Portugal. The Man have been hard at work for the last few years, relentlessly touring and putting out tons of music. I caught up with them briefly to see how things are going, and see where they are headed.
PPJ: First, tell us your name and what you do in the band.
Zach Carothers: I'm Zach. I play the bass.
PPJ: What music did you listen to growing up? How did your musical tastes evolve as you grew older?
Zach: Ha... they didn't much. I've recently regressed back to what I've always listened to. I grew up on a lot of classic rock and pop. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. The Beatles. Michael Jackson. Shit like that.
PPJ: What is the biggest influence on your music today?
Zach: Friends and family... and everyone I meet. Any experience. Mostly my band. I just feed off what they make. They inspire me.
PPJ: What is the music scene in Alaska like? Is it difficult to break a band in the continental States from Alaska?
Zach: There's not much scene in Alaska. A lot of bluegrass and metal. Honestly, I think being from Alaska helped our band. Not too many bands come out of there. Anything you can do to set yourself apart from everyone else.
PPJ: Your new album, Censored Colors, has a pretty unique structure. How did you go about writing this album?
Zach: Well, we wrote almost the whole record in the studio in two and a half weeks. We worked hard. It was by far the most productive time we've spent. We were tracking 14 hours a day. We tried some new writing styles as well. Using chord progressions instead of riffs like we normally do.
PPJ: What was different about creating this album compared to your previous ones?
Zach: We had access to so many different instruments. It was amazing. We're lucky to be friends with unreal musicians. Horns, strings, organs. We also tried a bunch our very strange tracking techniques. It was a learning experience.
PPJ: What are your favorite things about your new album?
Zach: All the singing. We all put so many vocals on it. I love doing gang vocals. It's like a party.
PPJ: Is there anything on your older albums you wish you'd done differently?
Zach: Not really.... since we write everything in the studio, we'll often change them if they don't work live. I don't mind. It makes the live show a lot more fun.
PPJ: How did you come to the partnership you have with Equal Vision Records?
Zach: Equal Vision have been good friends of ours for years. They have helped us out many times. We originally wanted to release the record ourselves, but they gave us a really awesome deal. Partnership was totally the best option for us. We share in the risk and the reward.
PPJ: What was it like to collaborate with The Sound Of Animals Fighting to remix songs from their album?
Zach: They asked Johnny to do that a while ago. He had never done anything like that before, but he had a lot of fun doing that. I think he did a good job.
PPJ: You're about to head out on a European tour. What are you most looking forward to?
Zach: Hard to say. Everything is so amazing over there. All the club employees are so nice and helpful to us. The people that come to our shows are rad. We owe them many thanks.
PPJ: What is the next step after that?
Zach: We're doing a headlining tour in the states with Earl Greyhound and Winter Sleep. Then back into the studio for pre production. We're busy little bees.
PPJ: Do you think you'll be able to keep up the album-a-year pace you've set for yourselves?
Zach: I don't think it will be a problem. The only thing that stops us from recording more is our tour schedule.
PPJ: What do you want people to come away with when they hear your music or see your show?
Zach: Well, I obviously want them to have a good time. And I hope it makes them want to come back and see another. We're usually having the time of our lives on stage.
PPJ: Finally, tell us three bands you think we should be listening to.
Zach: Lately I've been really into: The Builders And The Butchers, 31 knots, Doctor Helicopter, Hello Electric, The Decemberists, and David Bowie.
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