Portugal. The Man

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Portugal. The Man

While they may regret the punctuation in the middle of their name, there’s not much else the four-piece band could add to that list. When I sat down to chat with bassist and vocalist Zach Carothers, the band was in the midst of a free tour in Australia, skydiving and generally living it up.
“Even though we’re always together and not taking time out, we like to get together and do things,” Zach says. “We went skydiving yesterday, we hiked all over Byron, went surfing for the first time, rope swings, hang gliding – we’re always doing something but we always try and make it fun.”
As to how Zach went surfing for the first time, he couldn’t have enjoyed it more – even if there was a minor accident. It certainly helped being taken around by Taylor Steele, director, filmmaker and regular surfer who Zach describes as “a really good dude”.
“Taylor took us out to the pass, where it was easy to learn. I stood up on my first wave, and on the second one I hit somebody. We hit each other so it wasn’t completely my fault, but it was an amazing experience,” he says.
It seems wherever they go, the band is making lifelong friends, and their current tour just so happened to stem from a friendship with the people behind Monster Children magazine.
“We made friends with Monster Children last time we were here. We are just fans of what they do and we pretty much hung out a lot and partied even more while we were here,” Zach says.
“So they do this whole thing with Corona, the free tour, and when Corona were looking for bands I think they pretty much just wanted to hang out with us for five weeks – and that’s how it happened. We thought fuck yes, we love this country and the opportunity to come here and spend five weeks doing free shows sounded like a great idea to us.”
While the band has a long list of friends scattered across the globe, there was a time when things in-house were a little bit different. Before their newest release Evil Friends (2013), the band simply weren’t getting along. Zach described it as “the darkest time of [their] lives”, though – now with a full functioning band – there is barely a hint of sadness in his voice.
Evil Friends became a chance for the band to “start fresh” and with Danger Mouse producer, Brian Burton, he made it more than possible to do so. “Once we went in there we wanted to start fresh. We had already recorded, I think, nine songs on our own before we went into the studio with him,” he says.
“So we scrapped all that and started out fresh. Somewhere along there John had showed him the songs we did before, which we really liked and Brian thought so too, so a few got added to the album.”
It’s hard to know exactly when to expect another release from the band, though there are talks of an eight album and also a possible repeat of their track to raise awareness for endangered tigers on Earth Day last year, however, Zach remained tight lipped, stating that either are a possibility.
When&Where: Torquay Hotel, Torquay – November 28 (FREE!)
By Amanda Sherring