Music Q&A:
Portico Quartet

Jack Wyllie chats to Big Issue North ahead of the instrumental band's RNCM show in Manchester on 10 November

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What informs your music/songwriting?
I guess at some level everything we experience informs the music we make. We want to make music that is unique, that we connect and identify with and also engages with culture more broadly. With this record we were wanted to use a mix of electronic and acoustic instruments and find exciting ways and original ways to blend them. Hence the title of the record: Art in the Age of Automation.

How have you evolved as a band/artist evolved over the years?
We’ve been through so many changes as a band. We started out as buskers, playing with sax, double bass and two hang drums, every weekend on the Southbank in London. Then we got our first gigs and started playing bigger venues at the same time as we started listening to more electronic music. So our sound started growing to fit the venues and we gradually became more electronic. Now we’re exploring that space inbetween the two worlds and hopefully making our own!

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
We’re touring at the moment and then we have an EP coming out in January that we’re just finishing up. Then also thinking a bit about what we might want the next record to be. Aside from that we’ve all got our own projects that we tinkering away with. I’m releasing an EP of improvisations with film composer Adrian Corker on November 18th.

What’s on your rider?

Tea, coffee, beer, wine and fruit.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
My most surreal experience was dreaming that I had died and had been re-incarnated as pure thought, my only physical embodiment being a Persil Powerball tablet on top of the washing machine at my family home in Southampton.

What song do you wish you’d written?
I’ve never wished I’d written anyone else’s song really! However a few of my favorite records: Steve Reich, Music for 18 musicians, Burial Untrue, John Coltrane A Love Supreme.

What’s your worst lyric?
I’ve never written any lyrics myself. But if you asking more broadly its possibly Des’ Ray in the song ‘Life’: “I don’t want to see a ghost/ It’s the sight that I fear most I’d rather have a piece of toast/ Watch the evening news”.

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Portico Quartet

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