We are Portugal. The Man. A band from Portland, OR by way of Alaska. We play real instruments. Ask us anything.



Comments: 853 • Responses: 66  • Date: 

Geno0981305 karma

Is it as weird for you guys as it is for me that your music gets played on top 40 radio stations now? Been listening to you guys for almost a decade now and it's crazy how much you've blown up recently.

Also are you planning on playin Sasquatch next year?

portugalthemanband566 karma

Yeah it’s pretty weird to hear it on pop stations, cool though that there’s so many DJ’s playing a rock band. I don’t think we’re doing Sasquatch this year...bummed cause i’m from Seattle so it’s always fun to play. Bumper shoot though. -K

portugalthemanband323 karma

It’s super fun, actually! Especially visiting and getting interviewed by those stations. It’s all energy and white teeth and cheesy jokes. Def weird, but really fun weird. Sasquatch is great! Not sure about this year, but a highlight of my life was seeing that giant Alaskan flag in the crowd. -eric

kk218402 karma

Hey, I'm going to go see you in Chicago. Could you guys please play "So American"?

Much appreciated!

portugalthemanband453 karma

Yeah that’s in the books -K

Swenseeni318 karma

Does "Holy Roller" have anything to do with the Flanders-Lovejoy bowling team of the same name from The Simpsons?

portugalthemanband803 karma

Every decision we make has at least something to do with the Simpsons. -Z

AdRob5304 karma

First off I just wanted to say I love you guys. Modern Jesus came up on my Spotify a few years ago and now you're probably my favorite band. Seeing you guys and Cage the Elephant last summer was an amazing experience.

What's the process usually like when you write a song? How do you come up with lyrics? I remember you guys said you wrote Feel it Still in like an hour. Is it usually like that, or do some songs take longer to perfect?

portugalthemanband246 karma

Nah, every song and process is really different. They all come from different starting places (a drum beat, a melody, a lyric, a chord progression). Sometimes they come together really fast and sometimes we’ll work on a song over the course of a year or more. They most definitely don’t always come together as fast as FIS, but i think there’s something to be said about how natural that song sounds and that usually your first instinct is your best. Always good to try as many ideas as you can because you can always go back to the first gut instinct. -K

vanwyngarden233 karma

what was the moment you realized that Feel It Still was gonna change your life?

Sweetest thing your label bought you?

anything you'd wish you had known/done before the whirlwind began?

bonus question: is it annoying when people assume you're a new band? i'm waiting on the Best New Artist Grammy nod tbh

portugalthemanband341 karma

Honestly, it didn’t just get released and blow up immediately. It kind of happened slowly over 6 months as it went from AAA to Alternative to Pop on radio. We we’re out promoting it almost everyday for so long we were kind of in the eye of the hurricane so it’s hard to get perspective. But yeah it didn’t really hit us like a brick wall of “oh shit” just a lot of little “oh shit’s” from march to now. -K

portugalthemanband165 karma

I think we knew feel it was gonna do pretty well for us.. it ended up messing around in top charts quick. We were thrilled! It seemed to be that moment when it was on the radio whenever we were in a vehicle it’d be playing!

Sweetest thing..? Fancy dinners, champagne, friendships!

Whirlwind. Every day seems to be a whirlwind indeed. That process has really always been there for us and we try to cram as much in a day as life can offer from fun to playing songs.
Bonus- you’re always going to be a new band to someone, that’s why we play all these endless shows back to back. I myself still become a new fan of bands and musicians that have been doing it for years or even decades and that’s the best thing is when it’s new to you! JS

weird_guy227179 karma


portugalthemanband395 karma

Yes! The band has been there a few times I believe now for some shows. We always enjoy it over there. As far as the name of the band influence, we wanted to have a David Bowie’s ziggy stardust and the spiders from mars and the similar to the way the Beatles used Sargent Peppers to create an alternative name and reality use to describe a group of musicians. Portugal is a character name and he’s the man. THANK YOU!


portugalthemanband118 karma

We’ve been there a few times, fucking beautiful. Always fun to play shows in Portugal. -K

staypuftmallows7148 karma

Do you ever listen for the sounds that your hands make?

portugalthemanband161 karma


chubbyfats125 karma

Who would win in a fight macho Man Randy Savage in his prime or a coked up guy Fieri and the guy from smash mouth as a tag team?

portugalthemanband350 karma

Ain’t nobody taking down a prime Randy, brother. Not even the mayor of flavortown and his (I assume) former conjoined twin. -eric

