PORCH STOMP PRESENTS : Bears of Alaska
We're excited to present the newest video of the PORCH STOMP PRESENTS catalog (and for us, this is about as feel good as it gets)! Sean Ryan, Lauren Peters-Collaer and Maria DiFabbio have been seminal members of the Porch Stomp community since joining us in late 2015 as regular attendees to our events at the Haylaught. Together, they have undergone a myriad of personnel changes and constant evolution as writers and singers before eventually settling as their present 3 piece ensemble, calling themselves Bears of Alaska. They perform regularly at Porch Stomp events, including Porch Stomp 2016 and 2017, and have regularly attended our events at the Haylaught.
Bears of Alaska have cultivated an approach to songwriting that features rich lyricism, cleverly crafted orchestration, and unlike many of their contemporaries, a story-telling style that unravels slowly and with incredible maturity. Verbal turns bead along like honey through Lauren Peters-Collaer's dark, Florence Welch-ian voice, a timbre often augmented by the bright 3 part harmonies. This combination yields a familiar yet distinctive sound, often reminiscent of the feel-good sounds of 1970's AM radio, that invites the listener in casually only to entrance them with the incredible depth and brilliance of the story and imagery therein.
It's been incredible to watch the Bears of Alaska grow as both musicians and people in recent years. Here they are performing "Gloria" with special guests Graham Norwood on guitar and Lautaro Burgos on drums recorded live at Spaceworks Williamsburg by Beehive Productions.
Q&A with Lauren of Bears of Alaska:
When did you first start making music together and how was this project evolved over time?
We first started making music ever so casually in Sean’s apartment back in probably like… 2013. At first we would just play around, singing and recording some covers. Then we started getting a little more creative with arranging covers and making them a bit more of our own, then finally we moved on to writing and arranging our own songs.
Now when we write together, I usually write the words and map out the melodies, and Sean will write guitar parts and help arrange the changes. Then we’ll put the harmonies together with Maria DiFabbio which fleshes out the arrangements further, and SHABAMM… that’s how you get the Bears of Alaska.
Where do you draw inspiration for your lyrics and how do your respective musical backgrounds shape the way you write music today?
I listen to and draw inspiration from a lot of folk / singer songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, Anais Mitchell, Laura Marling, and Alynda Lee Segarra. Sean grew up listening to a lot of Dad Rock and likes to say that he’s a “melodic rhythm guitarist who’s really a drummer at heart.” I think the core of our music comes from mashing those two worlds together.
What are your favorite venues to play in NYC?
We love playing Pete’s Candy Store because it’s such an intimate venue and you really feel connected to the audience, i.e. it forces people to sit close to the stage so it never feels empty. We also love playing at our local neighborhood haunt, The Way Station.
How did you first get involved with the Porch Stomp community?
Our entrée to Porch Stomp universe happened by playing at shows-turned-jams thrown by Theo and Nick and going to bluegrass jams around the city.
Where can we find more of your music?
You can find us at bearsofalaska.bandcamp.com.
Special thanks to Jeff and Sue of Beehive Productions for making PORCH STOMP PRESENTS possible as well as Space Works for providing space and facilities for not only Porch Stomp Artists but artists and makers throughout New York City. Find out how to reserve your Space Works space today at https://spaceworksnyc.org/.