POLYPORE, punk and purpose


Duane Knapp, OMN Photographer

The band Polypore, in a Locals Live performance for KBVR-TV at Orange Media Network.

Liam Smyth, Beaver's Digest Contributor

POLYPORE, a Corvallis- based eclectic and empowering punk band, has a way of growing on you much like its namesake mushroom. Despite the band’s arrangement only being together for less than a year, POLYPORE has already played much of Corvallis’ house show gauntlet (and a good amount of Eugene’s, too).

The band consists of its singer and occasional guitarist, Marin “Monti” Monteith, who’s theatrical background lends POLYPORE’s operatic vocals; Sam Austin, who pounds the band forward as both its drummer and manager; lead guitarist Tali Ilkovitch, playing riffs that intertwine themselves with Ella Riis’ (POLYPORE’s newest member) bass lines; and of course, POLYPORE’s most distinguishing departure from a traditional punk sound: Bre Hargrove, the classically trained Violinist.

“I grew up playing classical music in a chamber orchestra, it’s extremely formal — nobody’s dancing, y’know? Going from that being my experience in live performance to what we have now has been really awesome,” shared Hargrove. “I get so riled up when the crowd has energy, and it just feels so good. When the space is safe it feels like this cocoon of community.”

“It feels like you can taste the adrenaline. It’s palpable,” added Lead Singer Monteith, leaning forward.

With Monteith’s vocals, Hargrove’s violin, and Austin, Ilkovitch and Riis’s jazz- trained background, we may have the most instrumentally qualified punk band in Corvallis. But POLYPORE has other credentials, too.

For one, they have intent behind their music — a cause: POLYPORE channels their rageful sound as a tool to empower the queer community of Corvallis, and challenge its oppressors.

“I want people to feel like they are a part of something, and I think that I write a lot of our music aiming to build more community. . . I want people to feel riled up!” Monteith said.

That’s what POLYPORE is all about, bringing people together in an inclusive, energizing space. A space for moshing, yes, but a space to feel that cocoon as well. Speaking with the band, I was refreshed with how grateful they were for their fans and the scene itself.

“It’s really motivating having the scene and wanting to continue to foster and build that, and lift up all the bands so that the scene keeps growing,” Austin said.

When I asked what bands POLYPORE has enjoyed working with and seeing around town, all five pairs of eyes lit up, and in the end, they fired off a list too long to include in this article. . . I think that says a lot about POLYPORE.

Ultimately, POLYPORE’s brooding yet sweeping punk arrangement has a sound that sets them apart not just from college bands, but punk music as a whole. Only one year in, and the group already shows enough promise that one day they could stand among the giants that have inspired them, giants like The Cranberries, Mannequin Pussy, Paramore and the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of punk bands screaming out the truth, fighting for something bigger than themselves. At a POLYPORE show, you belong, and they want you to know that.

You can find POLYPORE anywhere you stream music. Though, expect more from them in the coming months, as the group works on its first studio album. If you want to see POLYPORE live, they’re playing at the Ant Hill on Feb. 25, and all other upcoming shows can be found on their Instagram page @polypor.e.

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