Get to know local artists Those Willows

Mel Tarter and Jack Wells the songwriters of Portland band, Those Willows, took some time to talk the details on their upcoming LP and being compared to Simon and Garfunkel.


AW: So, you guys are originally from Detroit, Michigan. What drew you to Portland?


Those Willows: Yeah, we are from Detroit. We decided to move to Portland after graduating from college. The music scene is so incredible. We connected with Old Wave’s Adam Brock who welcomed us into the [Portland’s music] community. Within three days of being in Portland we got our first show, because of Adam. Adam is still a good friend of ours.


AW: When did Those Willows officially come together?


Those Willows: We [Jack Wells and Mel Tarter] formed Those Willows in 2007. We [Jack and Mel] are the songwriters. The whole band we have now came together in 2014. We added a bassist [Mike Grippi]  and drummer [Kirch Hertel]. They really complete the sound of our music.


AW: Where have you recorded your music?


Those Willows: Our first LP, Rivertown was recorded in Detroit. We recorded Existential Folks in our living room with Adam. Three Books was recorded at Mountain Air Studios.


AW: There’s an LP coming soon from you guys. How long have you guys been working on that?


Those Willows: We started working on it early March. It is finished now. We have a single release show at The Secret Society. We are going to be playing there with two other really awesome Portland acts, Tango Alpha Tango and Weezy Ford. That show is really going to be all about promoting the [upcoming] LP.


AW: Can you guys share a release date for the new LP?


Those Willows: The new album will be out in November.


AW: Where did you guys record the new album?


Those Willows: We [also] recorded it at Mountain Air Studios. The LP was produced by Adam Brock.


AW: Those Willows have been compared to Simon and Garfunkel, who are also one of your favorite acts, included in your A-Z. How do you guys feel about that?


Those Willows: They [Simon and Garfunkel] have great melodies and nice pop structure. If we get that huge of a comparison, it really doesn’t get much better than that. We actually thought about being them for Halloween. All we needed were turtleneck sweaters, I [Jack Wells] already have curly hair.


AW: How would you describe your sound?


Those Willows: We would say indie-pop. The new LP is a step up because there is a full band. We say indie-pop but we definitely have a lot of jazz chords in the new album. We are pretty fond of jazz. Detroit actually has a huge jazz scene.


AW: Those Willows is playing a show at the Portland Farmers Market coming up right?


Those Willows: Yes, August 21, 12-2pm. The farmers market is fun. It’s nice to be involved in the community. It will be a fun show to do. Our Secret Society show will be our bigger focus, promoting the new album.


Those Willows consists of Jack Wells (vocals and guitar), Mel Tarter (vocals), Mike Grippi (bass), and Kirch Hertel (drums).


Those Willows is set to tour in September. Tour dates below:


09.04.16 Tumbleweed Music Festival – Richland, WA

09.09.16 The Bird Stop – Boise, ID

09.10.16 Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT

09.11.16 Laughing Goat – Boulder, CO

09.12.16 The Walnut Room – Denver, CO

09.14.16 Firecreek – Flagstaff, AZ

09.15.16 The Merrow – San Diego, CA

09.16.16 Hotel Cafe –  Los Angeles, CA

09.18.16 Portland Single Release – Secret Society – Portland, OR

09.30.16 Pickled Fish – Long Beach, OR

10.01.16 Pickled Fish – Long Beach, OR


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