Oregon has played a role influencing the band Joseph. (Photo: Ebru Yildiz)
Oregon represents a big part of the band Joseph’s musical identity. In fact, it’s more than that; it represents family. The trio of sisters, Allie, Meegan and Natalie, got their start in and around Portland, and named their group for their grandfather’s hometown, Joseph.
The feeling of cool, misty Pacific Northwest forests comes through in their videos for “White Flag” and “Cloudline” even if they weren’t filmed in Oregon.
So, the band was thrilled to talk with Marriott TRAVELER about Portland, family road trips and the role that nature plays in its music.
If you are a music lover in Portland, where do you have to go?
Natalie: It’s a great town for music. A lot of great acts come through there. I would go to the Doug Fir Lounge on Burnside and Mississippi Studios is amazing on Mississippi. [Lower Burnside] is a great neighborhood.
Mississippi Studios was an early adopter. They were really good to us. They would have us on as support for touring national acts and that was really, really helpful for us. Before that it was tiny pizza places in Sandy, Oregon, 45 minutes toward the mountain. It was all over, where ever we could.
Speaking of pizza places, where do you eat well in Portland?
Natalie: I would also say Por Que No is my go-to. But really, you can’t go to Portland and not have brunch; so as much brunch as possible.
One thing I like about Portland versus other cities is that it feels more hometown-y and small.
Besides growing up in Portland, what keeps you there?
Meegan: One thing I like about Portland versus other cities is that it feels more hometown-y and small. I feel the same way about Nashville. You realize that it’s a really big city and there are a lot of people there, but it still feels very small and you can get around and it doesn’t get too crowded, unless you are going for brunch on the weekend!
Allie: Honestly, the food, beer and coffee are unbelievable.
What cities have you visited recently that impressed you musically?
Meegan: Minneapolis and Chicago are our favorites.
Natalie: Also, Madison, Wisconsin. These Midwest cities have these amazing, loyal music scenes. In all these places, we see the same people every time and it grows and grows. They just care a lot, not just about the music, but the story of the music, and they are really in it with you.
There’s a distinct sense of place in your videos. There’s an enchanted forest feel. Is this intentional? Where were they filmed?
Meegan: The “White Flag” video was filmed outside of Nashville. “Cloudlines” was in the Seattle area.
Natalie: We grew up camping and being out on hikes and in nature. One of our videos was filmed in Joseph, Oregon, which is where we are named after. I think that groundedness of literally touching the things that grow is a part of us.
What are you travel essentials on the road?
Meegan: I really like these packing cubes that you put all your clothes inside. I pack one with my shirts, one with my pants and one with my undergarments and things.
Allie: A really good suitcase makes all the difference, particularly a hard case in a bright color or with stickers…and make up!
Meegan: Jeans. I left my jeans on this trip. I left them in the dryer at home! Also, a neck pillow for when you want to get in the car and take a nap to sleep against the window or even on the plane. It’s so nice.
I think that groundedness of literally touching the things that grow is a part of us.
What’s the first thing you do when you get into your hotel room?
Natalie: I put my toothbrush bag in the bathroom and I hang it, because that makes me feel like I’m in my spot. Even when I’m in a different hotel room I always know I can go in the bathroom and find my toothbrush.
What’s your favorite family travel memory?
Meegan: The endless summer.
Natalie: We had this one summer where, I can’t remember why, maybe our dad had a bunch of random business trips through California. We did a lot of road trips. We called it the endless summer. We were supposed to go on a weeklong vacation and at the end our parents said, “Hey guys, want to go to Arizona?” and we were like, “Yeah.” Then, it was, “Want to go to Disneyand?” … “OK!” And, it just kept going. Our mom would always make these packs of activities for the car. There would be activities and snacks. She always made it fun.
If you could travel with someone from the music industry, who would it be?
Meegan: This would be someone, just so that I could see the show every night—Sigur Rós. I think that would be such an incredible thing. I don’t know what they’re like as people at all, but I know the music they make is beautiful.
Natalie: We got the chance to travel with James Bay. He’s a singer/songwriter and that was an amazing experience because he tours on a bus and plays really big venues. His team is incredibly welcoming and we learned a lot about music because of being around them. It’s hard to top that. It was so amazing. I would love to learn from a really powerful woman who’s been doing it for ages. I wish we could have traveled with someone like Sharon Jones.
Allie: Florence and the Machine would be really cool, too.
Where to Find Joseph: