What I Learned at Bandcamp: Harrison Fjord
Chandler-based Harrison Fjord formed in 2013 and consists of Mario Yniguez, Jon Sheldon, Kevin Mandzuk, Matt Storto, Jacob Lipp, Taylor Morriss and Dallin Gonzales. Many of the members have played in different bands together dating back to junior high school.
On Thursday, April 23 and Friday, April 24, Harrison Fjord will open for classical musician Alpin Hong at the Musical Instrument Museum. The group will also serve as Hong’s backing band during his set.
Below, read The Spec‘s interview with Harrison Fjord members…
Tell us a little about yourselves…
Dallin Gonzalez: I think it’s important to note that we are first: the coolest guys you’ve ever met; second: musical in every sense that we can hope to be; and third: real dudes who want nothing but the best for each other, for the world, and for the future of music.
Matt Storto: We’re a combination of big personalities in a tiny room making loud noises.
How long have you been making music?
DG: This band has been years in the making. It has birthed from a web of relationships that began to develop when some of us were only in junior high. From there, high school choir became the biggest facet for what would later become more intense musical collaboration. Some of our members have been in bands or musical groups together before, and we believe that Harrison Fjord will become the product that we have all been subconsciously working towards.
Who/what are your influences?
DG: It’s almost too easy and too difficult to mark our most profound influences. But speaking primarily for myself first and than for the band: Paul Simon, George Harrison, Eric Whitacre, Fleet Foxes, Frank Ocean, The Dear Hunter, Daft Punk, Kanye West, Regina Spektor, Dave Grohl and Jamiroquai, would be some very relevant influences. It’s also important to understand the influence that barbershop music has had on the way that we write and perform vocals. We have Lori Lyford to thank for that, and we would all consider her a major influence.
MS: Radiohead, Pat Metheny, Arcade Fire, Snarky Puppy, and Miles Davis.
Mario Yiguez: I would say that a mixtape with what describes me as a human would have a capella music (barbershop or choral), a Sondheim musical, psychedelic fusion, some really intense Latin, and melodic death metal.
What is your favorite song you’ve released and why?
DG: My personal favorite song of ours would have to be “Approximately 906 miles” due to the epic fullness with which it delivers an undeniably emotional vibe.
MS: Personally, “How You Been?.” That song is such a wavelength that we really have only gotten on once when writing it. It’s a near and dear song and our best effort thus far.
MY: “How You Been?” is my favorite song that we have written.
Upcoming projects, where do you want to go from here?
DG: Our plans are first and foremost to record and release quality tracks for the general public, and to gig as much as we can. We wish to tour extensively, and soon if possible. We’re very excited and optimistic for what our future holds. We will not let our fans down.
MS: I’m really hoping for a cooking show with Martha Stewart.
MY: I want to continue with Harrison Fjord, but I will be starting an east valley-based a capella youth chorus for the summer.
What are you most looking forward to about playing MIM?
DG: We are looking forward to playing with a musician who we have looked up to and admired for years in classical pianist Alpin Hong. We are also thrilled to be featured on the bill for a show at one of the most impressive venues in the state of Arizona. It is thrilling to face what we would collectively consider the most professional and exciting performance of our career thus far. Also, we are astonished at the support and anticipation displayed by our fans for this show. We truly believe it will be the experience of a lifetime and a landmark at the beginning of what we wish to be a productive and extensive career as a band.
MS: The acoustics; I’ve never been inside of the place and that’s so exciting. It’s like entering a new relationship with somebody. You don’t know who this person truly is or what their quirks are. You just have this vague concept of what they are. I can’t wait to get to know the place for two nights.
MY: I am Incredibly excited about the MIM to share with the world what we have had the time to fuse and toil over.
How did you get connected with Alpin Hong and set up to play as his backing band?
MY: I initially had met Alpin because he was doing work with our high school music program (Chandler High School) because he was performing at the Chandler Center for the Arts three years ago. I had the pleasure of jamming with him and a friend of mine Alex Dorr (who actually wrote a piece that Alpin will be debuting at the MIM). Then in January of this year, on a whim, I went to the his next show at the Chandler Center for the Arts. He put on a killer performance and after the show I approached him and asked him to come over and jam and catch up. He came over and brought everyone In-N-Out, listened to our band and freaked out about it and told us he wanted us to play with him. It was not ever supposed to be like a backing band, it was always a collaboration. A musical fusion.
If you could no longer be a musician, what would you be or do for a living?
DG: If I personally stopped pursuing musical performance, I would likely find myself somewhere else in the music industry, but my dream field would have to be architecture.
MS: Cutting Bruce Willis‘ hair.
MY: I would love to teach theater or go more in depth into my luthiery and woodworking craft.
What musicians or bands do you look up to?
DG: We look up to the artists and musicians who have personally impacted us first: Lori Lyford, Alpin Hong, and everyone else who has educated and assisted us musically throughout the years. I personally admire local bands who have set a very good example for us: Bogan Via, Captain Squeegee, Jared & the Mill. If there was an artist that we wished to emulate musically, we are all thoroughly impressed by the vibrant fusion created by Snarky Puppy.
MS: Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Grimes, and ROAR.
MY: I am very much inspired by Pat Metheny, Stephen SonDheim, Bobby Mcferrin, Roomful of Teeth, Dave Grohl, Foxy Shazam, Frank Ocean, Johnny Cash, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Why do you make music?
DG: We make music in thanks for what music has done for us. It can be deeply personal but also mean many different things to many different people. We want to send good vibes while we strive to innovate and amend traditional approaches to creating and delivering music. We make music because music is what makes us.
MS: Because it’s super sexy.
MY: I make music because I have to. Because it is what I think about only.
Anything else you’d like readers to know that we haven’t asked you about?
DG: If you or anyone you know happens to be connected to Harrison Ford, please tell him about us. Also, we ask to be represented by the number 67, whose arbitrary association to our music will hopefully remain a staple of our character.
MS: Get me out of this band. They poke me with a cattle prod every time I get a note wrong. Send help.
MY: The band is largely originated and perpetuated by barbershop singing. Also, There are probably about 50 friends that are attached to a giant cult-like circle of musicians, artists, and friends directly associated with our band.