Thursday, April 8

Interview – Portugal. The Man


Now in its second year, the CLIF Bar Cykel Scramble took over the Marin County Fairgrounds on Saturday September 24th, 2016. Not only did it include a fun bike race, but also Lagunitas Brewing Company, CLIF Family Winery and Peet’s kept everyone hydrated. There were tons of local food vendors, and to top off the fun-filled day, the event wrapped up with a free concert by Portugal. The Man.

Before the show, we had the opportunity to talk to Eric, Zach & Chris of Portugal the Man, here’s what they told us:

SF SONIC: You guys are originally from Alaska, and got your start in Portland, what’s different about the music scene in Portland and Alaska versus here in the Bay Area?

Zach: Well, in Alaska when we were growing up there was metal and bluegrass. There wasn’t a lot going on. Eric and I were some of the only musicians we knew.

Eric: We weren’t really encouraged to play original material. You were in a cover band by default.

SF SONIC: Growing up what were the bands you guys listened to?

Zach: In general, me and John, well our parents had an extensive record collection. We had a classic upbringing… The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, 80’s pop, oldies radio. It was during that time I found Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine. They made me want to write music.

Eric: The radio was limited, we lived about an hour away from Anchorage, so you kinda got what you got. Either classic rock or really aggressive alternative rock. So, the first time you hear a band like Oasis when you’re brought up with the music we had, it’s kinda like, wow, melody, lyrics, sensitivity. I remember when I heard the first Weezer record, I was like, wow, I don’t have to be a metal guy for the rest of my life.

SF SONIC: You guys recently played Chainfest in SoCal, and have also played Lollapolooza, and other big festivals. Do you prefer festivals or smaller, more intimate venues?

Zach: They’re really different styles, the big festivals are a lot of fun. Our own shows are our own party. We do the lighting, we do all the music that goes on in between bands, we pick the comedians, the DJ’s. We got Chris Black, our Master of Ceremonies. The big festivals, they’re not your party, but it is one helluva of a party. As music fans, we like doing that, and it’s always fun to see a bunch of bands and a bunch of friends.

Eric: We’re about to do a medium size tour, that’s about 400-500 people. I feel like an idiot when I talk about it, but I’m so excited.

Zach: Rooms we haven’t played since 2008, 2009. So it’s gonna be fun to go back.

SF SONIC: The tour starts in late October, what can fans expect?

Zach: We have no idea

Chris: Shenanigans, shenanigans, foolery

Zach: Plenty of mischief. Expect a party, we don’t know what songs we are gonna play, but old songs, new material as well. We have more fun than any band.

SF SONIC: You’ve collaborated with Mac Miller, Haim, any other dream collaborations?

Eric: That’s an excellent question… I’ll let you handle that one

Zach: Beck that would be super fun. We definitely like to work with hip-hop artists. We’d like to do more of that… Kanye, love to work with Kanye.

Eric: Paul McCartney, some of those legendary pop artists. And either Gallagher brother from Oasis, Dave Grohl.

Zach: We want to work with people who influence us. Our whole goal as a band is to influence the next generation of artists. The same thing the Beastie Boys, The Beatles, and Nirvana did for us. We want to do it for the next round of kids, keep the wheel moving.

Eric: I’ll call Macklemore when I get back to Seattle.

Chris: I know he’s sitting by the phone waiting for your call.

SF SONIC: From the bands you’ve toured with, which ones have been your favorites?

Zach: The last tour we did with Cage The Elephant was really fun, a little too fun.

Eric: They got a margarita maker, the first four or five are fantastic, you hit the half dozen mark and it goes downhill from there pretty quickly. They were great though, they’re unbelievable people.

Chris: The thing is, we like to have fun, and so the other bands have fun as well.

SF SONIC: Tell me a crazy story, a recent story, either with a fan, or maybe something that happened on tour?

Zach: We’ve been fighting a lot with bouncers, we’ve been getting “drunken punchy.”

SF SONIC: Any development with the new album? The last we heard was what you guys tweeted back in February. Any scoop you can give us?

Chris: It’s fire, so fire, so done. We just got a couple of things to finish.

Zach: We can never say it is fully done, we’ll be working on it til the day it comes out, soonish… not too far away. The album is a natural next stage. It could be completely different and still sound like us.

SF SONIC: This is the mandatory political question because the elections are coming up…. You guys retweeted Bernie, and now we are down to the last two fine political candidates. What is your message for voters?

Zach: I’m not the guy; I’m a bad guy to ask that.

Eric: I will say though that if a wall if built between here and Mexico I might be crawling into Mexico. I love Mexico.

Zach: I’m so for street meats, taco trucks on every corner. Basically, get yourself educated, get out there, and do it. I grew up listening to Rage Against the Machine so I’m not gonna say anything about politics. I’ll make up my own mind and everyone should make up theirs.

Chris: Yeah what he said.

Eric: It’s a resounding endorsement for nobody.



About Author

Azucena is a freelance writer from Oakland. She loves the Oakland Athletics, as much as she loves The Sounds & Sam Smith. You can often catch her at shows throughout the Bay, iphone in hand live-tweeting away. You can read her shenanigans on twitter @chroniclesofazu.

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