Last week during the ACL festival we sat down with Zach Carothers and Kane Ritchotte of Portland-based rock band, Portugal. The Man.
“Brian [Burton] is a lot different from most producers…he’s like an extra band member.”timestamp: 1:17
The band has been especially prolific – producing a new record every year since their formation in 2005. Their latest endeavor, Evil Friends (released in June 2013), finds them collaborating with producer Brian Burton ( aka “Danger Mouse”…aka “the other half of Gnarls Barkley”). “Brian [Burton] is a lot different from most producers…he’s like an extra band member,” Portugal adds as they describe the experience of working with Brian. Mentioning how his ear, and his own talent as a musician, often provided a different perspective to the songwriting process; you see how Evil Friends is able to provide a more focused and bright sound.
“I don’t think, in most cases, bands sell out… but they become obsessed, as I can see myself becoming obssessed, with the simplicity of great songs.”timestamp: 4:32
The band attributes this contrast from the psychedelic, experimental sounds of their previous efforts to their longing for striking emotion with simplicity. “I don’t think, in most cases, bands sell out… but they become obsessed, as I can see myself becoming obssessed, with the simplicity of great songs,” adds drummer Kane Ritchotte. There are several great songs in Evil Friends, uplifted by lead singer John Gourley’s particularly high-ranged vocals. The title track “Evil Friends,” along with “”Sea of Air,” “Someday Believers,” and “Smile” let you feel the spirit and emotion Portugal. The Man is able to evoke with this album. At times triumphant, at times regretful, at times the pure essence of rock n’ roll.
“The great songs in our future that are going to change the world, those exist in the air somewhere…the people who will let themselves find it and who will not get in the way of it, those are the people that will produce those songs.”timestamp: 7:02
In our interview, Kane explained how he feels that great songs are out there floating in the air, ready to be snatched up by whomever is able and willing to let it flow through them. “The most pure art is best when you get in the way the least,” he adds. As a fan of Portugal. The Man and their newest release Evil Friends, I’m excited to see where this open-minded approach leads them next.