Formed in Wasilla, Alaska, Portugal. The Man is a Portland-based quintet led by vocalist John Gourley and guitarist Zach Carothers. The band’s ever evolving lineup also features Kyle O’Quin on keyboards and Kane Ritchotte on drums. For their latest studio album, 2013′s Evil Friends, the band worked with five-time Grammy award winning producer Danger Mouse. We caught up with John Gourley and Kyle O’Quin at the ACL Festival to get some inside info. on the new album…
Do512: Okay, so tell me about “Evil Friends” and Danger Mouse producing. What are some of your favorite tracks? How’d it go?
J: I like all of the tracks on “Evil Friends.” It’s a great record. It came out just how we planned and maybe even better. The funny thing is—Patrick Carney brought it up to me when we were on tour with The Black Keys. We’re over in Europe and he had just asked me like, “You know, I know you guys are making a new record, I see posters all of the time. You guys are always putting out records. Who’s going to produce it?” And he just said, “Have you thought about Brian? Do you think Brian might be a guy you’d put on that list?” And I was seriously like, “Who is Brian?” Like, I have no idea who that dude is you are talking about by first name! But yeah, Danger Mouse. He really is a great, great producer—classic producer. He doesn’t change your sound. He helps you be a better band. He has no problem saying “no”—I mean he will tell you when something sucks; he’ll just be like “No, man, not good. You should do something better.” And when somebody like that says that, you kind of go, “Man, this guy really believes in me. Like he thinks I can do better than this- and this is my best.” Kyle saw me go home after many of those moments going, “What’s his problem man? He doesn’t get it? He doesn’t get me!”
K: It’s funny because every night he’d leave a little bit before us so we’d spend two hours being like, “We can do whatever we want right now- we’ll just get him to sign off in the morning.” And he would just come in and he’s like, “Nice try guys.” He’d smile like a big smile and he’s like, “Not gonna’ happen.”
Do512: Would you guys ever consider doing a Majestic Majesty version of “Evil Friends”?
J: We started doing something. It became versions; like it was like alternate versions. It was supposed to be that. It was supposed to be all acoustic. And we went in and we just started like, “I’ll just use this amp. And let’s use this, like, tape deco. It just became like noisy, weird versions of the songs. They’re really cool, but we do have to do the acoustic thing.
Do512: What are some bands you guys are listening to right now?
J: Right now? HAIM. Right?
J: HAY-M? HAIM?
Do512: I think it is HAIM, I heard them saying it over there earlier and we were like, “Alright, mental note.”
J: It is. We had those chicks in the studio. They sang on like three or four of our songs?
K: They sang on, “Purple, Yellow, Red and Blue,” “Evil Friends” and “Sea of Air.”
J: And they are so deep. They are real music fans. When they were in the studio they just like went in, no talking, no discussion, it was just like, “What’s the lyric? Alright. Harmony.” They just like, do it.
I also really like—when we were recording—we went and checked out RL Grime. He was playing this little thing in L.A. and Noah’s roommates manage RL Grime, who’s Clockwork as well, Schlomo, Baauer, and like, it was such a weird scene to be tossed into. I didn’t really know much about it, but that stuff, to me, is the most punk rock thing happening in music right now. It’s all about what they want to do.
K: It’s totally new. They’re like really young and they kind of created their own thing.
J: It’s nice to walk into an environment where they’re all just hanging out and they’re just like, “Oh, shit. That’s the beat. That’s it. Then one of the guys like grabs a microphone and puts a thing on it. It’s punk. That’s where punk starts.
Do512: How much do you guys love Do512?
J: Aw, I love it. I think we’ve stopped in there like every single time we’ve come through Austin. It’s such an amazing spot. I have way too many stories that I could never tell.
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