WZRD1064 karma

"I'm atomic man, I'm the moon that pulls the tides that take the sand" what does that mean to you guys and how did you guys come up with it?

portugalthemanband156 karma

I’m atomic, man. ;) Portugal. The Man doesn’t always get down with punctuation properly. Kind of cool because we always see lyrics as being able to be interpreted from a couple different perspectives. Also we’re big fans of letting songs mean different things to different people. Even among ourselves we sometimes hear them in our way. -K

WZRD1032 karma

Ahhhh so beautiful! Thanks so much for this! And that comma makes a huge difference.

sem7620 karma

It does! A revelation!!

portugalthemanband58 karma

I got you

HeLiam357 karma

From your perspective, what do you think the coolest thing that fans do to show their appreciation of you is? (Generally or a particular thing a fan did that you thought was the coolest).

portugalthemanband155 karma

Cooking us food is a super nice thing. We don’t always get to sit down and eat like normal people on tour so sometimes a restaurant will invite us in and it’s always super nice for us and our crew. We usually invite the kitchen staff to the show after and we all hang out. Always a fun exchange. -K

fadetoblack100455 karma

I must be living under a rock, I didn't realize you guys had blown up, but I listen to your stuff all the time. Congrats on the success and here's hoping you get more of the same!

What was your single biggest driving musical influence when you guys were coming together as a group?

portugalthemanband100 karma

The Beatles and The Wu-Tang Clan. -Z

vanwyngarden34 karma

guys, been fan since PSU daze. My friends and I saw you at Wow Hall in Eugene, Oregon plenty of times. Thank you for all the fond mmrz. My question is in your wildest dreams did you ever think you'd have the #3 single in the country? What has the last year of your life been like? Am I still gonna run into Zach at Kellys Olympian?

portugalthemanband62 karma

That shit hit number 1 on the pop charts! So wild. Never thought this song would go as far as it has. Been a super fun ride and we’re still in the middle of it. Chances of running into me at any dive bar in Portland are high. For years a close friend of mine worked at Kelly’s so I would pop in often to hang, but not as much since she left. -Z

gupikiller31 karma

I saw you in Amsterdam! Does Zachary often down bottles of liquor during shows or was it just a one time thing?

portugalthemanband66 karma

I don’t down bottles..... but I do enjoy some whiskey. -Z

portugalthemanband61 karma

Nah that’s everyday, we like to party during the shows. Keeps it loose -K

portugalthemanband50 karma

We enjoy a nice shot every once in a while on stage during performances. Taking a sip from the bottle is always the easiest way to rock that! JS

gonch14529 karma

Hey guys. Portuguese (hah!l living in Berlin here, and big fan. I saw you guys play here beginning of this year and I was blown-away. It all flowed so well, each song into the next, and it all seemed so free yet perfectly rehearsed, which makes me question: how much is it you guys just jamming and improvising, and how much of it is actually rehearsed? Keep being awesome.

portugalthemanband53 karma

When we rehearse, we try to keep it natural and work on transitions and cues. There’s a bunch of room for inspiration. You can’t rehearse a 2 minute guitar solo, but you can lock down structures and try to find the best flow with the best feel in connecting songs together. -eric

vanwyngarden26 karma

best show of recent memory and of the last decade?

portugalthemanband77 karma

Red Rocks is always super epic and special -K

nedvedcrouch24 karma

Huge fan here. was wondering if there was a full version of the track You Can't Control it the song you did for the movie Sugar Mountain? That song wails.

portugalthemanband40 karma

Before we did Evil Friends we recorded an entire other album and that was one of the only songs from that session that’s been released. Some of those always seemed stripped down and kind of “Let it Be...Naked” I always dug that vibe of a band in a room recording live. -K

BoxingBadger23 karma

From satanic satanist to Woodstock. Where did you receive the saltiest French fries?

portugalthemanband49 karma

Not at In-N-Out -K

ElementalPatient20 karma

All of your albums sound very distinct from each other, I consider you guys to be more experimental than psychedelic in general. Are you going to continue to change things up every album, or has the success of the new album made you want to continue that direction?

portugalthemanband33 karma

We’re always going to make different albums. We never want to make the same one twice. -Z

vanwyngarden19 karma

how did that massacre at the Bataclan impact you as a band who has spent the better part of the last decade touring playing thousands of shows?

portugalthemanband42 karma

We played the Bataclan on the last western euro tour we did, and it was probably the best show on the whole run. I think it’s important to recognize the tragedy and have love for the victims, but not to give any additional weight to the fear. That’s not our job- our job is to put on the best show we can. That venue had an amazing crew and it was an honor to play. -eric

LivingInTheVoid18 karma

Been listening to you since you toured with Minus The Bear which I believe was your Church Mouth album. Just had a random question, are most of you atheist? I notice some of themes of that in your songs, just never knew if it was true.

Thanks so much for entertaining me for all these years!

portugalthemanband54 karma

Thinking for yourself is important. I know fantastic Christians who question theology and listen to the misfits. I think organized hive mind mentality worries most of us in the group. We’re all humanists and critical thinkers. -Eric

TheGhoulOfCool17 karma

Hey guys it’s Bexx I just wanted to say hello and thanks for the hook up for Sunday I messaged you on Twitter lol

I guess my question is this! What’s better? Some delicious ass Sizzle Pie slices at 2am or some delicious fuckin brunch on a Sunday morning?

Love y’all byeeeeee

portugalthemanband24 karma

Yo Bexx! No sweat John is hooking it up. I try to do Portland brunches any day but Sunday. Sizzle Pie is always amazing. See you Sunday. -Z

MrNudeGuy17 karma

What would you do for a Klondike Bar?

portugalthemanband72 karma

Our souls are already spoken for, so... sex stuff. -eric

achokingrose16 karma

Would you ever consider covering Africa by Toto (kyle would have fun w that)? Also, do you guys think artists/influencers have an obligation to be politically/socially active and share their beliefs w their followers? Thanks guys, love ya lots.

portugalthemanband25 karma

Hi! Dude, I personally think Toto IV is a perfect album and that would be dope. Lyrics are ridiculous but those synths are so epic.

I think that if you travel as much as we do, it makes sense to share your perspectives and share your experiences. Wouldn’t call it an obligation but we feel a sense of duty for sure

ptm_argentina16 karma

Hola! 1) Why is it for you as a band to go, like several times, to Europe and not to come down to South America!? Honest question. I really hope you guys get noticed that you have a quite great fanbase over here and we're way too proud of your success🙏 2) Congrats Jason for your baby boy! How are you handling that job is it harder than touring nonstop with ptm?? 😄

portugalthemanband22 karma

With the touring schedule we’ve a had big demand of shows early and our career over there and developed lots of long lasting relationships. We will always try our best to get gigs in South America as well. Til the one.
Thanks for the baby wishes. He’s doing great and is my new little fireball of light in my soul. It’s for life with me and the little guy! Music has always been a part of my experience on this planet wether playing it or being the listener so both elements music and family rule and circle my every breath of existence. JS

portugalthemanband18 karma

There’s just a lot of logistics. We want to come back, we had the best time there last time. It’s not as easy to tour down there to be honest, last time we did the Lolla tour but Europe is a place we’ve been going to for over 10 years and the countries are relatively close for driving show to show (1-3 hours). It takes a lot more work flying to every show and breaking into a new continent just takes a little time. We love it down there, nothing booked at the moment but we’re hoping too. -K

cpietr0114 karma

Hypothetically, how many hats do you think you could eat?

portugalthemanband27 karma

Turn the cap upside down and fill it with mash potatoes and gravy and I’m in. JS

portugalthemanband20 karma

I gnash on hats all day long, son. 250 easy. -eric

indiainked12 karma

You guys are my absolute favorite band! I love how each album is so completely different but still uniquely you.

Are you guys ever going to do anything else with the endangered song? I know the point was that it’s supposed to go extinct if the fans don’t pass it on, but it’s my favorite of your songs and I don’t have a copy other than a not-very-good rip from online.

Edit: also Sumatran tigers are coincidentally my favorite animals, so thank you for helping to raise awareness about their endangered status.

portugalthemanband13 karma

Thanks for the love, as far as copies of the song... it’s indeed a rare bird. It was even one of my favorite songs of the era. That’s part of how all these things work. Nothing like a rare song you have to hunt down and not have an easy way to enjoy it, I go through the same thing with some of my favorite songs. Long live the treasure hunt! It keeps it special, rare, and to not over indulge. Best of luck. JS

portugalthemanband10 karma

I don’t think we’re going to go back and re-release it again that I know of : / Sorry, i feel like there’s got to be a good rip of it online somewhere. That track is super ITMITC vibes, i’ve always liked it a lot myself. -K

rbrcbr12 karma

Hey guys! My question is: what did you guys do before you did music full time or on your off time between tours? I've always wondered what my favorite bands did for work before they managed to break out into playing music full time and how they managed to balance work, life, and playing/making music.

