Doomsday prophets Port Henry have been envisioning the end of the world for the past 3 years. Stuck in tape purgatory working on their debut album Laugh Without A Sound, Jason Baxter, Evan Luther, Sean McKenty, and Chris Leinheiser could sense the strange turn the world was heading for before anyone saw it coming. The first single from their upcoming album, “2003” puts a playful spin on their collective unease and unnerving premonitions.
In an otherwise dark time “2003” is a disorienting glimpse of light. A lush blend of shoegaze and electropop, it’s brightness is deceptive as Port Henry still finds themselves searching for a way out. Finding it impossible to untangle themselves from the web of lies spun by the media, politicians, and even the people closest to them their glitchy experimentation is tainted by something sinister. Serving as a warning “2003” stays vigilant, staring straight at what would be more comfortable to ignore.
WHAT SIMILARITIES DO YOU SEE BETWEEN WHAT HAPPENED IN THE EARLY 2000’S AND WHAT’S GOING ON NOW?
EVAN: What a question. Well, the Internet and technology as we now know it was in its infancy and went through a major growth spurt due to the global chaos of the time. The Big Data Industrial complex in a sense was born in reaction to 9/11. In our age, COVID looks to be spurring a similar but much bigger and advantageous growth spurt. Contact tracing, remote work, facial recognition, wide-scale civilian drone use, autonomous robotics, etc. the World Economic Forum calls this “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”. I think most people who lived through 9/11 and accepted the expansion of the surveillance state would probably choose to do things differently if they could, and I think 20 years from now a lot of us might think the same if we aren’t careful right now.
HOW DOES “2003” INTRODUCE SOME OF THE THEMES YOU EXPLORE ON LAUGH WITHOUT A SOUND?
EVAN: I think it’s the most playful take on the sort of political and social anger we were feeling at the time. It’s very simple in the musical sense and ambiguous in its lyrical content, but there’s a weird underlying bite or sense of mania I guess.
YOU’VE RECORDED AND RE-RECORDED ALL THE SONGS ON THIS ALBUM MORE TIMES THAN YOU CAN RECOUNT. WHAT WAS THE ORIGINAL VERSION OF “2003” LIKE? HOW DID IT CHANGE AND WHAT INFLUENCED THOSE CHANGES?
EVAN: From what I can remember it started off as like a weird techno track in Ableton recorded on an iPhone microphone, it was called “Nails/Bears” or something and was kinda scary so we re-recorded it and added some new sections on our four-track. That version ended up more like a Good Morning track that was recorded by CAN. Then we scraped everything except the verse in the beginning and added the current chorus. From there it started sounding like a love child of Sweet Trip and Oasis, with some residual Good Morning influence. Haha.
HOW DOES IT FEEL RELEASING THIS SONG INTO THE WORLD WITH EVERYTHING GOING ON?
EVAN: It’s kind of funny to me because it’s a rather simple playful pop song… at least that’s how I see it.
A LOT OF YOUR SONGS SERVE AS WARNINGS-WHAT DO YOU THINK “2003” IS TELLING PEOPLE TO BE AWARE OF? WHAT SHOULD PEOPLE BE PAYING ATTENTION TO?
EVAN: In times of fear people will usually do anything to cease that fear, whether it be new social measures or legislative ones. Just take a look at 9/11. At the time people were willing to let the government access their library cards, read their search history on the internet, and listen in on their phone calls. That was made out to be a temporary measure, but 20 years onwards you look around at those measures, still in place and bigger than ever, and you think “Wait, I’m at the bottom of this deep hole and there’s no escape”.