It’s been three years since Growing Pains, a band local to both Portland and Eugene, released its first full length album Heaven Spots. Since then the band was named one of Willamette Week’s best new bands of 2021 and opened for iconic indie rocker Franz Ferdinand in Portland.
Growing Pains now returns to the Wow Hall Friday, Feb. 17 to support the release of its new EP, Thought I Heard Your Car. The band says this five-song EP, coming to streaming platforms on Friday, brings a different approach to songwriting that emphasizes production. The group also says upcoming release shows in Eugene and Portland will feature new exciting elements to better capture production-based songs.
“We really wanted to expand on what we’d already done and kind of take some of those bigger song experiences and make them more production-based,” says drummer Kyle Craft.
One of the production techniques utilized throughout the EP is sampling — reusing a sound, often from another song. For Growing Pains, some samples included a tornado siren and the voice of frontwoman and bassist Kalia Stoerer’s grandmother.
The group also took production inspiration from singer-songwriter Elliott Smith and double tracked the vocals, hard panning each track to create a dreamy chorus stereo sound. In Taylor’s words, this is like “having a Kalia in each ear.” Smith was known for this production technique.
While recording the EP, the band took more time focusing on using new sounds and production techniques to create the sonic experience it wanted, sending ideas back-and-forth with producer Nathan Tucker for months. Although he currently lives in Philadelphia, Tucker met the group through the Portland music scene.
Tucker returned to Oregon for three months last summer, when the band recorded the EP using a combination of studio time, bedrooms and closets. Taylor says recording in home spaces, away from a professional studio environment, allowed Growing Pains to feel more comfortable exploring new ideas.
“We had a lot of freedom in the sense we could try ideas and then be like, ‘OK, this sucks,’” Taylor says. “We didn’t feel a pressure to have every idea be a permanent one.”
Given the EP’s focus on production, many of the new songs will be a challenge to re-create live. But the band has some ideas for that, including electric drum kit sample pads and bringing guest musicians on stage to help re-create the layers of instrumentals in the songs. Other ideas include creating ambient noises to replace dead air during song transitions and stage visuals.
Growing Pains members say they have the overall consensus that Thought I Heard Your Car showcases their best work. With new songs, sounds and performance tricks, the EP’s first release show on Friday is sure to satisfy your live music craving.
“We’re really excited about this release and the shows that go with it,” Craft says, “and we just want to be able to celebrate with everyone who’s come out to see us and taken the time to listen to our music.”
Growing Pains holds its EP release show at WOW Hall, supported by Candy Picnic and Simpleton Friday, Feb. 17. Doors at 7 pm, show at 8 pm. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 day of show. Thought I Heard Your Car will be available on all streaming platforms on Feb. 17.