Harbor and Home's latest album, Dark Days, traces the edges of Americana before settling in a pool of calming guitars and lyrics. It's deeply lovely: a frosty sunrise of an album that signals happiness, holism, and mystery for fans of the Avett Brothers and Frank Turner.
Gimme Noise caught up with Kaleb Williams before the album release at the Fine Line on Saturday to talk about the change in their sound and their thoughts on Christian rock.[jump]
Band members: Kaleb Williams, Alex Kimball, Nathan Johnson, Sam Nargan, David Laansma
Gimme Noise: How did the name Harbor and Home come about?
Kaleb Williams: Well, the name Harbor and Home really came from the vision that we have as a band. We believe that music is one of the most powerful forces on this earth, and that the correct use of that power can be a comfort and an escape for people who need it. We strive to be an uplifting and positive influence on those around us so that we feel like family to those we encounter. We want people to tell us their stories and the things they have faced because they feel comfortable. A Harbor was a sign of refuge for early sailors as they fought the angry tides and mounting waves, and Home is the place where your heart feels at peace and you are truly in a place of serenity. By using these two names we truly feel that our vision has its roots and also a reminder to us and those around us that we will be there for people when they most need it.
The feel of the music falls in line with the name of the band. Was that intentional?
That's exactly what we wanted to happen. We feel that our music has to line up with our overall vision and we think that this album does just that. Our vision is plain and simple -- be the light in the dark. Your music has Christian undertones to it. Do you guys consider yourselves Christian rock? Or do you feel the music can be more universal?
We definitely hope that some of who we are comes out in the way we write and in the music that we play. We are all followers of Jesus Christ and believe all that the Bible teaches, so we would say that absolutely some of our songs have Christian undertones. We generally do not classify our music as Christian rock, because we are a band that truly believes in leading by example. Our music all though it does contain undertones of Christianity was not intended to fit just into the Christian genre, but rather be a kind of music that appeals to all cultures and religions so that when the time comes for the rubber to hit the road, we can lead by example and be the light in the dark. Indirect missions work is something that has always intrigued our band. You took some time off before you began writing for this album. Why did you do so?
We definitely needed time to realign our vision and get our minds in the right place. We also were going every which way as far as style goes, and we needed time to lock down our direction for the future. The quiet places can sometimes have the loudest messages.
Can you pinpoint a particular moment when your vision to the new sound or what you wanted to write became clearer?
The music really started to take a turn when we honestly had some time to look at ourselves and the lives of those around us. We started to pull from the troubled times rather than just the joyful times and found that our writing became much more honest and genuine, and a lot of songs were not used or just not pursued. We try to write at least something new every day whether it be a riff on the guitar, a new drum beat, or just some lyrics that we jot down on our iPhones. Constantly working on something new is what keeps creativity fresh and alive. [page]
Can you tell me the story behind "I'll Be Around"? Where did the song originate from?
The song "I'll Be Around" really is something that our band feels aligns right up with our vision. We all go through things and do things in this life that we aren't proud of. A lot of the people we love get hurt and we are often afraid of reaching out and asking for help. The message of this song is truly that we should do the opposite and reach out to the ones we love for support and help. That the ones we love won't be the ones to push us down with their judgements but rather build us up with their love and care. This song stemmed from a dear friend of the band who was going through some things but wasn't able to tell us what was going on. We felt a little downtrodden that someone so important to us wasn't comfortable sharing whatever was eating them. This song was our plea to them.
Any favorite tracks off the album?
It's tough to pinpoint any individual track that we can call our favorite. We all have our own personal favorites and our own songs that mean the most to each one of us. We all enjoy every single one of these tracks and truly hope that you take time to listen to them all.
How did you meet Andy Lowe, and what do you feel he brought to the album?
Andy Lowe has been a dear friend for many years now. He's a great influence musically and a fountain of knowledge when it comes to any kind of musical gear. We are truly blessed to have him as a friend and also as a work associate that we can be honest with and confide in. We feel that his expertise in the studio truly gave us the versatility to add whatever we wanted or to try techniques that might otherwise be unconventional. He helped give voice to our music so that we can share it more that we ever could on our own; he also helped us to record an entire album in just ten days. What can we expect to see at the album release show?
We have truly been working nonstop to get this album release show to be the absolute best that it can be. The openers are all great and we have seen more support than we have seen in a long time. We hope to blow you all away at the show as we showcase Dark Days.
Harbor and Home will release Dark Days at the Fine Line Music Cafe on Saturday, July 12, 2014 with Marah in the Mainsail, Batteryboy, and Old Desert Road. 18+, $8 adv, $10 door, 7:30 pm Tickets.
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