PORTLAND Ore. – If you’re like most people from Portland Oregon you love music and have been aware of Portugal. The Man since the band formed 13 years ago but for most rock/pop fans across the country who don’t follow Portland’s music scene, the music from Portugal the Man is all new and they’ve finally had their first breakout hit.
About Portugal. The Man
Zachary Carothers and John Gourley of Portugal. the Man moved from Alaska to Portland in 2004 and over the next 13 years they’ve succeed in the music industry where most artists have failed, creating a following in the Portland Oregon music scene until their song Feel It Still was released this year.
As of November 2017, the hit song is on the iPhone or Spotify playlists of most people from Portland Oregon and it’s been played well over 100 million times across YouTube, Spotify, iTunes and other music or video platforms online.
The song is the first major crossover hit in about 5 years since “Somebody I used to Know”, Gotye’s hit song from 2011.
The band’s name is based on the idea of David Bowie‘s “bigger than life” fame. They wanted the band to have a bigger than life feel but didn’t want to name it after one of their members. “A country is a group of people,” guitar player and vocalist John Gourley explains. “With Portugal, it just ended up being the first country that came to mind. The band’s name is ‘Portugal’. The period is stating that, and ‘The Man’ states that it’s just one person.” The name has more personal meaning as well: Portugal. The Man was going to be the name of a book that Gourley had planned to write about his father and his many adventures.
It’s hard to call Portugal. The Man an overnight sensation since they’ve been around for 13 years but since many local acts never seem to break away from the long shadow of Portland it’s fitting that the band is getting recognized now because their songs are fun, danceable tunes that can be enjoyed by music fans and PDX people from all generations.
Like many musicians or bands who have gained recognition over the last 10 years, the success of Portugal. The Man’s hit song Feel it Still can also be attributed to an iPad commercial that was released this year.
Even on a commercial for the iPad, songs like Feel it Still are hard not to like and thanks to Google it’s easy to find out what song was used in any commercial for Apple’s products.
Produced by Mike D and Danger Mouse, their album “Woodstock” is definitely one of the bands best albums to date and with the crossover success of Feel it Still, many music industry insiders are wondering what’s next for the band?
The band remains as humble as ever and authentic because the go the extra mile to promote Portland Oregon whenever possible while continuing to talk about their love for sneakers and basketball.
In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, the band sat down to talk about their passion for sneakers and what life is like on the road.
B/R: Are there any sneaker shops that you’ve come across in your travels that you really liked?
Zach: This one time, we were in Lille, France. We came across this tiny little sneaker shop when we were just out cruising around. He had this display case full of Nikes, but you’re not allowed to sell Nikes in France without a really expensive license—he was just a big fan. It was just kind of small and real dirty, but he had a hat that just said “F–k Y’all” in the Blazer font. I was like, “Is that the Blazer font?” and he was like, “Yeah, the Portland Trail Blazers, they’re my favorite team!” I showed him my Lords of Portland jacket, and we hugged and it was cool. I bought all the remaining “F–k Y’all” stuff.
B/R: Sneaker culture is so strongly associated with hip-hop—now that the aesthetic is so much more pervasive, do you see that crossing over into the world of alt-rock and pop at all?
John: Kind of. You know it’s weird—I feel like Portland is one of those cities where the indie rock kids all follow the Blazers and are into that kind of thing. Chicago is the other city where you see a lot of that. Some New York bands you’ll see rocking Ones or Dunks and things like that, but it is weird that the sneakerhead thing has become so massive. Personally I think it’s really silly. Everybody’s just paying too much for shoes, hiring people and bots to buy shoes for them when they drop. I think if you’re a fan of sneakers, you’re a fan of sneakers.
B/R: How many sneakers do you have?
John: Hundreds? Lots. I don’t even know. It’s a weird thing for me because we travel so much, and I’ll always try to bring whatever shoes I’m wearing at the time. I’ll have like a suitcase full of shoes that I barely get to wear.
I’m the a–hole that rocks HDMs on a hike. Everyone’s like, “What are you doing, those are $2,000 shoes!” I’ve never been the type of person that puts things on a shelf or like needs to clean my sneakers every day. I just wear what I like.
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