that come about?

GH: Our good friend was a good friend with the Tankfarm folks. They became our good friends. Our good friends puts clothes on our backs. Everyone’s back gets scratched in the end.

TV: What are some of your goals as a band for the near future, where do you guys see Priory throughout the next couple of years?

GH: We’re hitting the road, and hitting it hard. Thankfully we are at the place in all of our lives when this is a possibility with the support of our families, record label, and hometown. The new opportunities are in the inbox every morning. We’re continually writing new material, each new idea all the more engaging. We’ll keep it a traveling show, hopefully be back in Denver soon.

Checkout Priory’s official website, and download “Kings of Troy” below.

mp3: Priory – “Kings of Troy”


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