With 9 albums now under their belt, I knew the members of Portugal. The Man
were going to have some interesting stories to tell, but when I ventured out to Atlantic Records to talk to Zach Carothers and Eric Hawk, I had no idea we'd end up here, talking about surviving in the wilderness and their political spats. "I think we knew that was going to stir the hornets nest a little bit," Hawk said on burning a newspaper that read "Infowars" in their "Feel It Still" video, "but I didn't expect Alex Jones to go out there and do 5 minutes about our ‘so-called band' and our political agenda."
Political issues are always on everyone's mind, but right now tensions are higher than ever. Some artists firmly believe that it is their job to talk about it, others want to stay out of it. With the whole burning of the Infowars thing, I had to ask about the job of a musician at a time like this. "Everything that we stand up for shouldn't be political," Carothers admitted. "We would like it if people cared and kept their eyes open because we're definitely paying attention," Hawk said. "Care. Be a good person. It's not that hard." Also, when watching the video for "Feel It Still" here
, the watcher will find 30 hidden causes that matter to the band, like equality, clean water, Black Lives Matter, and more.
Adding to their lengthy discography, Portugal. The Man is out with their newest album Woodstock
now. The title of the album was conceived when the band was hanging out in Alaska and singer John Gourley's dad handed them an envelope that contained his ticket to Woodstock. "It hit me really hard. He had it in an old tool box that he had given to a friend back in the 70s and his friend found it at the bottom and mailed it back to him." They had originally written about 50 songs, but they started to lose perspective, almost seeming irrelevant to the world. "It wasn't the time to put out a song about a girlfriend or a mountain," said Hawk. It wasn't until they came up with the title that it all started to come together. "We were going to scrap the last album, we were going to start new, there was a bunch of pretty wild protests going on in Portland at the time… We kind of said ‘fuck it, we're naming the album Woodstock
Although the band is based in Portland now, Alaska will always serve as inspiration. And of course, I just had to ask about the wildlife out there, because I've heard some pretty crazy shit. "I had my life saved by a wolf!" Carothers said nonchalantly. Growing up in that type of environment explains why the guys are probably so chill now -- because once you get sandwiched in between a moose and a wolf, the rest of life is cake.
Portugal. The Man is currently on tour
and you can listen to their excellent new record Woodstock