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Portugal. The Man Interview with John Gourley

After recently singing to Atlantic Records, John Gourley of [b]Portugal. The Man[/b] has less time to spend in his native Alaska, more time between recording, less time for video games, and if things work out, there will be more time to buy new threads. John Gourley (vocals/guitars) spoke with SFCritic before the band’s gig at the Fillmore on June 18th.

Photos by Victoria Smith

SFCritic (SFC): Do moose really stop traffic in Alaska, and do they follow stoplights?

John Gourley (JG): I think that the moose are probably my favorite part of Alaska, but I don’t know if I can answer that question. I’ve hit two moose before, and it’s the worst experience ever.

SFC: What do you if you hit one?

JG: You don’t have the choice to keep going. It will just smash your vehicle. They look like they would be really nice if you were to go up to them, but it’s actually a really aggressive animal all the time. Don’t feed moose.

SFC: How often do you go back to Alaska?

JG: I go back whenever we have substantial breaks. We don’t go back all the time. I imagine I’ll be building a house soon, out away from everything.

SFC: Wow, how very Alaskan of you.

JG: My family builds houses, by the way. Don’t think now that I’m on Atlantic I’m going to go build a house.

SFC: So it’s been almost a year since we last spoke at Outside Lands. Do things feel different?

JG: The band feels like a different group altogether in a really positive way. We moved to Atlantic and [had] that transition. You have know no idea what we said when Atlantic called: “Just the fact that you’re [Atlantic] calling you need to know that this is my fucking life, and I will fucking flip out if any of this gets fucked up.” We had these talks, I hate to say we became friends, but we actually did.

When it came to making this album that will come out next year — or whenever we finish it — we really decided to sit back and take our time, which is a huge change for our band.

SFC: It seems like the move to Atlantic is a big step. It’s interesting that you guys are taking a lot more time given your track record of doing an album in two weeks or maybe a month.

JG: I feel like it’s necessary. I didn’t have any material when I went into American Ghetto.

SFC: Whatever the case was, it’s refreshing that you’ve had a good experience.

JG: The reality is, when it comes down to it, it has to be a good business decision for them as well. They didn’t sign our band because they wanted a band that sells 20,000 records, that just hangs out at their house and plays video games.

SFC: Wait you guys aren’t going to still do that? Is image becoming a bigger factor?

JG: No, unfortunately not. One of the first things that I said when I went in there was, “Shit do we get a stylist? Do we get all those clothes?” They were like, “No, man, you’re doing alright. You guys look alright now.” I was like “Damn it!”

SFC: I’m sure you can get a sponsorship from a thrift store or something.

JG: Yeah, I should have thought ahead and put on extra large T-shirt, and got a fucked up haircut and tapered jeans and been like, “What’s up! Let’s make moves Atlantic!” Just so you know when you see me wearing a suit, I have to work for that with my own money.

Portugal. The Man perform at the Fillmore on June 18th. Tickets are $20. Doors open at 9pm.
Republished from SF Station.

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