As an aspiring musician/songwriter, I find myself struggling to carve time out to make music these days (read: not dedicated enough to lose sleep after closing at my bar but working on it) with balancing work/life and all that "not music" stuff. All the while trying to get better and singing/playing guitar/writing, it almost seems impossible (I remember an interview with John's advice).

Just another kid out here hoping to make my dreams come true.

Thanks for all the inspiration guys, you rule. Congrats on all the success you're finding.

Edit: Wanted to mention - That All Your Light/A Kilo/The Home/She's So Heavy jam is likely my favorite thing you guys have ever done. Hearing the beginning of All Your Light at your shows gets me so pumped. Keep killing it.

portugalthemanband19 karma

We’ve all had some weird ones. I remember Zach working at the blockbuster video in town, John can build you a house, Kyle can make you the best coffee you’ve ever had, Jason is a food wizard. I worked in a small airplane shop in Alaska, working on cessnas. I was the graveyard shift manager at a best western in Seattle. We’ve all done whatever you have to do to keep yourself alive and keep making music

ChokeOnMacaque11 karma

What's it like finally getting some mainstream Top-40 success after a decade on mainly on the alternative charts? Seeing you guys on the Billboard Top 10 list next to Katy Perry and Ed Sheeran is mind blowingly weird.

portugalthemanband11 karma

It’s been a nice climb to the top haha! What can we say? The song is catchy and fun to play live. The world works in mysterious ways my friend. JS

msteinbrg2410 karma

Zach, was fantastic meeting you after the London show in September. I also absolutely love your photography work. As someone who is more interested in slowly getting into analog photography, I wanted to ask what camera(s) do you use and what's your favorite film?

portugalthemanband16 karma

I use a bunch of cameras and film, but my favs are my Canon A1, Yashica T4, Hasselblad 503cm. I’m really loving JCH 400 B&W film right now. Thank you! -Z

meg13ski9 karma

Have you guys ever driven the Alcan?

portugalthemanband21 karma

3 times! Once in a brand new Dodge Challenger in late September. That was my favorite- changing elevation, watching the leaves turn in real-time, tripping on the wildlife, and northern lights blazing the rear view mirror at night. So cool, so dangerous, so fun. -eric

SickDick697 karma

Do you guys light up?

portugalthemanband28 karma

cough -K

tortelenny7 karma

I remember seeing you guys at Vooruit in Gent - Belgium (a fairly small stage), since then you have become extremely famous, how does that feel and how did it happen? Did the release of 'feel it still' just set everything in motion?

portugalthemanband15 karma

Dude, that place is so cool and crazy! Different countries and stations sometimes take longer to pick up a single. Feel it Still had already moved to pop radio in the states when we were on that Vooruit tour. Since then we’ve been doing great on Belgium radio. The UK as an example is juuuust starting to play us. Everywhere is different, but having a hit in different countries certainly helps. -eric

suitcase887 karma

Do you guys ever get tired of sticking your fingers up each others bottoms?

portugalthemanband26 karma

Nah, best part of the job -K

Neonkahn7 karma

Hey guys two questions! what are your biggest musical influences and also what artists are you listening to right now? Saw you guys a couple years back at the after show you had after Lolla in Chicago. Most unreal show ever! Keep killing it!

portugalthemanband16 karma

Beatles ,Bowie, Motown, Soundtracks ,Sam Cooke ,Prog rock, Pop hits of many eras, it’s an ever growing list. Right now I’m listening to a song called menopause man. It’s a good one, check it out. JS

portugalthemanband11 karma

We all have super different backgrounds and influences. As far as bands go i could listen to The Beatles and Elliott Smith the rest of my life and not be bored for a second. I also find a lot of inspiration in classical composers like Debussy, Chopin and Rachmaninov. I also probably listen to the least music to be honest, Tasty J is always jamming some deep cuts. -K

vanwyngarden6 karma

are ya'll still tight with Noah Gersh?

portugalthemanband10 karma

Absolutely. Just saw him a couple nights ago. Love that dude forever. -Z

aaristides185 karma

Does Feel It Still ever get stuck in your head?

portugalthemanband15 karma

All. The. Time. I whistle it to myself in airports and stuff without realizing it. Good song! -eric

crevassier5 karma

Guys, how welcoming has the older fan base been since the exposure explosion occurred this year?

