Artist: Emerald Portal
Single: "All The Running"
Tell us about your new single, “All The Running”? What is the meaning behind the song?
Initially, I had sent this song over to Brad in voice memo form as just the initial opening melody played on the piano, with the title "All the Running." I didn't know where it was going to go, but Brad took that feeling the melody gave combined with just that simple visual and sent back a great poem that seemed to encapsulate that familiar feeling about friends who come and go. Throughout our lives, people show up and can make huge differences, sometimes sticking around for the long run and sometimes vanishing off into their own adventures. The song ended up evolving into that idea with an optimistic outlook. Ultimately, people are always extending their hands to others to come join them on their adventures, and this song is about not being afraid to extend that offer to others, and to appreciate it when they accept. We discussed how easy it is to take these relationships for granted without appreciating their tangible effect on you. All of them help shape us over our lifetimes, so respect and treasure them, the good and the bad.
Who came up with the concept behind the music video? Can you explain it to us?
The director, Roger Liew, came up with the story based on the core theme of the song we'd discussed with him. The piece explores and highlights an appreciation for the simple things in life over the noise of modern culture. It’s about a father and son who struggle with certain aspects of city life, the father can’t concentrate on his work writing a song, and his son can’t see the stars and yearns to explore. They decide to go out into nature, set up a campsite and when the stars appear, the boy is filled with wonder - with this the father finds the inspiration to finish his guitar piece.
If you could tour with any three artists/bands, who would they be?
Radiohead, Radical Face, Cage The Elephant
What sparked your aural addiction?
Brad: I remember watching movies when I was young and whenever I saw a pair of lips move beside an ear to whisper some juicy nugget of information or some key words of seduction my ears would always perk up and I’d get goosebumps. Music is something that gives me that same sensation and if it doesn’t I strive to find or create it.
Thomas: Ever since I was young, my parents have been introducing me to all kinds of music, from classical, to musicals, to REM, the Eurythmics, The Police, etc. This combined with playing piano from the age of 5 definitely played a part in my appreciation for music. It wasn't until I started recording music in my freshman year of college that I really started to explore the vast landscape that audio could offer, ultimately turning my film production degree toward an emphasis in sound design. Exploring that kind of audio as well as the musical kind has really been an asset to me, but also has broadened my own tastes and appreciation for the whole process of the musical experience, from writing all the way to just sitting down and throwing on an album and doing nothing but listening and appreciating the adventure the artist is taking you on.
You both take turns singing, how do you decide who sings which song?
We've worked various ways, but we tend to like it to happen organically. If one of us writes a riff or progression without lyrics in mind, we'll send it to the other and see how it inspires them, and follow it down the rabbit hole. Other times, we will write lyrics/music separately and then bring each other songs and decide which voice would be right for the piece. Many times, whoever isn't singing lead will most likely add textural harmonies. At the end of the day, we do our best to flow with the tide and do whatever best suits the song.
Tell us a fun fact about each of you that not many people know.
Brad: If Shawshank Redemption is on, regardless of where it’s at in the film, what I’m doing or what plans I’ve made, I have to watch until it’s finished.
Thomas: My first language was French and so when we moved to the US and I started to learn English there was a period where I spoke an amalgam of the two. It's a pretty hilarious sight watching those old home movies of this little Asian kid of 2 or 3 years old babbling in half French and half English.
What’s next for Emerald Portal?
The plan is to play more shows, and keep writing/recording music. We tend to do a mix of writing one-off songs as they come into our brains while also writing a longer-term concept album that is a unified vision and theme. Right now we're writing our Ocean album, which is a kind of concept/musical/rock opera/score album based on many classic stories like The Odyssey mixed with various folk lore. The goal is to make the tone and movement appreciable without following the lyrics, but gains an extra layer of depth once you delve into lyrics, where you will gain a deeper understanding of the story, characters and themes. It's being written to work in tandem with a feature film of visuals, but will stand alone as an album as well.