INTERVIEW: Porch Light Apothecary

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thanks for having us!  We’ve been great!  We’ve been very busy getting everything prepared for our album release and are very excited about getting these songs out to the world.  It always feels like you’re caught in a whirlwind coming down the stretch towards the release of a new album.  Kind of like this big climax of work making sure everything is in order, combined with emotion and excitement building up to the release.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Lost in You”?

“Lost in You” was written by Brent a few months after we released our previous album and it immediately brought a fresh, catchy vibe that seemed to be kind of a catalyst to the direction we were headed with our newer material.  It has a way of drawing you in and has always felt like the first song that sort of set the path for our new album, ‘Weight of the Heart’.  It felt appropriate that “Lost in You” should be the first single we release from the album.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Brent:  My family and I spend time each summer on our dear friends’ farm in Vermont, slowing down, unplugging from the world and doing farm chores as a way of taking an intentional deep breath. The opening line says, “you can wear your hands out building fences all day…,” and it comes from actually building a long pasture fence one summer. On a deeper level, the line is a contemplation on the act of building a wall on our southern border and the tensions inflamed by all the divisive rhetoric surrounding it. We are all for tearing down walls and extending a compassionate hand to those who are reaching our way. The rest of the song was finished on the road from Raleigh to Nashville, staring at my beautiful wife in the front seat with the windows down, bare feet on the dashboard and blond hair blowing in the blue ridge mountain air.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

We definitely plan to release a video as soon as we can but haven’t decided for sure which song we’ll use.  We’ve been considering “Lost in You” or possibly “Dark was the Night”, which hasn’t been released yet.  Who knows, maybe we’ll just release a video for both!

The single comes off your new album Weight of the Heart – what’s the story behind the title?

That’s a very good question.  I forget exactly how that name came up, but I think it was during one of our rehearsals while we were just talking about a rough situation one of the band members was going through at the time.  Someone said something about the weight of the heart and that kind of stood out and we jotted it down in this little band notebook that we keep around to record things we don’t want to forget.  At some point during the recording process, when we were starting to consider the album title, we stumbled across this in the notebook and it jumped out and it was immediately obvious we had found the name.  It couldn’t have been more appropriate.

The material for this album was developed during a very emotional time.  Some members of the band experienced personal losses in their families during this time, on top of everything that has been going on in the world, and more specifically, this country.  There has been a lot of weight present, but the other side of that is the healing process of making music together, writing these songs, and turning many of those burdens into something positive.

How was the recording and writing process?

The recording process was nothing short of fantastic.  We recorded with Jeff Crawford at Arbor Ridge Studios in Chapel Hill, NC.  Jeff is so great and such a perfect fit for our style and demeaner.  We recorded most of the album over the course of a long, full weekend and came back a few times over the next few weeks to wrap up things like vocals, percussion, and other odds and ends.  We were blessed with the opportunity to have our new friend Anne-Claire Niver blow us away with the beautiful and powerful vocals she adds on a few tracks, as well as Autumn Brand totally elevating the song “Dark was the Night” with her violin.

The writing process was very healing through all the turmoil.  I think we’re becoming increasingly better about fleshing things out more, working with them, and trying to bring the emotion out of each song or idea.  We’re also becoming more and more collaborative in the songwriting process.  Brent still brings most of the song skeletons or ideas to the table, but we’re working with them more and more together… kind of like we’re collectively molding the clay into the final product.

What role does North Carolina play in your writing?

There’s a rich musical history and spirit that’s well alive in North Carolina. From Coltrane, Elizabeth Cotton and Doc Watson, all the way through Ben Folds, Ryan Adams, His Golden Messenger, Sylvan Esso, Rhiannon Giddens, and on and on… I think it has to do with the pace of life, access to the mountains and the coast, and the dreams of small town dreamers.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Brent:  Inspiration for writing songs comes from all places. From the little things that happen on a day to day basis, life with a family and little ones, growing older, true love, painful loss, light and dark things. Honestly though, I’ve always felt that songs were gifts handed down from above when we are in a right place, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, to receive them. Over the past year or two, we have been in a good place to humbly receive these songs and hopefully, we’ve been good stewards of them. When a song feels like its been given to the songwriter from a sacred place, its easier to give it away to listening hearts.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes, not long-term, but we’re doing a run up the east coast in mid-September, following the release of ‘Weight of the Heart’.  We’re still filling out some dates, but we’re playing a couple shows in New York and making a stop in DC along the way.  We hope to start branching out more and making up to the northeast more often.

What else is happening next in Porch Light Apothecary’s world?

We’ve got another single being released in a couple weeks and then the new album, ‘Weight of the Heart’ will be released August 31.  We’re excited about getting it out for the world to hear.  We have a big album release show at Kings in Raleigh the following night, September 1, and then we’ll head out on our tour a couple weeks later.  We’ve got several other great North Carolina shows coming up this fall, too, and we hope to begin working on a video soon.

Listen to “Lost In You”





About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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