BY: KAYLEE WEATHERLY
Portugal. The Man, an indie-rock band based out of Portland, Oregon but has its roots in the last frontier of Alaska has been growing musically and in popularity since their debut record "Waiter: 'You Vultures'" in 2006. Their creativity take on indie and psychedelic rock coupled with impressive vocals and supreme instrumentation has led fans to flock to them all over the country with sold out concerts and six studio albums. With their new album "American Ghetto" released in early March, DIG caught with up bass player Zachary Carothers to talk about the band, their excitement of playing at Coachella, and what's next for them.
DIG: How did the band meet and come together? Zach Carothers: Well, John[Gourley] and I have been playing together for about seven years. We met in high- school and we were in another band before this one. We kind of came together and went through a couple of band members until we finally got Jason Sechrist and Ryan Neighbors a couple of years ago.
DIG: I know you guys are from Alaska. How did growing up there influence your music?
ZC: We were obviously influenced by our family and friends there. John and I's parents listened to a lot of Beatles and classic rock. We were really influenced by that 60's pop sound. We didn't really know about the underground music scene in Alaska, so when we moved to Oregon, we kind-of got flooded with all of that culture. So, a lot of it was leaving Alaska and finding that influence in the music scene in Oregon and mixing it with our classic stuff we learned growing up.
DIG: How would you describe your sound, in general and in your new album American Ghetto?
ZC: In general, I guess it would be more classic rock sound, but with this new album I would describe it as psychedelic pop.
DIG: What were your goals for this new album?
ZC: We went on a really short break after "Satanic Satanist" and immediately started getting back in the studio for this new album. When you're so used to being in the studio for 6 weeks and thinking creatively, after you're done, you still have a lot left over, and it's kind of hard to switch the creative part off. So, it gave John an excuse to use those eccentric ideas that wouldn't fit on "Satanic Satanist." lyrically, "American Ghetto" is kind of a sequel to "Satanic Satanist." "Satanic Satanist" is about John growing up in Alaska with his family, and "American Ghetto" is more about our teenage years and experiences with some of our friends getting into drugs and some bad shit, really.
DIG: So, let's switch gears a little bit. Are you guys excited about playing at Coachella?
ZC: Oh yeah, we're really excited. Just the vibe and the whole festival is a lot of fun. We're pretty proud to be on the bill. We're hoping a lot of people will come check us out. I'm expecting a pretty good show.
DIG: What other bands are you excited to see?
ZC: Oh man, all the bands are awesome. I'm really excited to see Muse, since I'm a bass player and their bass is awesome, I really respect them. And Jay-Z, obviously, we all really like Jay-Z.
DIG: What's next for you guys?
ZC: We're actually recording another album after Coachella. We're going to take our time on this one. We just put out two records really quickly, so we're going to slow down on this one. It probably won't be out until early 2011. And, it won't be for another couple of months, but we're going to try to do something big and something special in California, it will probably be like two shows, one in the Bay area and the other in Southern California.
DIG: Who is your guilty pleasure musical artist?
ZC: The Dixie Chicks, I really respect their music and standing up for themselves with the whole Bush thing. DIG: What movie best describes your band?
ZC: "2001: A Space Odyssey." That movie's really awesome; more awesome than we'll ever be, but we have gotten a lot of ideas for our songs from that movie.