ACL Interviews: Portugal. The Man
So leading up to our little ACL festival next month, we here at ATH will yet again be bringing you as many interviews as we possibly can. We’ll put our focus on some of the mid-level bands along with a few planned big name guys. To kick off our coverage of the festival, we begin with an interview with an old ATH favorite Portugal. The Man. We had the chance to sit down with keyboard player/vocalist Ryan Neighbors and discuss the state of his band. Follow the jump to read this great interview with a great band.
ATH: So is the plan to still release an album every year? You just had one in March so will we be getting another new one in 2011?
Ryan: Yes, that is still the plan. It will all depends on each individual release and what we feel is proper for the songs. Sometimes the songs come easy and that will enable us to continue to release albums at a steady pace. We are working on a new record right now which should be out early 2011. We are actually in the studio as I am writing this.
ATH: If we are getting that new album in 2011, what can be expected from it?
Ryan: We are really just trying to write the best songs we can. There are many rock, pop, and soul elements. There are some heavy moments. Nothing too heavy but certainly some weirdness. That is extremely vague but it is hard to give a proper assessment when the songs are still in the making. We are very excited about it. I think it will be a record that Portugal. The Man fans will like.
ATH: And on that note…. Do you guys ever take a break!?!
Ryan: We take breaks when they are warranted. Generally we get a month off for Christmas, but our schedule is always different. If there is time to record and we have songs written, we will usually record. If there is a worthwhile chance to tour, we will usually take the tour. It is good to stay busy, with too much time off, I can start to feel worthless. Most people who have jobs only get 2 weeks of vacation a year so we feel pretty lucky.
ATH: You recently made the jump to the big Atlantic Records label. What do you think will be different about being on the new label compared to putting things out on your own/indie labels?
Ryan: I think it will just be a great opportunity to see where our music can go. We hope we will be able to reach a larger audience and have more chances to do things we wouldn’t have had the chance to do before, such as a more elaborate live show and access to better studios and equipment. Doing so much of the work yourself, like we have in the past, is very hard. It takes a lot of time and energy that can sometimes be better used creatively if you do not have to worry about details. If we can focus less on the the logistics and more on the creative we should be able to make better records and put on a better shows, uh, I hope.
ATH: Your new video for “Dead Dogs” has to be one of my favorites of the year. I can always get behind some break dancing little kids. Where did the idea for the video come from? What’s your take on the relevance of music videos now that MTV/VH1 are on their way out and the internet is on the rise?
Ryan: I think the idea just came about from watching old hip-hop videos. Videos with dancing are always pretty awesome. Well no, that isn’t true at all, but some of them are. I really like the way our video turned out. The kids in the video were awesome and the video almost does no justice to how good they were at dancing. Jason did a really good job as well, that was his first chance to “star” in a video. MTV and VH1 are all reality shows now which is a real shame, but the internet has been great for videos. The music video may not be as relevant as it once was, but visual art is still very important. I still watch music videos all the time and am amazed at what some bands are coming up with. You can really turn a lot of heads and impress with creative visuals.
ATH: So you’re coming into town for ACL in a few weeks. What do you look forward to when you make your way into Austin?
Ryan: We have always enjoyed playing in Texas, especially Austin. It is just a really cool city. We have played SXSW before, but that is a really stressful festival. I think we played eight shows in three days. I am really looking forward to playing a festival in a less hectic environment. I have yet to see the Flaming Lips live before and that is going to be a big deal for all of us to see. They are a source of much inspiration for us. The way they combine visual art with the music is very cool. We have some really good friends in Austin and I hope we will spend some time just hanging in their backyard.
ATH: Speaking of festivals, if you could create your own fantasy festival with any bands living or dead, who would headline? 4-5?
Ryan: Good question. If I didn’t say the Beatles that would be dumb. Harry Nilsson for sure. Radiohead, The Zombies, Wu-Tang Clan. I would love to see Ol’ Dirty Bastard rap again. There are just so many great artists that do, and have, existed, but these are a few of the artists that have inspired and awed me the most in my life.
ATH: Also on the note of ACL, you guys had a huge contest going for ACL passes, side stage viewing AND a breakfast with you. Where ya eating? And who picks up the bill!?
Ryan: You know, I am not sure where we are eating yet. I am really looking forward to it though. I think it will be fun. It is always interesting to meet people and see where conversations go. I don’t imagine the winner of the contest will be picking up the bill. That would hardly seem like a prize. It would be quite the trick to pull though.
ATH: And finally… Who is winning the Super Bowl this year?
Ryan: Well according to Lance Briggs, The Dallas Cowboys. I don’t really follow football. I love basketball, Portland Trail Blazers. Good answer, right?