Courtesy of Don VanCleave
Sitting on a park bench in Denver, clutching an iced coffee with squawking birds surrounding him, drummer Jason Sechrist was preparing to head to Ohio.
Sechrist is a member of the band, Portugal. The Man, which will be performing tonight at 8 p.m. at Outland Live in downtown Columbus.
The band’s sixth full-length album, “In The Mountain In The Cloud,” will be released on July 19.
This is the first album produced with Atlantic Records and was recorded across the nation in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle and El Paso, Texas.
“There are different inspirations from weather and atmosphere and different vibes from the country. We had a lot of Southern California, we had the heat of Texas, we had the rain of Seattle, and even in Portland, we finished some tracks in our basement,” Sehcrist said. “The recording … feels like a bit of all of the country.”
He said the band members are big fans of the rock band Pink Floyd and their influence is evident in Portugal. The Man’s progressive indie-rock music. The synthesized sound elements enhance their music, which is similar to the sound of bands like Minus the Bear and Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground.
The album’s first single, “Got It All (This Can’t Be Living Now),” is available for download on iTunes. This single and the closing track, “Sleep Forever,” are on the band’s YouTube page, along with 30-second previews of four other tracks.
Originally starting in Wasilla, Alaska, Portugal. The Man is now based in Portland, Oregon, but has been touring across Europe and North America over the past five years, performing more than 800 shows.
The lighting, mood and even performance mistakes make up their show, highlighting the art angles of stage production and vocal effects, Sechrist said.
“We want the experience to go beyond just playing the album from start to finish … as long as you come out with a smile on your face,” he said.
The band has made multiple appearances at major music festivals such as Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, where they’ll be playing again this summer. Most recently, Portugal. The Man performed at the South By Southwest conference held in Austin, Texas.
Sechrist said music festivals are an opportunity to showcase the group’s music to a broader audience.
“That’s the cool thing about festivals, they’re like a celebration sampling platter,” he said.
Sechrist said Portugal. The Man had been on a few smaller indie labels in the past, but its deal with Atlantic Records is the group’s first time signing with a major label.
Fans of indie bands occasionally fear their favorite group “selling out,” but Sechrist said most bands deal with it.
“There’s not much you can do about it. You can stay true to your roots by not letting go of the things you do live,” he said.
Sechrist said Portugal. The Man spent a lot of time in Ohio while touring during their first couple years, and the state is a hotter spot of support.
“We’re big fans of Ohio … I think college towns usually vibe really well in that area,” he said.
The song “All Your Light (Times Like These)” from the new album is one of Sechrist’s favorites to play.
“Sometimes you’ll like an album version of something that you’ve done, but sometimes you’ll end up falling in love with a live version of a different tune entirely,” he said. “That might be because of an improv jam session … or something cool that kind of alters the song.”
Synthesizer and drum intros are a couple types of changes the band makes to their live performances. Sechrist said the group has considerably altered songs like “Shade” and “My Mind” from 2007 album, “Church Mouth,” for their live shows. But this isn’t the case for every song.
“You don’t want to butcher or hack up every song with weird instrumentation all the time. Sometimes we’ll just play a song as it is, more slow as it goes on the record,” he said.
Kenji Berg, a fourth-year in operations management, said he has been listening to Portugal. The Man since 2007, and the band’s live alterations are what make the performances amazing.
“When they do their transitions between songs, they’ll usually incorporate little mini jam sessions, maybe two or three minutes long,” Berg said.
However, the transitions are natural and don’t interrupt the flow of the music, Berg said while casually throwing in expletives about exactly how amazing the band’s performances are.
Berg said he has listened to the sample clips from “In The Mountain In The Cloud” on the band’s website. He said he thinks the music sounds like a combination between two of the bands previous albums, “The Satanic Satanist” and “American Ghetto.”
“Seems to me like … they’re still sticking to their core sound and the familiar Portugal. The Man that I know,” he said.
Portugal. The Man’s current single, “People Say,” from the 2009 album, “The Satanic Satanist,” was recorded in Boston, but was out for about nine months until a radio station in Portland picked it up, Sechrist said.
Berg said he’s heard the song on the radio in Columbus a few times, but he can’t believe the band doesn’t have more recognition
Berg said he thinks the group’s deal with Atlantic Records will help promote the music, but he also hopes the band will stay in control of the creative process.
When asked if he had any expectations for Wednesday’s show, Berg said he had only one: “getting his mind blown,” he said.
“It’s one of the best live shows I’ve been to,” he said. “You can tell that they know each other really well and have a really good connection.”
Mikayla Polacsek, a second-year in nursing, said she first heard of Portugal. The Man from a friend last spring.
“I’m into indie music, so I had heard similar sounds, but I still really like them and thought they were a lot of fun,” she said.
Polacsek said she thought there was potential for the charismatic band’s music to change after signing with Atlantic Records, but doubts there will be any dramatic differences.
Since Outland Live is a small venue, Polacsek said she thinks the concert will be more intimate.
“Any seat in the house is pretty much going to be a good one,” she said. “I’m just going to have fun and listen to a band that I really enjoy.”
Doors will open at 7 p.m. at Outland Live, located at 95 Liberty St.