Music

Interview: Port Isla on supporting James Bay, festival plans and their new EP

If you’re looking for a band with the kind of enchanting harmonies and infectious melodies to soundtrack your summer, turn your attention to Port Isla.

The British quartet – Will Bloomfield (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Stanley Spilman (lead guitar), Willem Olenski (bass) and Henry Kilmister (drums) – made our ears perk up after supporting the likes of James Bay and George Ezra, so we caught up with Henry and Will to talk about their plans for the summer.

Read the full interview below…

For those who are discovering your band for the first time, where does the name come from?

“So Isla is a small village in northern Spain where Will, our lead singer, stayed on holiday once. He took loads of photos around the surrounding coast and harbours, and called one of them Port Isla. When he started making music with Stanley, he thought it made a great name for a band.”

You started out playing local gigs around Norfolk, what’s the local music scene like there?

“We really enjoyed the Norwich music scene when we were up there. It’s got some great small venues like the Birdcage and Bicycle Shop which we frequented a lot. The Arts Centre won the ‘best small venue in the country’ award this year, which was fully deserved. The bigger venues like the LCR and Waterfront attract loads of international artists too, so you get a nice spread of local talent and the big stars.”

You’re no strangers to great support slots either, what’re the real pinch yourself moments that come to mind during tours with the likes of George Ezra and James Bay?

“I think it’s always when you realise that you’re getting to play some of the most historic venues in the country. Playing the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire before James, or the Roundhouse with Kodaline. They were both amazing nights and very much pinch yourself moments!”

Port Isla Oslo London

If you could join any band on tour now, who would it be?

“Catfish and the Bottlemen look like they’re tearing up the country right now and playing some amazing venues. They seem like really nice guys as well, so to do some shows with them would be great.”

So when it comes to choosing support bands for your own headline shows, where do you start?

“It’s just done on whose music we’re into at the moment and who’s available for the show really! Usually it’s not too complicated.”

Festival season is upon us, have you got a busy summer ahead?

“Yeah, we start off with Live at Leeds in May, then have loads more festivals including The Great Escape, Barn on the Farm, Kendall Calling and Bushstock. We’ll be doing some writing and recording too, so plenty to keep us busy.”

Your new EP, A.L.I.V.E is released in May, how long have you been waiting to play the new songs live?

“We’ve actually been playing A.L.I.V.E for a while now and it seemed the obvious choice for our next single when it came to recording. It is nice to play in its fully formed version though. The other songs on the EP have been tried out a few times so they can fit into the setlist once the EP is out.

The new video features a skateboard and bicycle – are you quite a sporty bunch?

“I wouldn’t say we’re the sportiest people in the world. Our drummer Henry is a keen tennis player and we all like to swim and keep generally fit in the gym, but we’re not going to be winning any Olympic medals any time soon!”

Port Isla will headline London Oslo on 12 May, as well as appearing at The Great Escape Festival – book for both now at Ticketmaster.co.uk.

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