By Eli Bolan
Growing Pains is one of the shining members of the next generation of a long history of excellent emo music in Portland. I was privileged enough to interview them the day before their debut album, “Heaven Spots” came out and they discussed the process of recording an album during a pandemic, some of their favorite pre-covid shows, influences for the album, and much much more.
KLC: New album coming out tomorrow, I'm very excited to hear it. How are you guys feeling about the debut album being so close to happening?
Kalia: We're super hyped up.
Carl: It's a bit of a bummer release now on a Friday night and not playing any release shows or anything.
KLC: How long has the album been worked on for?
Kyle: Probably three years is when we started writing some of these songs, like the last song on the album was the first one that we started working on, actually, like as a band. Like it started with just me and Jack. That was just me and Jack working on that together. And then Carl got introduced to the band and then Kalia got introduced to the band. And so that's how that came together. And that was just like, "that's going to be the last song", the album that we already released as a single. It's called "Sancho".
Jack: Took Forever to make that one.
Kalia: That's been brewing for like a long time.
Carl: It took three Years to write that instrumental. And then we wrote the final lyrics like The Day of.
Kyle: I think for the rest of the album it kind of just came together. I would say mainly in 2019 is when we did most of the work on the rest of the songs on the album. For actual studio time, like we just kind of thing that out the summer in like July and June and it, it's cool to see it come together.
KLC: Were there any records that you were looking at or listening to for inspiration for the production side of things?
Carl: I remember we all listened to like a bunch of really different shit. At the time of recording, I was like super, super into Frank Ocean and super into The Strokes. So there's kind of an interesting contrast between that since, like, Frank is super maximalist and The Strokes are very minimal and lo fi. So I kind of wanted to find the balance of, "how far can we go with still having songs be pure and kind of sound DIY", if that makes sense.
KLC: How long were you guys in the studio for? I know that some artists go in and finish an album in 2 days, and others months, tell me about that.
Kyle: Yeah. Ours was a seven day studio time. It started out with six and then we needed to rewrite vocals for one of the songs on the final day, but the time was pretty spread out.
Carl: Yeah, we had seven days over like three weeks. So we were there two days and then we would look at some of the mixes a little closer. And that was like because of corona restrictions, just since we didn't want to be in the studio for seven days straight. But it was also kind of nice since we could record stuff and then go home and like, listen to it and see what it needed and all that.
KLC: Were you guys like getting mixes at the end of the day and then coming back and being like, oh, what can we change on it for the next day?
Kalia: It was a lot of drafting and tweaking a bunch of times back and forth.
Kyle: Yeah, Edwin [producer] did a really great job. He was really open for that type of just back and forth texting about like mixes and new things to be added. He was super open to us experimenting, so like it was cool that we got the opportunity to do that. Being able to space out the recording was really nice so that we could listen back on what we had done and be like, "oh, that was cool, but like let's not do that part" and be able to add to it after already hearing the foundation of the song.
KLC: I wanted to ask you guys about what each one of your favorite shows that you've played before the coronavirus was.
Kalia: So I have two. First one that I like to talk about when people ask me about Growing Pains is our Blink-182 cover set at the Fail House. That was probably one of the best nights of my life, it was so sick and super nostalgic for like everybody in the crowd too, the energy was insane. That was really good. And then I think my favorite show that we've played of our own music was the last show we played before Corona, which was the Eugene Show at the 502. That was really good because we played "Houseboat" for the first time and I just finished writing the lyrics that day.
Carl: I think that Blink-182 show is really special because we wrote "Houseboat" after that show. I think my favorite show we did was at this place called the Rat Kingdom with Fox Academy.
Jack: I was gonna say, that was such a good show.
Carl: I met their live guitarist at a house party like three months before, and I was totally freaking out when I met him. And then I was like, "OK, guys, we have to play a show with Fox Academy.". So I just kept on DM'ing them until they were like, "yeah, sure, we'll play." It was really fun. We also played with Laundry, who we ended up becoming really tight with.
Kyle: I would say that the Laundry/Fox Academy show too. That was the most people I've played to at a house show. A bunch of my friends came and they just got turned away. Like they couldn't even come in because it was so packed.
Kalia: That was actually such a good night.
Jack: Yeah. I was probably going to say the same show. Just a great crowd, big crowd. I had like a lot of people from like earlier in my life that didn't know me as a music person. They came out to that show and it was a really cool experience to come out and be like "We're Growing Pains!" and play a cool set in front of a lot of people and stuff.
Carl: Yeah, it was so fun. We love Fox Academy and they're very nice people.
KLC: What's next for Growing Pains after the album is said and done?
Kyle: That's the question we've all been asking.
Jack: Just begin writing.
Kyle: Right now we're kind of split up because me and Carl are students at U of O, and so we're living in Eugene in the dorms, so I have no drums. Yeah. And then Jack is about to move to Eugene and then Kalia is just off in Portland, which I respect. We've just been kind of split up a little bit, so we haven't really had the chance to jam and actually work on this stuff since the album is finished.
Kalia: Lots of ideas though, like lots and lots.
Kyle: And I think we're all sitting on ideas from Quarantine and working little things individually so that once we're back in like a band format we can really share those ideas.
Carl: We don't want to rush anything, But I think it'd be cool to make some one off songs or put some singles out.
“Heaven Spots” is out on all streaming platforms 10/22.