Portugal. The Man Weren't Expecting 'Feel It Still" To Get So Big

March 22, 2018

ALT 92.3 Radio

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By Joe Cingrana

By now you've certainly heard Portugal. The Man's hit single "Feel It Still" -- whether on air, online, or in that Apple iPad Pro commercial which, interestingly enough, landed the band the number one spot on Billboard & Clio’s Top TV Commercials chart in June of 2017.

When band members Eric Howk & Zach Carothers recently dropped by the station to chat with ALT 92.3 Radio's Omar Torres, the guys say they knew off the bat that they had something special when recording the song.

"We knew we had something special," says bassist Zach Carothers, but admits no one in the band could have ever guessed just how far it would go. "You can not anticipate what the song did -- it went everywhere," Zach says humbly. "Nobody expected this."

Part of that surprise stems from the band members feeling like it was one of their most natural tracks to write during the sessions for the bands latest album, Woodstock. "We wrote it in about 45 minutes, " says Zach, admitting how frustrating that is since it usually takes them about a year (along with multiple bangs of the head against a concrete wall).

See Also: WATCH: Portugal. The Man Talk "Hail Satan" GRAMMY Moment & More

Zach remembers that the track even came about during a side-session while they were working on what would be their second single, "Live In the Moment."

"We were doing mixes on that and changing some structures up, and John (Gourley) just kind of took a break and went into the lounge and started playing bass. And our buddy Asa Taccone (brother of Jorma Taccone and extended member of The Lonely Island) from Electric Guest, who was there working on his own stuff in a different room, was like 'hey man, let me throw a mic on the bass amp, let me just track that real quick.' It was almost annoying at first." 

"He's like, 'you got any lyrics? You got any ideas... you got an idea for a bridge?' - he's got amazing energy," says Zach, while both he and guitarist Eric both agree with a laugh that he's "real enthusiastic" even when the band tends to be the polar opposite.

Although they wanted to get back to work on "Live In the Moment" Asa just kept pushing them and in the end, it turned out to be one of the more enjoyable times while recording Woodstock.

"It was really fun," admits Zach. "We didn't even write down lyrics. We'd just come up with a line, press record and do it, hit stop and write another line -- it just happened so fast."

As for the Marvelettes "Mr Postman" sample used, Zach says that came about by simply humming along with the track. 

"We had the lyric 'I'm a rebel just for kicks' for a while," says Zach. "We had been trying to use it for several different things but wasn't right and John just sang it as a placeholder over that chorus and, honestly, we just couldn't hear anything else.

"So, yeah. It worked then and it works now!"