Interview with Harpoon, the Whale
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
KR. I really think my grandmother got me into music! She gave me my first electric guitar and I'd always see her playing guitar and piano when we'd visit as a kid. If I hadn't gotten into music, I think I would have been a pro basketball player. That was about the only other thing I enjoyed as a kid!
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
KR. Right now I'm really getting into shooting videos and making live performance videos for my friends, which has been a huge help with creating our personal content! Other than that, I love building computers and playing PC games.
How long has your band been around?
KR. We've been around since 2012, so just over 10 years!
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
KR. We're based out of Laramie, Wyoming. We play a ton of small-town shows, which happen to be our favorites. The small Wyoming towns seem to really appreciate bands when they're coming through.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
KR. We were trying out a ton of different names and finally fell on Harpoon, the Whale. I've always loved nautical themes and having a whale named Harpoon be the band's name just gave me a ton of ideas to work with. It's also very easy to remember!
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
KR. Our most memorable show was in 2017, I believe. We played with a band called Alder Lights out of Billings, Montana at The Pub Station. The venue was packed, we were nervous, and all our best friends out of Wyoming came to see us! I told a really terrible joke on stage that nobody laughed at, I'll never forget!
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
KR. I love The Lyric in Fort Collins, Colorado! If you've never checked it out, it used to be an old movie theater and drive-in theater. They throw shows outside with 3 stages and have videos playing behind the bands when they play inside.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
KR. Tigers Jaw, Looming, Joyce Manor, and “Weird Al” Yankovic.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
KR. I see so many bands start a project and never finish it. I think it's super harmful to your self-esteem and musical ego to just never finish the things you start. I'd aim that towards my younger self, too. I would have these fun ideas that I'd never see to the end.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
KR. I wish I could tell myself to not be scared to work on my own. With writing songs or even just small content, I'm fully capable of taking on projects by myself.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
KR. GP, standing for “good problem,” really stands out to me. The song is about my struggles with and overcoming anxiety.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
KR. I really like playing the song ATS, standing for “All the Same.” I have a pretty tough guitar solo that is actually really fun to play! The song we get requested to play all the time is “Sorry About That.” It's from our first release in 2014.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
KR. Lately, I've been demoing songs by myself and sending those to my bandmates. The last song I wrote I recorded an acoustic video of myself playing and had the rest of the band learn it. It really depends on the song, but sometimes it can take me up to 3 years to finish a song. I hate the lyrics I write, so I'm always rewriting.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
KR. Most of my songs are about anxiety and dealing with relationships with anxiety. I hope some of our songs can help people cope with the struggles associated with anxiety or to help someone understand what other people go through with anxiety.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
KR. We oddly don't seem to have many disagreements between bandmates. Since 2018, I've been managing the band by myself and since I've been doing most of the work behind the scenes, nobody seems to get upset.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
KR. We're currently working on releasing our Holiday Special for December 19th! Other than that, we're trying to hop on some festivals and play more shows in 2023!