Since their inception in 2004, Portugal. The Man has been one of the busiest bands in the industry. This group has managed to give the public a new release almost every year since 2005. In addition to recording music, Portugal. The Man has made time for touring on each release as well as the creation of impressive music videos to accompany singles.
One also has to consider the band’s unique style of music. This group has concocted a sonic mixture that pulls inspiration from prog rock, psychedelic and electronic. It leaves many to question when the band finds time to actually get in the studio and compose. Bassist Zach Carothers explained that there is not much time for relaxing in Portugal. The Man.
“We don’t take too many days off,” Carothers said. “Last week, we happened to have two days off in Los Angeles. So, we just randomly went in and tracked some new stuff. When we got home, we had a couple of days off, and we have a studio in our basement.”
“Evil Friends” is the latest effort from Portugal. The Man. Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton (Gnarls Barkley, The Black Keys) took on production duties. Carothers called the union between Burton and the group a “blind date” kind of situation. Portugal. The Man was introduced to Burton through Atlantic Records CEO Craig Kallman. Front man John Gourley made the initial contact to ask if Burton would be interested in taking on their latest project.
“One of the first things he told John was, ‘I don’t think we should work together. I already have a rock band,’ said Carothers. “He’s got The Black Keys, and he’s a loyal guy. At that time, we were in the middle of recording what we thought was going to be the new record.”
With the latest album ready to go, Gourley accepted this rejection gracefully and suggested that they hang out and listen to music. As the evening progressed, the two found a musical bond, and Burton decided to work with the band.
Carothers explained that this was the ultimate studio experience for the band. With Burton’s knowledge of the multiple layers of the music industry, he was able to bring a wealth of knowledge and advice to the group. For them, it was a lesson on how to make a successful album in today’s music industry.
As far as new releases, Carothers revealed that Portugal. The Man have been “busy little bees.” The band is definitely working on a new release. However, Carothers said that it would probably not be a full-length album. After recording “Evil Friends,” they have learned that sometimes recording an album depends on more than their personal schedules.
“When we work with people like Danger Mouse, they’re busy as well,” Carothers said. “We realized that the world does not revolve around our time schedule, and other people have things to do too. It’s very frustrating. We’re always out to put out a new record, but sometimes the schedules don’t line up.”
Fans of Portugal. The Man can expect the unexpected from the band’s Hangout Fest set. They actually formulate their set list shortly before they take the stage. Carothers said this is a way not only to surprise the crowd but also surprise themselves.
They are extremely excited to be returning to Gulf Shores for the world’s biggest beach party. Last time, they drove overnight from Houston just to make their set time. So hopefully, they will not be as pressed for time this year. This will be a chance to once again present the results of all their hard work.
“I think it’s to the point that when you get out on the road and play live, that’s when you prove yourself,” said Carothers. “A long time ago, people went in to record, and that’s how they proved themselves. It’s kinda flopped now.”
Portugal. The Man
Date: Sunday, May 18, 5 to 6:15 p.m.
Stage: Chevrolet Stage