"We’re a duo (Rob Tranter and Joe Crook) from Shrewsbury, UK. We’ve been friends for years but didn’t actually start recording music together until a few years ago when the two bands we were in previously came to an end. Rob was in a 4 piece band called Talk and released one album called Reset Start Again through Birmingham based indie label Fortune and Glory. Joe was recording solo music under the name Silent Design."
We recently had the chance to talk with Rob and Joe about their Portrayal origins, inspirations in the British scene, and all things alternative culture.
For Portrayal we like to mix up rock and electronica with other styles such as shoegaze etc. whilst keeping a focus on melody and structure. We’ve a wide range of influences both musical and cinematic and try to distill these into a sound that’s unique and interesting to us.
What are your top 3 favorite albums that inspired you to get into music?
For Joe it would have been Nirvana Nevermind and the Beatles Revolver
For Rob it would have been Pink Floyd’s Wish you Were Here and Kraftwerk’s Man Machine
What are your fondest musical memories?
Recording this album, it’s been great fun and we can’t wait to crack on with the next!
As a listener Joe’s best musical experience has to be seeing Mew live in Copenhagen
Rob’s is seeing Beck live during his Sea Change tour in Manchester.
Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener?
Rob’s late to the party in discovering Black Moth Super Rainbow but become a bit obsessed.
Joe’s been listening to the Organ EP thieves a lot recently.
What is your creative process like? How do you approach the writing process?
The way we work is Rob will record the majority of the music for the songs at which point we arrange a structure together, then Joe will record the vocals over the structured song.
How did you two decide on collaborating together for this project? How did you decide on your musical aesthetic and name, and how is it different than your separate past projects as Silent Design and Talk?
We got chatting about writing music together when the bands we were in at the time were on hiatus. The music came naturally but the name took a while as most the good ones are taken these days! The style of our music is more direct than our previous bands although it still has elements of both.
I am the the type of listener that believes environment shapes music creation and I have noticed lately that the indie/alternative world has seen innovation specifically from UK artists. The UK is an international hub for music, between the radio and festival culture to the obsession with artists stemming from the area. How would you describe the UK music scene? Do you think there is a certain quality about the scene that adds to the creative process?
It rains a lot so there’s plenty of time to be inside working on new ideas. The gloom probably helps shape the style of a lot of British music.
What is your dream collaboration and why?
David Lynch to do a video for us. His visual language seems to fit very well with everything we are trying to do in our music.
As an indie artist in the digital age, social media and streaming are essential tools for marketing and promotion. What do you think about online music sharing, both as a music fan and as a musician? How do you think social media/music streaming services impacts the rising musician?
It’s much easier to get heard nowadays and take control of promotion yourself. We really like how responsive it can be when putting a new track out, as you can get almost immediate feedback from listeners.
As for listening to music, it’s great, you can pretty much discover stuff whenever you want.
What are you currently working on? Any new projects?
We’re currently putting the finishing touches to our debut album ‘To the Black Sea’ which is to be released early in 2015. We will also start going through the songs in a live environment and since we’re a duo it should be really interesting, looking forward to it!We’re just finishing the mixing of our first album ‘To the Black Sea’ but have loads of ideas backed up to start work on a new album shortly afterwards.
Finally, a question we have been asking all of artists lately: which songs are you currently obsessed with? What new acts do you recommend to our listeners? What bands do you believe are your best kept secret in the indie community?
We’ve both been getting into Viet Cong recently and would recommend people to check them out.