Two years after releasing their debut album The Voyage, This Harbour return with the forthcoming release of their LP The Wicked and the Wild. Beginning as a solo project of Northern Ontario’s Nathan Olmstead back in 2011, This Harbour has now flourished into an indie-folk quartet ready to deliver an emotionally striking and mature-sounding album.
The record “is the story of the growth, collapse, and chance to rebuild that all people face.” The Wicked and the Wild also embodies what This Harbour do best; thoughtful lyrics and charming vocal arrangements. To celebrate the release, This Harbour are set to play a free show at a local bar called The Raven and Republic in North Bay (info).
The Wicked and the Wild comes out this Thursday, January the 23rd. Listen to this gem below, and dive into our interview with the band to learn about all things This Harbour.
AMBY: Hello This Harbour, cheers for speaking with us today. Please introduce yourselves to our readers.
This Harbour: Thanks for the opportunity! We’re actually just chilling having a band practice right now so we’re all in the same place which pretty much never happens. Here’s a rundown of what we all do in the band:
Nathan Olmstead: Nothing.
Molly McNamara: Beautiful princess that sings a little bit.
Carl Matkin: Bass and eye candy.
Ian Hazelwood: Angsty teenager hitting things.
AMBY: How would you describe your sound to those unfamiliar with your music?
This Harbour: It’s hard to explain our sound by using one genre. We all have so many different influences and it seems like every single one works its way into our sound. We listen to a little bit of everything, from folk to hardcore, and we like to imagine that our music reflects that. You can definitely see that in the new album. We aren’t afraid to try things that other people in similar genres wouldn’t. We just follow the emotions of each song and if a song makes us feel like yelling or screaming then we do it. We really don’t limit ourselves. Happy songs shouldn’t sound sad and sad songs shouldn’t sound happy.
AMBY: Where did the name This Harbour come from, and what other names had you considered for the band?
This Harbour: There’s actually a church in our hometown called The Harbour. Nathan’s friend talked him into going a couple of times and the community feeling there was pretty great. When Nathan started writing music, that sense of belonging was something that he wanted to create in the crowd, and the name just came out of that. This Harbour just represents a sort of central place for people to come and enjoy an experience together, even if they have nothing else in common. There weren’t really any names tossed around before This Harbour. A lot of the high school bands Nathan started before This Harbour all had names that had something to do with water, though. A bit of a trend going on, or he just ran out of ideas, haha!
AMBY: Your second LP The Wicked and the Wild comes out this Thursday! What was the experience like recording the album?
This Harbour: It was actually pretty crazy. The original girl vocalist had some personal things come up mid-way through the process and so we ended up looking for a new member during recording. Nathan and Ian went out at about 11 at night (that was when our vocalist broke the news) and started texting people like crazy. Nathan asked Molly if she wanted to join the band and she said no. He gave her a million dollars and changed her mind Of course, Molly had never seen any of our lyrics before so when she was recording her vocals, the lyrics were literally written on a giant whiteboard in front of her. Her and Carl were pretty much learning the songs as we recorded them. It was the most hectic experience of our lives but it forced us to become closer as a band. Ian actually just made us nachos and dip, which probably wouldn’t have happened if we had recorded normally.
The actual recording was amazing. We worked with Ben Leggett, who was nominated for a Juno for his work with Craig Cardiff (check that out!). He really pushed us to bring our music to the next level and we think that he put out a great sounding album for us. You learn so much when you go into a high quality studio like that. It forces you to play your songs tighter and make some changes and at the end of it you get an album you can really be proud of.
AMBY: What is the significance behind the title The Wicked and the Wild?
This Harbour: It sounded pretty cool. There’s actually two ways you can look at it. The first is the relationship between two people. A guy who is sort of rough around the edges (wicked) and a girl who is craving the sort of freedom that comes with being with someone like that (wild). It uses the imagery of a wolf and a fox to represent them… which is why the artwork is the way it is (thanks Katelynn!). The second is pretty similar, just on an internal level. We all have a wicked side and we all have a wild side. You can’t get rid of them and in some cases you shouldn’t try. It’s all about the fight between the two. It also works really well for making puns about the album.“That’s wicked… and wild.”… So that’s pretty much it.
AMBY: What are your plans to celebrate The Wicked and the Wild’s release?
This Harbour: We have a CD release show January 23 in North Bay! It’s a local bar called The Raven and Republic and it’s totally free! You should definitely make the road trip from Toronto. We’re hoping that after our CD release show we can start getting some more shows outside of our hometown. We’d love to open for some bigger bands and play some festivals if we could. Canadian Music Week is something we’d really like to be a part of this year. We just have to convince them to let us tag along for the ride! Here’s an event page for that CD Release Show if anyone was interested! We still haven’t sorted out the after party. We’re all too old to drink.
AMBY: The first single off of your new album is currently up as a free download. What inspired Bonnie and Clyde?
This Harbour: It goes back to the story behind the album title and the fight between a wicked side and a wild side. People romanticise the story of Bonnie and Clyde but in reality it was extremely destructive. We wanted to write a song that represented everything that was really going on in the album from start to finish; two people falling in love and then destroying each other. We actually didn’t intend for the song to turn out so sad but you can’t really help it sometimes! Hopefully people keep listening past that song and hear some of the happier music we wrote, too.
AMBY: Which of your influences would you love to have a jam session with?
This Harbour: Like we said, we all have different influences!
Nathan: Silverstein because they’re the only people as sad as I am. In reality though, probably Hey Rosetta. They’re one of Canada’s most talented bands and I think I could learn so much about song writing from them. They incorporate so much classical training into their song writing and their lyrics tell fantastic stories.
Carl: It’s either Rise Against or Nine Inch Nails – they’ve both done so much for the music industry.
Ian: I’d love to jam with Counterparts or A Day to Remember- I already do a bunch of covers of their music.
Molly: Ellie Goulding or Teagan and Sara or Metric…. Maybe The Sheepdogs or something. I’d love to rap with Jay-Z or Pitbul if I could.
This Harbour: While writing this, we actually realized that Ke$ha is the guilty pleasure of the band… so…. There’s always that.
AMBY: What was the best release of 2013?
This Harbour: You’re getting us all opinionated with this one. We can’t agree so:
Nathan & Ian: The Difference between Hell and Home – Counterparts
Molly: Justin Timberlake’s new album. The 20/20 Experience Part One.
Carl: Random Access Memories by Daft Punk.
AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about This Harbour that nobody knows yet?
This Harbour: Molly’s friends all hate music with screaming, Carl is basically in charge of our music equipment because he’s a genius, and Nathan is the only member of the band that can’t play another member’s instrument/part.
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Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout