Ex Porter interview 01.04.23
MM:Can you tell us about your Band and whos your biggest influences
Destin Cavazos: exPorter is a 3-piece alternative rock group out of SoCal. I tell people it’s pop-
punk meets emo meets alt rock and I think that’s a pretty good fit. We grew up in Santa Barbara
and Alec and I started taking lessons when we were kids, I think Henry started with drums early
on too. I started with bass and Alec was on guitar and then we got to the point where we thought
maybe we could form a band. We started playing around with different drummers and different
names and finally gelled with this lineup right after Henry came on board. That was in 2018.
Alec Cavazos: We were first called “adj.” (adjective) with our family friend Jessica on drums.
Then we became “Porter” when Jess left for school and our friend Owen played drums. Porter
was named after the Smiths first producer John Porter – there was a Smiths documentary our
dad saw and we all sort of liked the name.
DC: Cool name! Our uncle is a graphic designer and he came up with a cool logo and an icon
guy we like to call “Porty”.
AC: Then Owen also left for school and we found Henry to play drums. I knew him from playing
baseball as a kid and we had this gig that we needed someone to play drums. We knew he
played drums so he jumped on. We had 1 rehearsal I think and played the show. It was his first
time playing in front of people but he was great. So we asked him to play drums and changed
our name to “exPorter” cause there was already a band called Porter out of Mexico and we
didn’t want to get sued.
DC: The Mexico Porter was actually on tour with Morrissey who obviously was the lead singer
for the Smiths so it was all pretty much destiny to become exPorter I think. We have kept Porty
as our icon though and you can find him on stickers or shirts, our banner for shows.
AC: As a band, I think our main influences, and what we draw from, are the pop punk bands of
the 90s; Blink 182, Green Day, Lagwagon, Weezer, those guys for sure. But when you dissect a
lot of our songs, all three of us bring our own backgrounds that range from 80s brit-pop to new
hardcore. I know Henry is a huge Who fan and I know that shows from his stuff.
Henry Kish: The Who was one of the first bands I remember hearing and they are definitely a
strong inspiration for me. Lately I’ve been really liking Turnstile and Fleet Foxes which give me a
nice spectrum of influences.
DC: I think we play a pretty broad scope of music but I think more than anything our sound is
inspired by 90’s, early 2000’s pop-punk for sure. Bands like blink-182 and New Found Glory,
those guys were huge influences on us. That whole era of Warped Tour rock and roll made a
massive impact. But I also listened to a lot of 80’s stuff too that I think makes it’s way in to our
sound. Crowded House was on all the time growing up because our dad’s like their biggest fan.
I know a lot of people maybe recognize “Don’t Dream it’s Over”, but I had the chance to be
exposed to their whole catalog at such a young age, I think it really shaped a lot of how I relate
to music, even now.
MM: Where do you draw your inspirations and ideas from
HK: I’m going to stick with the Who inspiration, I think my drum parts are inspired by Keith
DC: I’m a big reader, so a lot of my inspiration comes from books and stories I’ve read over the
years. Everything from Stephen King to Twilight to Shakespeare, there’s always something
interesting that you can begin to explore outside of the narrative. Same thing with movies, I’m
really drawn to the kind of imagery and themes woven into all the A24 movies coming out these
days. I’m just really into storytelling, so I definitely try to translate that into how we convey ideas
in our music.
AC: I know my inspiration in songwriting comes from one - stuff I listen to, listening to my
favorite bands Blink, Modern Baseball, etc, and hearing something cool in there. Knowing I can
do that too with a guitar lick or a melody. And then two, on a more personal level, inspiration
comes from my daily life whether that’s falling in love, break ups, the cute puppy I saw
yesterday; I don’t know if there’s a limit but those things that capture my mind will find their way
into my songs.
MM: What would you say is your Bands favourite song ?
HK: Off “NoBrakes” Sister Cities is probably my favorite and one I'm most proud of. It was one
of the last additions to the album and I love how all the parts worked out. But “Carsick” is
always getting requested. We call that our “hit” song
DC: My favorite song we’ve written is probably “Nightmare”, just because it’s pretty unique from
our normal brand of fast-paced pop punk. The guitar is pretty stripped down so the focus is
really on the lyrics, I think it’s something really nice and intimate. Off of the album, though, I’d
have to pick “Retrograde” as the top track. It’s pure pop punk, I think it’s a great way to kick
everything off full speed.
AC: It’s hard to pick a favorite for me, cause they all mean a lot to us...and they change in terms
of how long they’ve been off the set list, what type of show it is or stuff like that. But right now,
with our debut album (NoBrakesNoBrakesNoBrakes) we seem to have a lot of fun together
playing the new stuff, I’d say “Sister Cities” or “Retrograde” have been the most fun though so
far! And all time favorite at least in what people ask, “Carsick” is up there for sure. It was our first
song ever on the radio and I remember how cool it was to have people singing it back during
shows, “like holy crap, they’re singing our song!”
MM: Plans tour and festival wise for 2023
AC: With NoBrakes just coming out last year, we’re still trying to get out there and support the
album. We have some shows coming up this month in California but we’re planning a bunch of
Summer shows on a tour of the Western US. We’ve toured up and down California but this will
be our first time heading out to other states so we’re pretty stoked about that.
DC: We love playing live but we were focused on getting the album out so we would have
something to tour about. It’s been out for about a year and we’ve done shows to support it but
we’re finally able to all be on the road together.
MM: What can we expect from exPorter live
HK: I’ve used bombastic and fun to describe our band and I think that applies to our live shows.
Our shows are energetic and we like to get people moving.
DC: exPorter live can be insane. We bring a ton of energy to our performances so I think people
can expect to be on their feet and dancing at our shows. Anyone who’s got a love for pop punk
is going to find some nostalgia jumping around in the pit to our songs. I just love how it feels to
see and hear live music, how the fans and the band are all having fun together, so that’s
something I try to replicate when I’m on stage.
AC: Yeah I think exPorter brings good energy. And that’s not just coming from us...we’ve heard
from folks that come see us that we seem to be pretty energetic up there. I still remember this
time Destin got so pumped that he ran to jump right past me and almost ripped his cord right out
of his bass...classic. I’m usually the one that gets sick air on my jumps but Destin was up there.
We bring the heat for the audience to try and get them pumped up with us. We want to see the
moshing we want to see the jumping.
MM: What do you like best and worst abt touring
HK: The crowd and energy is always cool.
DC: My favorite part of touring is exploring different scenes as a band. We always try to get out
and see the area a little when we’re on tour, and it’s always nice to get to play for different
groups of people. It’s hard work to be on tour, though, there’s a lot of running around involved
and then you’re having to bring big energy out on stage, doing that again and again isn’t easy.
But at least we’re all in this together, and in the end you know it’s all worth it. A good crowd
really gives a lot back to you.
AC: Playing for someone who might never have heard us is always pretty exciting. Having
people come up to the stage to check us out or come up after and say shit, you guys were good
is always amazing to me. The drives can be fun but also brutal. Having to drive for six hours
then play a show can be tough but when you have a good crowd, that lets you know your hard
work is paying off and all worth it!
MM: Which three Bands would be your ultimate touring buddies
HK: Turnstile, Title Fight, and King Gizzard are my three right now.
AC: My dream bands to play with and travel with would be Blink 182, Joyce Manor and Modern
Baseball; Although with Blink and Turnstile doing one of the biggest shows in the world this year,
I think that’s the lineup. Blink and early pop-punk has been a huge influence on us and Turnstile
is one of Henry’s favorite bands right now so it seems right don’t you think?
DC: Yeah with Blink getting back together and Turnstile on the road with us plus one other band
would be pretty cool.
I also think heading on tour with Charly Bliss, Bad Suns, and Weezer would be one of smy
dream lineup. Those kinds of vibes would just scream “summer rock show you never forget”.
MM: What's the most memorable concert you've been to (other than your own) and why
DC: I I got to see Andrew McMahon for like the zillionth time and it ended up being pretty
special; I’ve been a fan of his since the Something Corporate days, he’s definitely someone I
look up to musically so anytime I get to see him is great, but he closed out this set by bringing
out his daughter Cecilia to sing “Cecilia and the Satellite” with him. It was so sweet to be able to
share in that cool onstage moment, with everyone in the crowd singing along to the song he
wrote for her, you could really feel the love. I definitely cried.
AC: Well there is a tie for first, the first time I saw Tom Delonge with Angels and Airwaves in
2012, definitely means a lot to me. Tom is my idol and is the main reason I even took up guitar
and they were playing this super cool venue that’s not around anymore. I was a kid so I don’t
remember the whole show but I know it’s a huge show for me. I also saw Blink 182 in 2013
when I was at the way back of the Santa Barbara bowl. Both were a dream come true and I
probably cried a little.
DC: Yeah, the Blink show was a game changer for Alec. It was a show that included Atlas
Genius and New Politics. We had a friend that knew the New Politics dudes so we had been
hooked up to go back stage to meet them but the local radio station also for some reason took
us back to meet Atlas Genius. I think we were just at the right spot at the right time. Anyway, we
thought we were going to get to meet Blink too and just as we were about to go back the guy
told us we couldn’t go. Totally lame and Alec was crushed, I mean he was a kid an all but it was
Tom Delonge his hero and it was all ripped away...what sucked the most was when you saw
who they did take back you could totally tell they didn’t even really care and here’s little Alec left
behind. We joke about it still.
AC: Yeah, that totally sucked and I for sure was crying. There was an article on us that just went
out about “That time I cried at a Blink show” and I don’ t think it was really clear that I was just a
kid....for the record I was a kid. But I know I definitely cried after meeting and seeing him in
2019 and probably would today.
Other than Tom or Blink shows, I think being on stage for Neck Deep at Warped tour one year
was awesome too - those are my most memorable shows.
MM: What do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment so far
HK: Since I've been playing the drums, being a professional musician has always been my
dream. I’m performing live, recording, and that’s been pretty cool.
DC: I think hearing our first song on radio (Carsick) stands out for sure. It was on our local radio
station and it was pretty surreal. Our mom was crying...lot of music related crying in the
Cavazos family. We had that same feeling when we were on vacation and we’d learned that
“Elizabeth” was played on station outside of California. Shout out to KJEE in Santa Barbara and
Alt 107.9 in Tuscaloosa! Actually, the show it was on at 107.9 just ended its run and our current
single, “Lusitania” was on that last show. The DJ Monk said some really cool things about us
which was pretty special.
I also think getting to open for Hinds was a pretty big step for us. We were hit up like a week
before the show and I love Hinds....Henry was out of state and we flew him out just for that
show. I saw them a couple days later at Outsidelands and thought, hey, we just opened for
AC: Lusitania was also just on the Rodney Bingenheimer in The Underground Garage show a
few weeks ago which was pretty huge for exPorter. Like we said, we all grew up in Southern
California and Rodney on the Rock is a legend. When you see all the bands that he has
introduced or featured on his shows, it’s pretty cool to be a part of that.
Another thing that stands out for me was being able to raise $2500 for our local guitar shop
through a mini documentary and live ep! We grew up at Jensen’s Guitar shop and we were able
to help keep them around as the only guitar shop in Santa Barbara through the pandemic. I
know it wasn’t a ton of money but it felt great doing it. Alongside of that effort, the Foo Fighters
also did a benefit with Vans for the same shop. Chris Shiflett has ties to the shop and I think it
was cool that you had them and little band exPorter working for the same cause.
MM: Which are your Two favourite Albums of all time
DC: The first album that I ever remember falling in love with as a whole is Arctic Monkeys “AM”.
It’s jam packed with shiny guitars and sex appeal, and overall represents a potent feeling of rock
and roll for me. And then the Killer’s first album Hot Fuss, that’s an essential album for me as
well. I think it’s rare to see a band come out the gates with that much confidence and energy,
but every song on that album is great. I really try to shoot for the Brandon Flowers standard.
AC: Blink 182s self titled and Modern Baseballs Holy Ghost. There obviously a ton more that
could make the list but those two are there on my list.
MM: Can you remember the first time you ever played live and how it felt to have people
AC: I barely remember my first live show that was more of a recital in 2012 but was with the
original lineup. Jessica and I were in this band camp and we did a bunch of covers. I think
everyone in the audience was family so it wasn’t a big deal but that was the start of our band
career and one of the covers we did was “Where is my mind” by the Pixies which is always on
our set list. We have been closing with that since that show.
DC: I grew up doing theater and remember doing “Oliver” when I was in like 5th
grade. Being on
stage never really bothered me and I remember not even realizing there was an audience.
HK: My first time playing live was my first show with these guys at the Avocado Festival. I
remember just hoping I didn’t mess up.
DC: Yeah it’s crazy that Henry’s first time in front of anyone was at a show that we only had one
rehearsal for. Like I said, for me, getting up on stage is nothing but I know that’s not the norm.
Even Alec took a bit to get comfortable and here’s Kish in front of a bunch of people, playing in a
band he’s never heard any songs...crazy.
