interview: Porklord

words: Sean Deveney

There is not a plethora of opportunities to go to shows in Central PA, but the ones that do happen often feel quite special. One band I saw multiple times all over the area before moving was Pork Lord from Harrisburg. From the first time I saw them, I was pulled in by their strangely catchy melodies mixed with aggressive punk, and I always wanted to know more about them.

Listening to their songs, it is clear there is plenty of meaning behind them, and I thought it would be cool to give them a chance to elaborate. I was able to exchange emails with Lily, the lead vocalist and find out more about how who they are.

If you are interested, I would highly recommend checking out their self-titled EP on bandcamp. You should also be on the lookout for some new music in the near future including a song out this month called “GRL PWR shirt from forever 21.”

The Grey Estates: Just to start, how did you begin making music and come together as a band?

 Pork Lord actually had an interesting start. The first time I ever started writing music was with our former guitarist Dalton Rhone. We called the two man project GUTS, and it was a more emo, Death Cab for Cutie/Hop Along style of music. We wrote three songs together and a month later, we brought Erika Shellhammer (Bass) and Andrew Jay (Drums) into the project, later on after Dalton left to do some traveling, Travis Gibberson joined. That's how Pork Lord was born. 

 How did you develop and settle on the approach to making music that you have now? How would you describe that approach?

 The way in which we tackle song writing can honestly vary. I spend a lot of time writing, so in most occasions I show the guys what I've got and try to explain the sound I have in my head. Often times Erika and I will get together and work on a harmony, and give it a bass line. 

You have a self-titled EP up on Bandcamp. Can you talk about what those songs mean to you and what they are about? What sort of themes do you like to focus on and why?

Oh man that's a hard one. When I think about those four songs in specific I think about my childhood, growing up in Puerto Rico and the troubles that followed me into the United States. The song “Nosotros” specifically talks about what it is like to grow up in a country that is a colony of the U.S. then moving to America. The more I began to understand the way the government worked, I began to realize how much the U.S. government was stealing from my people back home. While at the same time making us, not only Puerto Ricans, all people of color feel inferior. One of the first lines in “Nosotros” is “Afuera con like ira es la sangre de nosotros. Tú no tienes la culpa” which roughly translates to “Out with tyranny this is our blood. This isn't your fault.” The second song in the EP is “Abundance of Blue,” the first song that Rikki (Erika) and I wrote together. We had both gone through a similar experience before, in which we dated drug addicts. Abundance talks about the emotional toll it takes on you, and also movin on. “Sweetheart” discusses cat calling, misogyny and slut shaming. It also goes into how society wants to keep women from expressing themselves sexually, and not talking about it. That why I used the line “I'm not yours, I'm not your princess, I'm just a whore.” And lastly “Moonlight.” I love this song because I was so pissed over a boy when I wrote it, and it's humorous looking back at it now. Plus it's a good reminder to women, and female identifying people, that they are no one’s fucking puppy on a leash. 

 What are your thoughts on the current state of DIY shows/music? Are there any specific positive and/or negative aspects you want to talk about?

The current state of the DIY scene is okay. Nothing less or more. Just okay. I think we could do a lot better job at trying to be more inclusive of our fellow POC members and especially women of color. A lot of our songs are aimed specifically for Hispanic women, I want to make them feel welcome in the community and give them understanding. I grew up going to The Champ, always felt excluded and unrelateable, it's time to get rid of that. And that's our goal as a band. A positive aspect of it has been the midtown community, my neighbors and coworkers at Little Amps have made it so easy for me to express myself creatively, and be welcomed into the music scene. The community is small but it feels like family. I've seen people travel out of Harrisburg just to come to one of our shows. It's humbling. 

 Do you have any short-term or long-term plans for the band?

We’re still working on merch and new music, we’ll be releasing a new song next month titled GRL PWR shirt from Forever 21. It’s talks about the privilege of being part of a movement because of superficial reasons rather than the overall ethics.