Jonny Porter - 10 Questions Music Interview
Jonny Porter is a Canadian multi instrumentalist, singer and songwriter who incorporates rock, blues, and alt-country into his style. Jonny started his music career as the drummer in successful Raggae/ Rock band Staylefish with whom he won multiple awards at the London Music Awards, performed on the Vans Warped Tour, and opened for Down With Webster, Subb, Stomp Records All Stars, The English Beat among many others. Following his departure from Staylefish, Jonny recorded his debut 11 track album "Grave Bird"(Gypsy Soul Records) in March 2017. During the support for that release Jonny shared the stage with Rik Emmett of Triumph, John Wozniak of Marcy's Playground, Todd Kerns of SLASH, Spenny (Kenny vs. Spenny), Five Alarm Funk, and Ko, performed at Canadian Music Week, and Burlington Sound of Music Festival. Jonny Porter's debut went on to crack the top 500 new releases on the American Muzooka Charts, as well Chart in the Top 30 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Hamilton, Ontario on the Top 30 Earshot Charts for College Radio. Fans eagerly anticipate his upcoming EP which will be released in September.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it. I wouldn't say there was any one experience or individual that influenced me to learn, play and start writing music. My parents had all sorts of instruments in the house from as far back as I can remember as a child. There was always music playing in the household, between my mom, dad, and my brother. I was 7 years old listening to Aerosmith, Metallica, Pantera, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Garth Brooks, Abba;it was definitely an eclectic bunch of musical acts that influenced my love of music, and eventually influenced me to learn and try and master the craft of drums, piano, guitar, bass, and vocal.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
There is a laundry list of things I could go into from being told you have a room for the night and the promoters provided Tepee's for the band, to having to wipe your butt with your own slip on shoe. But certainly one of the more odd experiences would have to be this - As I was doing a 3 show residency at a resort in Panama City Florida with a prior band Dead Etiquette I played guitar in, I temporarily joined a moped gang/ club called the "Mosquitos," and I randomly drove all over Panama City, FL getting up to trouble with a bunch of drunk college kids on moped's. It wasn't the proudest week of my life, but it was definitely really fun, and a strange 6 days.
What has been the high point of your music path?
I would have to say touring for 8 days on the Vans Warped Tour with my old band Staylefish was insane, and I have memories and times with all those bands I wouldn't trade for the world. Furthermore, I was on vacation in Veradero, Cuba, and this lady recognized me from a poster her brother had on her wall of Staylefish. That was a surreal moment, and of all places wasn't expecting that, so I bought her many drinks.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
Songwriting for me is very cathartic, and therapeutic, as cliche as that sounds. For music I typically write on acoustic guitar, and I'll sit there for hours with my phone recording every second of it. I will then go back picking and choosing what parts I think I can elaborate on, and the odd time you even hear a whole song in the mix of "noise." Occasionally, you get lucky and music and words will just pour out, and you know immediately that you have something strong which is worth focusing all your energy on.
Lyrically I am a very personalized lyricist. So whether it's me writing about my time abusing Heroin, or getting clean, or being homeless, working a blue collar job punching a clock for a payday, or past family and relationship experiences there's never a shortage of things to sing and yell about. Often my favorite hook phrasings lyrically come from conversations with a close friend, or I'll overhear something and I just run with it and immediately hum it into my phone after googling whether it's been done before or not lol.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
I can only speak for myself and other artists I've been close with over the years. Typically the biggest challenge is creating content, and finding that surge of luck that lets whatever your doing float to the top. There are so many artists, bands etc trying to make noise in the present day, and music is so much more accessible in terms of streaming and recording that the competition is never ending and vast at all levels I'd imagine.
If I could have one wish granted and see the music industry change one thing, it would definitely be to invest more funding into up and coming artists or acts that are deemed to have more of a risk factor attached to them. The industry plays it so safe these days and everything is very cookie cutter so to speak. Once upon a time labels and management companies did take greater creative risks, which is why we have some of the great classic acts of the last century.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Opening up for Tom Waits would be an actual dream come true. Just to be able to shake his hand and hopefully talk for a quick minute. In my opinion there isn't a more versatile solo artist then Tom Waits, absolutely timeless music. Whether or not he or his crowd would dig my form of rock n roll is a whole other ball game ;)
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
I will jam for weeks leading up to a show, or a run of shows with my lead guitar player Chris Bryant. Typically this will take place at my house. Once him and I feel like everything is smooth, and in the pocket we will then go to a local studio and rent the live room to rehearse with the rest of the band that supports him and I live. If I'm playing solo, I prepare by immediately going into a local studio and rehearsing as if I'm actually playing the show, I'll riff on what I'm going to say (although that changes based on a variety of factors) but having a general idea of how your going to banter the crowd is never a poor choice I've learned, and I'll even film rehearsals closer to the gig to make sure I don't come off as a dork lol
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
The song "Weekend Accident," which is on my upcoming second effort "Look Out," which is dropping September 29th, 2020 was probably one of the more challenging songs. As I mentioned above I unfortunately was addicted to Heroin and Oxy Contin for many years, and "Weekend Accident," is about that in a nutshell. So right off the bat I penned dozens of drafts of the lyrics, because I didn't want to do that topic injustice at all, but at the same time didn't want to be 100% literal. I also knew I was going to be filming a music video trying to raise awareness for the Opiate epidemic, so I didn't want people to be turned off by the lyrics right away because in many ways socially this topic is still very taboo, and you can check that video out on You Tube.
I also really wanted the riff to be in your face and hard, and I wrote the song in drop D tuning. At first it was just too heavy sounding for what I normally like recording. So after weeks I eventually landed on this tuning DAFGBE. I tweaked the tuning on the one string out of drop D standard and everything had this bluesy undertone to it and the riff in my opinion was no longer as "heavy," as it was. That whole process took months to write, and there was moments I almost scrapped it, but I'm glad I followed through.
What's coming up in the future?
Good question! September 29th, 2020 I'll be putting out a 6 song EP called "Look Out." That will be available everywhere you can think of online, and the lead single "Look Out" is already up for sale, and streaming on all those same online retailers. I will be embarking on another full Canadian college radio campaign and hopefully lands some higher charting positions then my first album "GraveBird." Beyond that I will be supporting the EP with as many shows as possible. I had quite a few show cancellations because of the Covid-19 Pandemic, so once venue's open again it's game on. Aside from that I would love to find a home again at another Indy Label, so thats definitely on the grill as well.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
People can support my music and listen at these link:
Spotify Thats the Spotify link for my new single "Look Out," and by visiting that link you can access my whole first album as well, and make sure to follow me and share the music! You can also check out the "Weekend Accident," video by visiting this link: