Portland duo Mothertapes are currently gearing up to release a new record. With that in mind we decided to catch up with the guys to chat about their sound and the Portland scene.
What’s been going on in the world of Mothertapes?
We’re currently working on the new album. We really wanted to take a different approach to this one. Normally, we go into the recording process with all the songs complete, we get all the parts written, all the instrumentation figured out, melodies locked down, and then we record and add any overdubs and production tricks to fill things out. For this one, we’ve got some songs ready to go, but we’re also going to be writing a lot of songs in the studio, building songs track by track and letting them grow organically. Already I’m seeing the record turn into something different than I would have predicted. We very well may end up dropping some of the songs we wrote beforehand. I’m really enjoying this more open ended approach, it’s allowed for more spontaneity and freedom. We’re excited to see what it turns into.
We love your sound – how did the new track ‘Do Make Say’ come together?
‘Do Make Say’ was a really easy one. I came up with the fuzzy synth bass line first, then wrote the main guitar loop and just started singing. Tommy threw down the drum beat and the song was basically done in a couple days. We filled out the track with samples and added a number of bells and whistles during recording, but all in all, it kind of wrote itself. Love it when that happens. Often times, that’s not the way it goes with our set up. As a two-piece, there’s lots of planning and arranging that needs to happen in order to make a song work for the live performance. I’ll need to obsess over a song from months sometimes before I figure out the solution.
How do you find the Portland scene at the moment? Is it a good place to be creating?
Portland has changed a lot since I got here 12 years ago. I moved here from Chicago to play music. It was really easy to survive as an artist back then. Shit was cheap. Now, rent is through the roof, real estate and business development are completely out of control, and artists are being forced out. There’s a whole lot that could be said about the transformation this town has gone through. It’s sad in a lot of ways, but it’s not surprising. Portland is an awesome city, a great place to live, not a shock that so many people want to live here. It’s the culture and community that made this place great, a culture that was built by the artists and creatives that lived here. Now, that culture is being dismantled. The whole vibe of this city has been turned into a brand, it’s being mass produced and homogenized and sold as a lifestyle to people who had nothing to do with it’s creation. They’re inadvertently destroying the very thing that they came here to enjoy. This place is my home, I’m not ready to leave just yet, I still love this city, but the future is uncertain, for this city and for our country as a whole. I’m just taking it one day at a time.
What do you love most about the city?
The best thing about this city when I moved here is that everything was in reach. You had all the perks of a big city with the accessibility of a small town. So easy to create, so easy to find people to collaborate with. There was something happening, there was hope and optimism. I was young I guess. My favourite thing now is the food.
Do you have any live dates on the horizon we should know about? Any exciting future plans?
We’re playing this Sunday 2/19 at Holocene for the Self Group (our record label) 7th birthday. It’s a benefit show for Planned Parenthood and Outside In. 8 bands and some live art. It’s gonna be a great time. The collective DIY scene is still alive here, you just gotta work a little harder at it.