MTV “Artist to Watch” Priory Takes Inspiration from Weird Moments

Image Courtesy of Nick Walker On the heels of their energetic 2014 single "Weekend," Priory has been named one of MTV's "Artists to Watch" for 2015. Core members Brandon Rush and Kyle Sears developed Priory's sound in reaction to the music scene of their native Portland, Oregon. Instead of just copying the local folk-flavored sounds of local bands like The Decemberists and Blitzen Trapper, Rush and Sears set out to create a sound that was uniquely theirs.

"Our aesthetic was different than a lot of stuff, or, like 99 percent of stuff that comes out of Portland," Rush tells ABC News Radio, "and that was our own version of weird, based on the folk sound that had been happening there for so long.  We were like, 'We're going to do something completely different and that's completely ourselves.'"

Part of Priory's sound comes from Sears' never-ending search to find the right instruments, which he often encounters in thrift shops.

"There's always some kind of weird element that you can grab and it can inspire you for the day," Sears says. "I can't pass something in, like, a thrift shop or a music store...something that's a little off. You're like, 'I have to have it,' because it might inspire a new moment."

Spur-of-the-moment inspiration is a large part of Priory's songwriting method. As Rush tells ABC News Radio, in recording Priory's new full-length album, he and Sears would go to the studio with nothing more than a "sound palette" to work from. In fact, that process helped inspire the creation of "Weekend."

"I was in [the studio] messing around with the harmonizer effect on a bass guitar, and this harmony pattern came out, and Kyle yells from the other room, he's like, 'Hey! That thing right there,'" Rush remembers. "Immediately we set up the mics and recorded it, and that was the start of the song."

"You kind of have to trust your gut...those inspired moments, you can't lose," adds Sears, "'cause we have this weird thing that they might just be gone forever, so you want to get them down."

Priory's new full-length album, Need to Know, will be released in March.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.