Connect with us


Interview with Port Amoral frontman Jared Weiss and guitarist Eric Weiss

After an extended journey to Toronto, Winnipeg, Manitoba’s Port Amoral made it to Toronto for Canadian Music Week. I had a chance to sit down with brother’s Eric and Jared Weiss (whom I didn’t know were brothers until transcribing this interview, way to research Spenny!) before their set at the Reverb. We talked about touring, their…



After an extended journey to Toronto, Winnipeg, Manitoba’s Port Amoral made it to Toronto for Canadian Music Week. I had a chance to sit down with brother’s Eric and Jared Weiss (whom I didn’t know were brothers until transcribing this interview, way to research Spenny!) before their set at the Reverb. We talked about touring, their frustrating journey to Toronto, the near future of the band and how they managed to get signed to Roadrunner Records! And for the record, I don’t even watch Star Gate, no idea why that was the science fiction show that came out of mouth.

I heard you guys had an interesting way here to Toronto, from Winnipeg.
Jared: Sure did! [Everyone laughs]

Eric: That’s for sure!

Jared: Well, you know, it’s a typical Canadian winter but we’ve also had some really bad luck at the same time. We drove 2 days ago; we gave ourselves a lot of time to get to Toronto. It’s a 24-hour drive but we got about 4 hours the first day before they shut down the highway ‘cause of snow and almost zero visibility so we had hotel in a small like, just shit town in Ontario; Northern Ontario, way up there!

Eric: Northern Ontario!

Jared: Ignis?

Eric: Ignis, yeah.

Jared: So we spent the night there and got up and going again. Things were feeling good, the high ways were ploughed still a little icy but – all the sudden the traffic’s all stopped and they tell us that there’s an eight-semi-pile-up and we had no choice really but to turn around and go home to Winnipeg ‘cause the wait was about 10 hours they said which totally threw off our timing due to being stopped twice by highway closures so we went home feeling pretty bummed out about the whole thing. Not being able to play this Canadian Music Week Showcase that our label worked pretty hard on to set up, but they were nice enough to fly us out this morning so we’re on little sleep but the city’s kind of woken us up here and we’re ready to go.

Eric: I think we’re capable of playing with only a little bit of sleep! [Everyone laughs] That’s fine!

As long as you’re dedicated man!
Eric: Yep!

So, where or what is Port Amoral and how did it become the band name?
Jared: [pauses] The one question I hate. [Laughs] It’s more of just a message from some higher power then anything, we went through the whole… [laughs] the whole like rigorous process of trying to name your band which these days is becoming more and more of a tough thing as more English words get used up and what not.

Eric: Everything sounds like it’s been done! Like it has, nothing has that original sound, honestly, Port Amoral, everyone I ask who hears that name goes “What?” and then I tell them again but they remember and it’s a really unique name I think that’s what makes a good band name.

So it’s just random?
Jared: No.

Eric: No it’s not random but um…

Jared: Like I said it’s very hard picking out a band name these days. I just got this idea to name a band a place and kind of use that as a conceptual thing to maybe write about, maybe one day do an album that’s based around this place that has our band name or something. And when I say from a “higher power” we’re all, well, I’m not a religious person but things kinds come to you and the name just kind of came to me. It sounded good, it looks good written, it looks good in the logo, you know it might not be the most exciting story but that’s ours, that’s how we came up with it.

Eric: I think it’s a great name, like when he introduced the idea I was very, very open to it and after just stuck with it.

Yeah, as a sci-fi geek myself I appreciate it, ‘cause it sounds like something out of a novel or some like random Stargate episode.
Eric: Yeah, that’s kind of the sound. I’m heavily influenced by all forms of fantasy, sci-fi and video games, so you’ll find that in the music and… [Everyone laughing]

Props to that man! Nice! So how do you think CMW helps you as a band, Canadian or otherwise, if at all?
Jared: I guess we’re gonna find out tonight, this is our first time here and we’re just hoping to get seen by people. We’re not known in this part of the country at all. We’ve never even played in Toronto, so for us…

Eric: It’s the first time I’ve actually been here!

Jared: So for us it’s exposure, that’s all a band in our position can really ask for. We’re on a label, like a big record label, we signed with Monty Connor, he signed Trivium, Sepultura and he signed us too so we’ve got some pretty cool people behind us but essentially we’re still a no-name band that most people haven’t heard of and it’s really left in our hands to still do a lot of our own promotion and gain momentum. So essentially here were still trying to make a name for ourselves. We’re still as hungry as any unsigned band because we realize, you know, being signed is only one thing, there’s so much more that goes a long to it, so much more work you gotta put in. Some people have in their heads that you get signed to a big record label like this and it’s just, you’re coasting, it’s not though. It’s not how it plays out ever, talk to any band that’s been signed to a bigger label and they’ll tell you that, you know. At the same time its huge for us, it’s a great opportunity, we hope to make the most of it.

Cool, so you guys are stoked on being on the same label as Slipknot, Killswitch Engage and all these other big names?
Eric: Yep!

