Words With Port Royal

Brisbane’s Port Royal mercifully fill the gap between hard rock and indie rock with dirty classic bluey rock and roll and WildnFree couldn’t be happier. First slaying her heart back in April with Get Heavy, Port Royal are back with new track Pinch-Hit plus two shows coming up this Grand Final weekend in Melbourne, the very best time to let loose and party. Mashing The Black Keys and The Rolling Stones with their own brand of bravado, Port Royal are proudly young, stupid and adventurous enough to forge their own path through the world of down and dirty classic rock and roll.

Lead singer Lawson Doyle chatted to WildnFree  shortly after completing the important professional duty of shooting a sneaky new music vid. Given the time of year, we engaged in some footy trash talk first up.

WF: You’re coming to Melbourne on Grand Final weekend, good move.

LD: Yeah, I’m not a footy fan but our drummer’s an AFL fan.

WF: Not so much an AFL fan now that Brisbane (the AFL wooden spooners Brisbane Lions) is so shit? 

LD: Yeah, I’ll cop that!

WF: Sorry, I’m an Essendon supporter and I still carry deep wounds from the 2001 Grand Final. But, I’m a big Port Royal fan. After listening to your EP a few months back, I was like, “Yes! Someone is doing blues rock! Dirty blues rock!”

LD: There’s not much of it around!

WF: I think you’re filling that gap, and it’s exciting. I’m a big Black Keys fan, so I’m loving your similar sound. 

LD: That’s great to hear, I think the same, The Black Keys were one of the first shows I went to when I was a young lad, with my mum, and it was incredible. In Brisbane, there’s a lot of hardcore stuff or there’s lot of indie stuff, but we don’t fit into either, we sit on the fence.

WF: You describe yourself as young, stupid and adventurous, excellent, tell me more.  

LD: We’re young lads from all from Brisbane, Tane (Josephson) our guitarist is from Coolangatta and we came together over a love of rock and roll music and not much else. We were all quite nerdy kids growing up, Connor (Arnold, drums)was nerdy in a sports-nerdy way, I was nerdy in a book-nerdy way, and a bit more arty. We both went to schools that idolised sport, and I was never a big fan of that.

WF: Sounds like you found solace in rock.

LD: Yes for sure! When I was about 14 or so, Connor and I were at the same school, we were distant friends but we never really hung out. We played in a little high school band for a few years that didn’t go too far, but we loved it. We met Chase (Brodie, bass) at uni, he was a funny flamboyant nerdy guy with a bit of charm about him. He had a Rolling Stones bag on him, and I’m a big fan of the Stones, so we got chatting, and we started jamming.  I called up Connor, who I hadn’t spoken to for six months or so, and I said, ‘Hey man I’ve got this guy keen to jam, and we jumped in, and developed Port Royal, after working through a few different layouts. We didn’t meet Tane until the start of this year, after going through a few lead guitarists.  We could never be a three-piece, I’m doing too much on the vocals, Mick Jagger’s a bit influence for me so getting away from the mic every now and then is really good.

WF: Like, let it all out and get a bit crazy?

LD: Yeah, use your hands, there’s not enough hand movements in the world!

WF: There are not!

LD: We kept going through all the tough times and bullshit, the three of us, and found Tane this year through uni. He kept to himself and didn’t give off much, but we thought he had a lot of potential. Before we knew it, we were jamming in the studio, and we’d found the right person.

WF: How do you write your songs?

LD: Haha this is always a touchy topic! Essentially, I write most of the songs and most parts, but there’s a lot to be said about what the songs becomes in the jam room.  There’s on track off the EP, Elizabeth (a Queen-influenced power-Opera-rock number) which Chase is responsible for. I’m responsible for a lot of the other stuff, I take songs to the band, we structure it, and I write most of the lyrics. Tane’s just moved to Brisbane, but he’s got heaps of potential as a songwriter. The new song Pinch -Hit is part him.

WF: Tell me about your two shows coming up in Melbourne and what’s the plan for more tours? 

LD: We’ve just come back from playing in Sydney and Newcastle last week, and we’re planning a regional tour at the end of the year, but we’re excited to play in Melbourne this weekend.

WF: How’s your live show coming together?

LD: It’s probably the strongest part of the band, when we get on stage together, I like to think it’s pretty hot, it’s fast and it’s gotta get people dancing, that’s the most important thing. Old Grandma up the back, she should be able to dance, it’s about making those feet move. You don’t get those opportunities out in your week, everything’s dead serious in the world, that time to dance is the chance to let loose and forget about it all.

WF: Totally, and so good that you’re playing The Tote this Thursday. It’s literally the dirtiest place you could play!

LD: I’ve heard its a good little bar.

WF: It’s filthy, gross, the best place you could go for your first show in Melbourne. The Evelyn on Sunday is less gross, but still a great venue. What other Port Royal news should we know?  

LD: We’ve got some new material coming out soon, plus a music video for Pinch-Hit coming out soon which is based on a pretty cool idea, we’ve got a very talented director on board with some amazing ideas.  The idea for the video is really for anyone of any age group, any demographic, geographic, anything.

WF: So you’re keen to reach as wide as audience as possible with your music? 

LD: Yes definitely, we want to be a band that appeals to everyone. I’ve noticed in Australia there’s a lot of niche genres of music and specialised demographics, we’ve got our aesthetic, attitude and culture and people can agree with if they want to, but overall, great storytelling is at the forefront of that, if you’re any age group and you don’t like stories, then you’re not living!

WildnFree totally agrees.

Melburnians, go see Port Royal this weekend, details below. Hometown BNE’ers, catch them on Friday 13 October at The Wooly Mammoth.

Now rock out to Pinch-Hit:

Port Royal Melbourne show deets

Thursday, 28th of September @ The Tote w/ Green Hollows and The Deadlips

 Sunday, 1st of October @ The Evelyn Hotel w/ Honeybone and The Jives

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