What is your name and role within the band?
My name is Breagh MacKinnon and I play keys and sing in Port Cities.
How did you start?
Carleton, Dylan and I met at a songwriting camp six years ago in Ingonish, Cape Breton. We were all performing as solo singer-songwriters when we met, and over the course of the past six years we started spending a lot of time playing in each other’s bands, recording on each other’s albums and writing together. A little over two years ago, we decided to combine forces and start a band.
Where are you based?
Dylan and myself are both based in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Carleton lives in Cape Breton.
Please give an example of your music writing process?
We all met through the process of co-writing, so naturally all the songs on our album are co-writes between the three of us and few collaborators who we work really well with. When we are co-writing, it often starts with a song title, or a chord progression, melody or lyric idea. We take the initial thread and try to flesh that out and see where it takes us.
What are you working on right now?
We are always working on new songs to add to the live show, but also starting to think about songs for our next record.
What is your gear setup?
Onstage I play a Nord Stage 2 keyboard, Carleton plays a Martin HD-28 acoustic guitar, and Dylan plays a Gretsch semi-hollow body.
What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?
I love being outdoors. Running, hiking or biking in the summer are some of my favourite things to do. I find being outside in a beautiful place really inspiring, and doing a repetitive activity really gives you time to think and come up with song titles and ideas.
How would you describe your music genre?
Roots-rock with a strong pop sensibility.
Do you know any music theory?
I have a theory background from studying classical piano growing up. I also did my undergraduate degree in jazz piano at St. Francis Xavier University.
What are your plans for the future?
We are always trying to keep writing better and better songs, and play our music for new/bigger audiences.
How did you get into music?
My dad played guitar and sang so I was always surrounded by music. All three of our families are really musical, so we all come from similar backgrounds.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I’ve been listening to a lot of top 40 pop music lately, but another new favourite is Leif Vollebekk from Ottawa. He’s an incredible songwriter, singer and piano player.
Who are your top 5 influences and icons?
Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Gordie Sampson and Drake.
When are you playing next?
We are playing a show at the Lunenburg Opera House this Saturdayin Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, followed by festivals and shows in Canada all summer. We head back to Europe in September for shows in Germany and the U.K.