Noise Pop: Port O'Brien Sick of Writing Songs About the Sea


Folk wonders, Port O’Brien, never forget their roots. Their name itself is a tribute to a now abandoned cannery on Kodiak Island, Alaska where singer/guitarist Van Pierszalowski’s parents met in the late 60s. It’s also a little reminder of their summers spent working on fishing boats and in canneries. Despite their modest fisherman façade, the Oakland-formed quintet opened for indie alt-rock superstars Nada Surf on their last tour, an experience they claim “was simultaneously hilarious and amazing.” Port O’Brien’s third album (yet to be named and set to drop later this year) is in the works with a guest spot rumored to be filled by none other than Lily Allen.

Where do you find some of the most unexpected sources of inspiration?

On the road, we run into all sorts of interesting situations and people that give us inspiration. Once, we were chased by a crazed Oklahoman woman after we shot off fireworks behind a venue. For realsies.

Do you ever get sick of writing songs about the sea? What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever written a song about?
We are sick of writing songs about the sea.  In 7th grade, I wrote a song for my band The Adolescent Smurfs about somebody going #2 in the urinal.  It was called "The Urinal."  The chorus, repeated four times was, "Somebody took a crap in the urinal."

What do you think of Noise Pop’s lineup this year?
We played Noise Pop last year.  Its a mini CMJ, but in a better city. It’s really just like any other show to us, except there are four bands, instead of three.  It is nice to have all this concentrated music happening.  It feels like we're attacking the city! The lineup is cool. If Mariah Carey was playing it would be cooler. We would skip our show for that.

What’s the best venue in the world to play at?  Have you played there yet?
Cafe du Nord.  It’s the best venue in the world because it’s in San Francisco, and it’s cozy as shit.  Yes, we have played there are we are playing there on the 27th for NoisePop!!! YES.

Who has been your biggest influence?
It used to be Neil Young.  Now its Lil' Weezy.

Tell me something you've never told anyone before.
I honestly believe that the Kings of Leon are a better band than the Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes, and Vampire Weekend combined.

Make sure to catch Port O’Brien repping the Bay Area hard at Café du Nord Friday, February 27th with Odawas, Afternoons and Dame Satan.

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