Come sing along with Portugal. The Man

With Portugal. The Man, they’re more interested in performing the music than interacting with the audience.

“We’re not entertainers; we’re not there to be jumping up and down on the stage, grabbing you to come along,” says John Gourley, singer and guitar player of Portugal. The Man. “We want more than anything to have people sing along and have fun, but we’re focused on music, we’re focused on transitions and making sure it flows.”

Before forming Portugal. The Man, Gourley grew up being very shy. Gourley said he recalls being unable to order food from a waitress because he was so nervous.

“In a situation where everybody should be able to perform, I couldn’t do that,” Gourley says.

Gourley’s earliest memories of music come from listening to The Beatles during the long rides he would take to the grocery store.

“It was anywhere from 30 minutes to a three-hour drive to get groceries. Depending on where we lived in Alaska, we were always pretty far out of town,” Gourley says.

His other inspiration came from watching bass player Zach Carothers perform in a cover band.

“He would play at lunch period at our high school and they would cover Pantera, Cannibal Corpse, Rage Against the Machine and stuff like that,” Gourley says.

It was after forming the band Anatomy of a Ghost with Carothers that Gourley became more comfortable performing in front of strangers.  The band puts a strong emphasis on transitions because of an experience they had while performing in Germany.

“After playing an hour and half we didn’t know what to do the first night we played out there,” Gourley says. “We played the same songs twice because we didn’t know how to handle it.”

By the second night, they were performing extended covers for The Beatles and Oasis. Gourley says as soon as they started creating transitions for their shows, they became more familiar with their music. Gourley says after the tour, Portugal. The Man will continue to work on their albums in progress. Meanwhile, Andrew Wessen and the rest of Grouplove plan to take a much needed break before they start on their next album.

“We’re going to take some time off after this tour. We’ve been doing it for like four years straight, and we’re going to take three or four months off,” Wessen says. “Obviously a new record will be in the works next year; we have tons of material and we’re writing all the time.”

For up-and-coming artists, Wessen says when it comes to releasing albums, “Less is more.”

“If you have 20 songs, pick the best three and record them the best you can; don’t just put an album out right away. The best advice I can give … is to write good music; that’s the one thing you can’t teach someone how to do,” Wessen says. “I think the reason why most big bands are big is even if you pick up and take away all their production and you just played the songs on an acoustic guitar, it’d still be super memorable.”

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Copyright 2018