They’re Heading West — On the Hill Session
We love these guys! It was only by good luck (on our part) and good taste (on our friend’s part) that we ever crossed paths: They’re Heading West was booked by a musician friend of ours to play at Kettle Pot Tracks house show in September, 2014. It just so happened that this was their last performance of their US tour, and would be heading home the next day. Instead of cutting out after the show and hotel-ing it for the evening, they stayed with us and played this killer set the next morning. See? I told it was good luck!
When/why/how/where did They’re Heading West get started? That is to say, can you give us a comfortably-abridged bio?
Early in 2011 the four of us decided we should choose a few songs from our each other’s bands and try and play them as a new, extremely portable band – whose whole gear would fit in the trunk of a regular car –, and book a tour in North America. We were (and are) one another’s greatest fans, and it seemed a good excuse to play each other’s songs and travel together.
In order to raise money for the tour, we began playing once a month in the same venue in Lisbon, with different guests every time. Soon we began collaborating with most of those guests, rehearsing before the show so we’d play a few of their songs, and/or the other way around. That summer we managed to book a tour and spend two weeks traveling down the West Coast, from Vancouver to San Diego (we got a grant from a Portuguese performers association, the GDA).
We’d thought the band would be over as soon as we got back, as it was meant as an experiment – head west, play there, go back to our other bands. Of course we had such a incredibly wonderful time we couldn’t bring ourselves to end They’re Heading West. So we’ve went on play here so we save up and play abroad. We managed to go back in 2014, and through a lucky chain of events, got to meet you guys, along other kind and generous people.
Why did you choose these songs for On the Hill?
Those are songs we rarely do a show without playing, they’re some of our favorites, and hadn’t had a chance to have them filmed and recorded properly before. Also, we chose one for each of the three singer-songwriters in the band, so it’s a real sample of what we do.
What else is going on in your world? What’s next?
We’re finishing our first LP! It’s almost a “best of” of what we’ve been doing live every month, it features some songs of ours and some songs by other people, and it has many many wonderful guest performances. We recorded part of it in Anacortes (WA) when we were out on tour in September 2014, with Nicholas Wilbur at The Unknown (Mount Eerie’s studio), and we’ve been taping the rest over here. We’re really happy with the way it’s turning out, it comes out later this year. We’ve also resumed our monthly shows last month. Our first guest this year was The Weather Station, from Toronto, one of my favorite singer-songwriters, and it was a treat. Just yesterday we had Camané, one of the greatest fado singers that ever lived. (He’s actually going on a US tour in March, you should catch him if you can!)
Where can we see and hear more of you?
Our website, theyreheadingwest.com. One of the best things about is you can check a list of our previous guests (there’s around 30 artists there), which has links to their music. It’s a very good place to start if you want to get to hear what’s going on in Portugal music wise, in all kinds of genres. We’re very proud of that.
For some more photos of this beautiful group: https://www.flickr.com/photos/36189534@N08/sets/72157650613020850/