Also, it's surreal seeing your guys grow from the show up at Lake Tahoe earlier in 2017 to a return in spring to the Grand Sierra's awesome theater. Congrats, and you guys deserve it!

portugalthemanband20 karma

The family is still at the core. I still know and recognize the front of the line at most shows. Doesn’t matter if it’s a club, a theater, or an arena. It’s amazing to watch it grow.

sem765 karma

Have you ever considered covering John Lennon? You'd do any song justice and I can't think of a better band to do so. Working Class Hero?

portugalthemanband10 karma

We’ve messed around jamming Mind Games, wouldn’t say a Lennon tune is out of question -K

portugalthemanband10 karma

We’ve thought about that one a lot. Kinda covered a bit of his stuff. That’s one of my favs for sure. -Z

cpietr014 karma

Who's your favorite Beatle?

portugalthemanband13 karma

Musically i’m always drawn to Paul especially cause I play a lot of piano and bass but John is just so cool. Best taste in the band. -K

Smiling_Mister_J3 karma

What's your 3rd favorite album of all time?

portugalthemanband12 karma

Led Zeppelin III. -eric

shadowrain10243 karma

I remember a while back there was some controversy about "Modern Jesus" (favorite song btw) so what's the official meaning behind the song?

portugalthemanband15 karma

I think everyone interprets that song differently. To me it’s just about having faith in yourself. -K

tacotuesdayforever3 karma

Coming to see you guys in Athens in Feb, been almost 3 years since I’ve seen y’all! Hopefully we can grab a beer or something after, but if you guys had to listen to one Justin Bieber song for the rest of time, what would it be and why?

portugalthemanband6 karma

Athens is the best!! Honestly I have no idea. -Z

die_anuh2 karma

Hey Portugal. I recently went to your Las Vegas show at holiday havoc. I’m a decent fan I would say so I support y’all in everything. Was that show not your best though? I felt like it was very rushed

portugalthemanband2 karma

The holiday radio shows are always a shorter set for all bands except the headliners. There kinda like mini festival lineups. Just how those things go. No disrespect to Vegas at all! We love y’all. -Z

THEphatass6662 karma

Absolutely love you guys! You’re the reason I started playing music and became the audio engineer I am today. However, I have one question that has had me guessing for quite some time. Who is the baby on the cover of the American Ghetto album? Is it John or another band member? Or just a random youngin’?

portugalthemanband3 karma

It’s John and his nephew up in Alaska. -Z

Joyello2 karma

When are you coming to Italy? Been waiting a long time now :)

portugalthemanband5 karma

We like it there too! Probably this year. Keep an eye out. -Z

vanwyngarden2 karma

what is the biggest downside of main stream success?

portugalthemanband7 karma

Being gone from family and friends even more than we already are. This stuff is fun and new for us though. -Z

cosmic_crunchberry2 karma

Big fan of the latest music videos (well all of them really) and how you guys are always experimenting with them. Any chance you might give a VR music video a go at some point?

portugalthemanband3 karma

Not something we talked about but i wouldn’t count it out. We love making music videos and are always trying to make something new and fun. The live in the moment video was rad to make. -K

perpetual-reader2 karma

I saw you guys play live on The Voice. What was that experience like?

portugalthemanband7 karma

Very bright. Kinda like competing on The Running Man. -Z

vanwyngarden2 karma

favorite city to play in?

portugalthemanband5 karma

I don’t look at any list of tour dates and get bummed out on anywhere. Every city has an identity and some places have incredible history, but some of my favorite shows have been in hole-in-the-wall clubs in the suburbs. I do think that Red Rocks in Colorado is probably my favorite overall experience. -eric

fleur271 karma

What's coming up next, I know your last album came out recently but do you already have plans for the next one?

portugalthemanband3 karma

Always scheming / jamming / riffing on ideas / recording whenever we can. Right now it’s just a flood of ideas. -eric

popsickletits1 karma

voted for feel it still in triple j's hottest 100! wicked song. if you could do a "like a version" what song would you cover? coming back to australia any time soon?

portugalthemanband6 karma

We’ve been jamming a lot of Motown era tunes...that’d be my vote -K

booradleyhd1 karma

White or brown rice?

portugalthemanband8 karma

Basmati, son. -eric