A Conversation with Santa Barbara’s exPorter
Brothers Alec and Destin have been making music together long before they formed their high energy alternative rock band, exPorter.
Inspired by late-90’s pop-punk, 80’s Brit punk, and a pinch of SoCal surf rock, exPorter balances emotional angst with vivid introspective vibes, the intimacy of modern bedroom rock with grandiose dreams of packed stadiums. Their music sounds fresh off the Warped Tour stage, though their musical roots can be traced to an unexpected source.
“We’d play Guitar Hero in our garage and our dad said ‘if you guys are going to play Guitar Hero, you actually have to learn how to play instruments.’”
After picking up guitar and bass in high school, the two independently played in different bands with friends before coming together to start their own. Destin notes that their chemistry was unmistakable from the jump, eventually forming a trio with their friend/drummer, Kish.
“Once we started playing shows together, we realized this really clicks, we have good energy together. We had a two frontman dynamic that we really vibed with.”
Both Alec and Destin share the lead vocal duties, alternating with who writes a given song while the other provides backing vocals. Hearing the lyrics sung by the writer allows the listener to feel more of the raw emotion that inspired the song, creating an authentic experience that lets the listener form a deeper connection. Prior to the pandemic, exPorter regularly performed live at local venues including Jensen Guitar & Music Co. and SOhO Restaurant & Music Club.
“Right before the lockdown started, we had a show that was scheduled for two days [later] at Santa Barbara Jam Sandwich with a whole bunch of other local bands. We had some other shows planned in the summertime and it all just went downhill.”
Though the pandemic took a toll on their live show schedule, quarantine actually had its fair share of benefits for the brothers. Prior to the pandemic, Alec and Destin were living in different cities and were forced to work on their own a lot, only bringing material together when they were in the same town. The pandemic forced Destin to move back closer to their home, leading to many more collaborative opportunities.
“With us being in the same city – in the same house for a while – [quarantine] really gave us an opportunity to constantly work on new stuff. We could sit down and work it out in the afternoon rather than having to take months apart in between [recording].”
Quarantine also saw a shift in their recording process. On their 2019 project Bored, the group worked with a producer at Made for More Studios to guide the songs in a certain direction, whereas their 2020 project Safe and Sounds was recorded and produced independently in Alec’s bedroom. The brothers note that quarantine made the process from writing to recording much quicker, allowing them to increase their output of songs and other content.
Alec and Destin seem to never be at a loss for inspiration or creativity. When it came time to craft a music video for their song “Carsick,” they made the interesting choice of directing a stop motion film starring clay figures of themselves. The initial idea was birthed “when quarantine started, it was our dad’s idea… he’d always wanted to do a stop motion video and we were going to be in the house for a while,” says Alec. The video, like Safe and Sounds, has an authentic DIY feel to it, allowing exPorter to boldly stand out amidst other bands.
Most recently, the group released a quirky, skeleton-filled video for their song “Feel Good,” as well as an outdoor performance at the Santa Barbara Mission. The intimate set features covers of songs by some of exPorter’s biggest influences like blink-182 and The Smiths, as well as a trio of exPorter originals.
As far as what’s next for exPorter, they plan on shooting a new music video within weeks and will be hitting the studio to record several songs they wrote during quarantine. Keep an eye out for new content from exPorter coming soon!