RockTalk – Harbour Grace
Harbour Grace is a collaboration … since 2005 they have been producing well crafted and hard hitting original music. Last year’s release “Call of the Nameless” starts with …actual thunder and then proceeds to hypnotise with a thundering organic rhythm! The first time I heard this band, I stuck my head inside a friend’s truck to ‘check out these friends of his’. When the sound hit, the powerful energy sent me rushing down the driveway. (then I came running back). As soon as I got the chance, I went to see them play live.
Their shows in this area are a combination of cover tunes with a few originals mixed in. They have recently been showcasing their own music at some of the clubs over in Albany. But even the covers are full of passion and you can sense their true love of playing music. They are dedicated to this, and they enjoy what they are doing. This week, they took a little time out of their practice schedule to talk to me for RockOn’s blog.
RO: How did you guys get your start in music, what got you into it? The teen years were really the time when each of them were turned on to playing. One thing everyone seemed to have in common was their first guitars were Memphis guitars.
HG: They are good guitars even though they are inexpensive. They also make custom guitars. Brian May (of Queen) has a custom one valued at over $2k.
Keith Ferris, lead guitar: “ I was about 13 or 14 when I started playing. My neighbor showed me guitar, and then I took lessons for a year and learned the rest on my own. My first gig was at Woody’s Roadhouse.”
Dan Teichert, drums, lead and backing vocals: Dan was not there the night we talked, but Darin filled me in: “Dan’s first gig was when he was 14 or 15 years old, at the Hardhat in Dalton. His brother was a drummer, and he hung around and and got into playing drums too. His brother later gave him the drum set he learned on. He still has it but does not use it at our gigs. Dan was a percussionist with Xavier (Abe Guthrie, Tim Sears, Randy Cormier) and then he became their drummer after Kali Baba left the band.
Darin Almeida, lead vocal, rhyhm guitar: “Actually, I was into hip-hop and break dancing during elementary school because that is what was happening at the time, with my friend, Sean Hurley. He started playing bass and then I got a guitar for Christmas. I started to get the feel, but played mostly rhythm.” Darin pretty much sticks to playing rhythm guitar in Harbour Grace while laying down a mean lead vocal. Keith is the main guitar player in the band. Darin added, “It was at Pittsfield High in Music Studio period, where a lot of us really got into playing. Kali Baba was in the class and a lot of other creative people. It was a free period to jam and learn together. We played Guns and Roses and a lot of the great music that was coming out then. It was a great time to be getting into music.”
Shawn Maschino, on bass, is the newest member of the band. “My Dad is a drummer, so I always had a drum set to play with. I started on drums at about 4-5 years old. It wasn’t until high school that I got into playing guitar and some keys. I also studied guitar and music theory with Jay Fruet for about a year. I also really learned a lot by just being in bands with friends. The first show I played was at about 16 years old at Jack’s (which later became Hami’s).”
RO: So what is your goal? I know you are doing a lot of things right now, playing both originals and covers.
HG: The goal is to pay for the cd … and we’re real close! No-one in the band has had to pay out of their pocket. It all comes from the band income. The cover band right now is to get cash. But once that debt is covered, we want to scale back and focus on new songs and originals. The biggest expense was the actual production of the cds through CD Baby.
We do include some of our songs in the shows now. When we started we were playing all originals, but in this area, a lot of people want to hear songs they already know from the radio, so it was hard. We are playing our music over in Albany at Savannahs. We got some great feedback from the booking agent. We are doing 6 shows there. There are usually 3 bands and each plays a 45 minute set. We opened one of the shows, and also played in the middle spot. It is great because you can sit back and watch the other bands.
RO: So how does Harbour Grace do the writing, is it mostly one person? Does everyone bring stuff in?
HG: “Ideas come in as form, semi-polished, we are all very open to everyone else’s ideas. We are open to suggestions to improve each idea for the good of the band. On the cd all songs are credited as being by Harbour Grace.”
Shawn added that he uses his iPad to record ideas as they come to him during the day.
Darin says, “It’s hard to transition from covers to writing…. ‘Waiting’ was supposed to be on the first album. When we started it had been almost 20 years since I had written a song, I literally sat down. ‘Waiting’ for song to be given”.
Waiting for anything to come
Or be given to me
Or to surface from within
All the things I’ve buried in me
That lessen me to the outside
And burn me on the inside
Needing to be opened
To bring me some closure
HG: “ ‘Divinity’ was written at practice..Keith had a riff, everyone came in with parts. When we added low cello part it really helped to bring it all together.
‘Last Rights’ was a full idea from the start. It was Darin’s song that did not change that much. Dan can also express his ideas on multiple instruments. He is also our Quality Control on arrangements and presentation. He really molds it to make it better.
It’s a fun process. The song ‘Placid‘ – the moment it came together was a magic moment and gave us a lot of momentum. Sometimes we start with just patterns for ideas, and some songs are still waiting in wings for the missing piece , the perfection.”
Call of the Nameless, Harbour Grace’s second release, came out in 2010. Abe Guthrie produced, mixed, and mastered the cd at his studio. He also plays keyboard on a couple of songs. He joined the band for the cd release concert at Barrington Stage last Summer. Mark Vincent did a great job on lights with limited resources at the theater. It was well attended and they got some nice footage.
‘Wish I Was Dead’ has become a local hit. It was also accepted by ‘RockBand’ to be included in an upcoming release. HG submitted a master to them and they are waiting to hear when it will be included in the game.
Harbour Grace has 5000 fans on FB…and started a second page. “We are currently in a contest, it’s a Battle of the Bands to open at SPAC this Summer. Thanks to everyone who voted last week!!
HG: “Don’t forget to include Ronald McDonald, our late night back door man.” Sure enough after a gig you are likely to find HG at the McDonald’s in Allendale!! along with an interesting mix of late night characters.
You can also find Harbour Grace on: