A Conversation with The Tragic Thrills’ Zach Porter – HuffPost 9.26.14

Mike Ragogna: My favorite picture of The Tragic Thrills is you guys playing at a barber shop. Have you done a barber shop tour and have you gained a new appreciation for barbershop quartets?

Zach Porter: Cameron’s dad actually owns a hair salon and we used to practice in it at night. I also had the idea of doing a shower tour, once. They always say you sound better when you sing in the shower.

MR: What is the origin story for The Tragic Thrills?

ZP: It’s weird because I wanted to start a new project around these songs I was starting to write about two years ago. We were all in other bands at the time and we didn’t actually become The Tragic Thrills until after the record was already done. So it started as songs first and then it was a band. But when we all came together and started interpreting these songs as a band, I think that’s when it started to get really good. Everyone brings a different set of experiences to the table, which is cool.

MR: You not only funded your debut album but you also drafted Mat Kearney’s producer Jason Lehning to oversee the project. How did it come together?

ZP: We got help from our fans because we did a Kickstarter for the album. That was the only way it was financially feasible.

MR: Who are some of the band’s influences and favorite contemporaries?

ZP: It’s hard to pinpoint my exact influences because I think all the music I listen to has an effect on my music. Because of that, I’m very cognizant of what I’m listening to. We listen to a lot of ’60s and ’70s country, rock, soul, folk, etc. This summer I discovered Loudon Wainwright III who I wish I had found earlier and most the stuff he does is right up my alley. We all have different tastes when it comes to contemporary stuff. Everybody generally likes pop music, except for me. šŸ˜‰ I actually really do like pop a lot but I’ve developed a nasty case of pretentious douche this past year and listen to most of it with a stubborn chip on my shoulder. It’s a phase. I just saw Andrew Bird 2 nights ago. That was amazing. I like the new Delta Spirit record too. I also read a lot and I draw a ton inspiration from that.

MR: Beyond the music, how will The Tragic Thrills make a name for itself and why do there have to be so many acts out there to compete with anyway!

ZP: Good question. I really don’t know. There are a ton of bands out there, and a decent amount of good ones. I don’t like what technology has done to the culture of being a band and all the things a band has to do other than being a band. I figure I’m going to keep working to try to make something great that will speak for itself. I think–possibly naively–that there will be something rewarding in that alone, even if it doesn’t go anywhere. And if I don’t ever make anything great, I guess I’ll be bitter my whole life. But that challenge is definitely exciting.

MR: Do you like playing live and do you have a favorite concert you performed for both you and possibly your audience?

ZP: Yes. Live might be the best part. I really don’t have a favorite concert. When we just have a knock-out night on stage, those are always the best. With the type of music this is, when we are playing really well and having loads of fun on stage, that’s the thing that really translates to the audience. That’s an awesome thing to experience.

MR: What is your advice for new artists other than go away and stop being our competition?

ZP: That’s it… It really depends on who the artist is and what he or she or they are doing. As a general statement, 90% of music is very simple. A lot of it’s not so much what you do, but how well you do it. But what do I know.

MR: What does Zoltar say is The Tragic Thrills’ future?

ZP: “Your forthcoming cover of ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’ by Stealers Wheel will be your breakout hit in 2017.”


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