Growing Pains grew up in the Portland music scene. Now they’re doing some of the best indie-meets-emo rock in town
Recommended by: Mo Troper, finalist for Best New Group 2020
“The musicality is crazy, the songwriting is super crisp, and their last record, Heavenly spots, looks phenomenal. I also named Growing Pains because the taste makers of Portland have historically snubbed loud guitar music made by young people. He is one of the best.
Nothing Growing Pains does is intentional. At least, that’s according to guitarist Carl Taylor, a member of the Portland High School band who became a mainstay of the DIY show scene before the pandemic.
“It’s true that nothing we do is intentional, but we always try to sound like an emo band,” Taylor says. “But we’ve always failed to write intense, dramatic songs, and I think that’s how our sound is.”
For a group that formed in high school, however – living in four of Portland’s quadrants and taking the MAX one hour to rehearse, the members are now split between Portland and Eugene – intentional seems like exactly the right word to describe them.
Made up of singer Kalia Storer, guitarists Jack Havrilla and Carl Taylor, and drummer Kyle Kraft, the band met three years ago when they were in their sophomore and junior in high school. Havrilla, Taylor and Kraft met while performing in a King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard tribute show with School of Rock, Portland’s school of music. They asked Storer to join them after hearing her play bass and sing in one of the school’s rehearsal rooms.
Some of the members have bonded over their love for emo music and what they call “radio-friendly” indie rock like Death Cab for Cutie, Blink 182 and the Killers – the one band they all love is Joy Division. .
Growing Pains makes music that sits somewhere between emo and indie rock, a distinction they see as kind of a happy accident. Sometimes the band does pop pop and jangly rock, while other songs are fueled by harsh guitar riffs. But almost always their songs have big, bright choruses that give you an endless feel: like driving fast through a tunnel or staring at a star and spinning around until you fall.
“I think it worked to our advantage,” Kraft says. “We don’t fit that mold at all of being an absolutely emo band or absolutely an indie band. I think we fall right in between, and I think that’s one of our strengths in the sense that it’s not too much of a thing, and from that we are able to create our own. style.
Then the band have a music video coming out soon for their song “Houseboat”. But most of all, they’re excited to start playing live shows again, which they believe are crucial to their songwriting practice.
“We weren’t able to write a lot of new music, because in the past we wrote songs by having a draft and then playing them live and seeing what was left,” says Taylor. “We would play it like 20 times live. It is sometimes difficult to trust your own judgment.
“I think with the live shows,” Kraft adds, “it will be easy for us to go back to songwriting mode again. “