Jared: No doubt, those are bands that have done really well for themselves. We’re probably more, especially stoked be on the label with certain bands like Opeth and, international even, with Porcupine Tree. Those are big influences of ours, we uh, yeah! [Everyone laughs] There’s some big company on this label, in one sense it’s really cool but the way we’re kind of at the bottom of this big hill looking up, you know? The fact that we’re in such heavy company, and there’s a lot of bands on the label, we are in apposition where we do have to scratch and crawl our way up to the top of the heap there.

How were you guys first noticed by Roadrunner?
Jared: We were basically found online, the guy who’s become our manager now basically found us online; he sent us a random e-mail one day. And it was kind of long-winded and it said a lot and wasn’t really specific about our band so we, you know, you get those kind of things all the time and write’em off as spam [laughs] and you know in that way disregard it. But he was on us heavy, he e-mailed us from all angles, MySpace, Hotmail and everywhere so we started talking a bit and it turned out he was very legit. He had interned at Roadrunner many years ago and kept in touch with them, especially Monty Connor, and also kinda worked as a talent scout for them. He would listen to stuff, give them his opinion basically, they trust his ear so. He brought our record down one day and they liked it. I was on the phone with Monty Connor within days of that, he said they liked it and they wanted to keep their eye on us, it wasn’t anything certain or anything close to that. They weren’t even saying that they were interested in signing us. But a little, a few months after that we did a demo they really liked and it did really big things for us. And one of those songs they paid for us to do a video for and kind of developing us, you know, behind the scenes. We did the video and the label liked it but not everybody on board was one hundred percent so we were always at this point where we felt like we were gaining a lot of momentum and end up going back to the drawing board because you know it seemed like all the stars had to align for us for it to work out with the label. It was just like one A&R and some of the staff were really digging the band, they all really have to have their heads together. So we did another demo, a second one that they weren’t as into, really knocked us down a lot of notches. Years passed throughout this.

Jared: Yeah, it was a record deal that took a long time for us and we just kind of stuck with it. Eventually we did a third demo with two songs – one of them, actually, is gonna be the title track of our record coming out in June – and they loved it, everyone at the label liked it, they actually re-showed the video we had done the year before and everyone had kind of forgotten about it and seen it again in a new light and loved it and that’s kind of what hammered home the deal which was kinda cool, but you know, we definitely were antsy we would’ve liked it to happen a lot sooner then it did.

Eric: It took such a long time and there were so many ups and downs that it made our stomachs very sick and sick of the, you know, “What’s going on?” Especially after the second demo that didn’t do us too well. It really got the fans’ hopes down as a whole, luckily the demo after that was so good it got the label happy and us really happy again!

That’s sick guys! Now, you guys started recording your debut album in November right?
Jared: Yes, it’s done! We did it actually in December at Saladay Studios with Brain Mcternan – he’s worked with Thrice, Strike Anywhere, Darkest Hour – in Baltimore, Maryland; which worked out really good for us ‘cause we’re like a metal band first and foremost, but we really push the punk rock side of things, especially the whole energy behind the music, it has a real punk feel to it and he’s very familiar with both sides of the metal and punk thing and even, you know, rock in general and the whole like, song element which is something that we always go for. Write a good song and focus on that over you know shredding and technical aspects of the band, so he was a perfect choice for us, we think, in the end for this record that we did in December. It’s set to be out in June, it’s called Villains, we’re really excited about this record. We think it’s really strong straight through, not a weak moment.

Eric: In my opinion it’s a lot more colourful then a lot of other heavy music nowadays where its more about generally based on the open string of the…

[laughing]: chug-a-chug-a?
Eric: To me it gets to be a really redundant sound after a while, in a lot of our songs there’s a different key in a lot of songs, different colours and the songs they just sound fresh straight through the whole record.

Sweetish! That’s awesome! Now, you guys have a few more Canadian dates coming up and according to your MySpace, nothing after that, how do you plan to spend the rest of the year?
Jared: Well, we go home after this and the album’s going to be finished getting mixed so we’re really excited to hear these mixes. And then at the beginning of April there we do, do a western Canadian tour with Senses Fail. So we have 6 or 7 shows on that tour in April and we’re currently working on getting some stuff happening after that so the plan right now is tour and promote this record when it comes out. We’ve, you know, like any band, trying to get to where we are, gotta put our lives on hold for a bit, so there’ll be a lot of touring especially in the states because we are signed out of the New York office as well as in Canada here. We’ll be in the States a lot this year and we hope to get to Europe after that and anywhere else beyond, you know, where all those bands play, we want to play.

Eric: Especially Japan! [Laughs]

I hear every band say that nowadays! [Everyone laughs]
Jared: Japan’s got this mystique and this reputation of treating bands like they should be treated you know, very well and they’re very accommodating from what I hear so. And it’s just a different culture that’s embraced, you know, the newer age things, it’s cool!

They are 12 hours ahead of us so [everyone laughs] they are a bit further ahead in the future! Awesome, thanks guys!  [ END ]

Continue Reading
Click to comment