MM: Growing up which Bands posters did you have on your bedroom wall.
DC: In high school I had a couple Panic! at the Disco posters up on the wall, including a signed
picture of the lead singer. I also had a big Smiths poster on my wall all through college that I’ve
kept up at home.
AC: Nirvana, Green Day, Blink 182 and Yellow Card were on my childhood room walls, in fact I
think most are still there. When I went to college I bought a new Blink poster along with a
Modern Baseball poster for my dorm
HK: I had a couple of Who posters...one was the Kid’s Are Alright.
MM: Who do you think influenced the world of Metal / Rock more than any other person
DC: This is tough because really everyone’s influenced by someone else, so who can you really
credit for having that impact? Still, I think David Bowie made a pretty significant mark on the
world of rock in that he shaped the image of the iconic rock star. It’s all the performance, the
mythos, the iconography around his music that really made it recognizable as its own identity.
It’s something I don’t think a lot of bands are able to do, like Elvis was still just Elvis. But David
Bowie just did it differently. He was something else.
AC: I give some cliché answers in interviews so I would have to say the Beatles or bands like
that definitely influenced music but that was way before I was around. If I think of our generation
or what has had the biggest influence and responsible for bringing alternative rock to
mainstream it’s different. Without the 90’s bands, bands like Green Day and Blink and stuff,
exPorter tunes most likely would be skipped over by radio hosts so we owe a lot there..
MM: What's the most important thing to the band right now?
HK: I know for right now, I just hope people like the music we’re putting out.
DC: Right now, I think we’re really just focused on getting better as a band. We’ve learned so
much grinding to get this album out, I just want to keep up that momentum. Write more songs,
play more shows, and continue to grow as a musician and as a band.
AC: Going out playing good shows for anyone that would see us and growing both the band
and ourselves within. We want to make sure we get the word out about this album and show
people who we really are as a band. I think Elliott (Lanam) did and amazing job producing
NoBrakes with us and we’re proud of how these songs came out and would love to have you
MM: If you could do a cover of any song which one would it be and why?
DC: I’m really pushing for a Blondie cover, I think it’d be sick to do “Call Me” or something. I
think it’s something everyone would know and go crazy for, but it’s also got enough dynamic to
play with, sort of make it our own. As a musician it's fun to put your own spin on classic
tracks. We worked on “Vacation” by the GoGos which I would love to add.
AC: Well we already do a few on our regular rotation, both Where is my mind and Black Sheep
(by Metric) are on the setlist. We did a cover of Bad Guy by Billie Eilish that I thought was pretty
HK: I want to do Baba O’Riley again by the Who. We did that at one of our first shows together.
MM: Tell us why we should buy and listen to your Band
HK: exPorter is a real band and we’re real people.
AC: Yeah, I think we are relatable. We write about experiences almost everyone will feel in
some way or another. We also put forward a true version of music, we like to keep some raw
element in our studio work and especially in our shows. I know on our EP “Bored” we did some
cool stuff with violins but if we did the songs live you could still connect with them. Same with
NoBrakes – on some songs there are things we don’t do live but I think for guitar, bass and
drums we get a lot of sound in there.
DC: I think that for anyone that’s sick of missing Warped Tour, we’re the solution. We’re loud
and energetic, but more than that I think we’re just a fun band. I have such a good time writing
and playing these songs, and I think that really shines through on the album. There’s something
so great about driving around with the windows down singing along to your favorite songs, and
these ten tracks really feel like they’re made for that. We’ve got some happy songs, a couple
heartbreak anthems, but they all really urge you to let it all out and sing at the top of your lungs.
MM: Four words to describe exPorter
HK: Sticking with my live description - bombastic, fun, high energy.
DC: I’d call us electric, engaging, exhilarating, and evocative. We put the “E” in exPorter.
AC: Sexy energetic pop and punk
MM: Final Words for your fans and our readers
DC: I think expanding on Henry’s “we are real people” theme, I really hope that people
understand that and appreciate it. We are just these kids that grew up in SoCal that started
playing music, like writing tunes, and just want to keep putting stuff out there. exPorter isn’t
manufactured or this made up thing, it’s 3 guys that like doing this type of music and we hope
you enjoy it.
AC: I think if people knew how much it means to us to have someone say they like our songs or
what we do, that would be more than we can ask for. We’re just this little band trying to live our
rock star dreams and when it connects with someone it means more to us than you know!