Provo electronic band Polytype had a rough go at it when it began performing
“We were still learning how to make electronic music, so our songs felt a bit unfinished at times,” said Mason Porter, 24, singer in the band. “We were also still getting used to playing live with computers. One show we had a pretty big problem with the computer and it almost scared us away entirely from doing electronic music.”
But they kept at it, and on June 4, the band officially released its debut album, “Basic//Complex,” In near-perfect timing, the quartet will perform at the Provo Rooftop Concert Series on June 7, with other artists Joshua James and Jay William Henderson.
Porter, Jared Price, 23, and Jason Gibby, 25, are from American Fork and graduated from American Fork High School. Guitarist Scott Haslam, 27, is from Bountiful and graduated from Viewmont High School. Mason graduated from BYU and Scott graduated from UVU, and Gibby and Price are students at UVU. Porter, along with singing, plays samplers, Gibby plays samplers and synthesizer, and Price plays bass and synthesizers.
Porter answered questions on behalf of the band to talk about their start, their goals, and the all-important question of where the band’s name came from.
How did you all learn to play music?
Gibby has a background as a jazz guitarist, studying jazz in college. Mason and Gibby had the same guitar teacher in junior high, but Gibby was a more diligent student. Mason learned a lot of his guitar playing and music theory from Gibby when they were in a band together during high school. Jared played bass in high school as well as French horn. Scott taught himself how to play guitar as a teenager. As far as electronic music goes, however, we’ve gone through a lot of trial and error. Making the album “Basic//Complex” was a big learning process and we learned a lot about making music along the way. Our producer Nate Pyfer was a big help throughout that process. And Mason and Gibby watched a lot of YouTube tutorials along the way.
Why does the band choose to reside in Utah?
Utah is home for all of us and home to our families, so that’s a major part of it. That’s probably the biggest aspect. But as far as being musicians, it helps that Provo is a very nurturing area for young bands. We’ve been fortunate to have found people who like our music enough to push us in the right directions and help us out or even to just share our stuff with their friends. It’s easier to stay motivated to create when there’s a community that actually cares about what you do. Provo has that kind of community — to us, at least.
What did you want to achieve with your music and recordings?
At this point, I think our main goal is to give listeners something fresh, something they can think about. In the end, we want our music to move people, hopefully to do something creative. Basically, we want people to get the same things from our music that we get when we listen to our favorite records. When I hear something new that resonates with me, I get anxious to start making music. I wonder how people got certain sounds or why a melody is so infectious and I want to try making it myself.
Do you have any exciting upcoming shows or notable past performances?
We had a couple of sellout shows earlier this year at Velour Live Music Gallery and we played a ... showcase in April at Muse Music Cafe. We’re playing at Provo’s Rooftop Concert Series in June with Joshua James and Jay William Henderson, and we’re really excited about that show. We’ve got a lot of other shows coming up this summer, including a West Coast tour in August. All show dates can be found at http://www.polytypemusic.com
Does being in Utah help or hinder a music career and aspirations?
There are pros and cons, like with anywhere else. There are always a lot of variables for each band. For us, we haven’t felt hindered at all by living in Utah. There are great resources in the area for making music. I mean, there are great studios in the area, like June Audio in Provo, and there are engineers and producers who know their stuff. The bottom line is, we’ve never felt limited in our music aspirations by being from Utah.
Describe a perfect day.
A day where you get enough time with family and friends, enough time making music, enough food and enough sleep. Usually you get too much of some of those things and not enough of the others.
Where does the band name come from?
The name Polytype was the result of a brainstorming session over Google Hangout while we were all at work. I think Gibby came across the term in some math literature. We wanted a name we felt we could make our own, so that when people hear it they only think of our music and nothing else. None of us had any kind of attachment to the word. It felt like something we could almost ascribe our own meaning to, so we chose it.
Would you rather go to a metal show or see the Symphony perform, and why?
I would prefer a symphony performance because I don’t know if I could handle a metal show, not just the sounds but the intensity and heaviness of it all. But I’ve never been to a metal show so maybe I’d like it just fine. I think the others in the band could go either way though.
Polytype’s album “Basic//Complex” will be available for purchase on June 4 at its website (http://www.music.polytypemusic.com). There are a few songs there already that can be downloaded or purchased.
Provo Rooftop Concert Series
Joshua James, Polytype, Jay William Henderson
When • Friday, June 7, at 7:30 p.m.
Where • On top of the Central Bank parking terrace, at the corner of 100 West and 100 North in Provo
Admission • Free