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In the Mountain, In the Cloud with Portugal. The Man’s Zach Carothers

Submitted by Commandrea on May 14, 2024 – 9:05 pm6 Comments

Photo by Don VanCleave

Psychedelic sensations Portugal. The Man’s newest release, In the Mountain In the Cloud, has us counting the days until it drops on July 19th. Hailing from Wasilla, Alaska (cue Sarah Palin jokes) the band melds together a complex and unique amalgamation of electrifying electronic beats, interwoven with psychedelic jams, atmospheric vocals and gorgeous elements of ambient post-rock to create their sound. They’ve rapidly skyrocketed past a mere band to watch, propelling into bands to follow territory.

Constantly writing, recording, releasing and tour, the band has an impressive resume of albums, nearly one a year since the band began in 2024. As the band’s bio states, “With untethered roots, the band offers an audible adaptability, one unlike anything offered by their peers, that allows their music to form over a gradual incubation process. Songs are birthed and then organically evolve over the course of the band’s seemingly endless slate of tour dates, along with the sliver of downtime they allow themselves.”

We spoke with bassist Zach Carothers about the newest record, growing up in Alaska, Justin Timberlake and more:

FPH - We’re incredibly stoked for the new album, In The Mountain In The Cloud, and the singles that have released so far sound unbelievable. Can you tell us a bit about the record, writing songs for the new album, recording sessions, etc?

Carothers- Well our last record, American Ghetto, is pretty much a sequel to The Satanic Satanist. The Satanic Satanist is all about growing up in remote parts of Alaska, the town where we grew up. It’s about early childhood, being so isolated out there and wondering why. American Ghetto was darker lyrically. So those were more cohesive, and were recorded pretty quickly, a few weeks apart. As for the new record, it bounces around a lot. Usually we have deadlines, but this one took a while to record because we didn’t have any. We took a lot of time with it, went into several different studios throughout the year. With that, this new record is a little more spread out, broader than we’ve ever experienced. But it is more balanced out. In actuality, this is the closest we’ve come to how Portugal. The Man should sound. It’s our best record and we’re excited about it.

FPH - How do you manage to put out an album every couple of months AND tour? And have the time to write so much music?

Carothers- It’s not that bad for us. Music is just what we do, it’s our job, our hobby, our passion. We’re really lucky to have our lead singer, John, as the main songwriter. He’s really good at coming up with ideas, and we’ve all gotten good at being spontaneous with our parts. We work well together.

FPH - The album art and packaging- particularly with the vinyl- is always incredibly compelling. How has your sensibility been impacted by the visual arts?

Carothers - It’s always been a big part of our band, something a lot of people don’t take the time to think about. We grew up in the middle of nowhere, so we ended up watching a lot of weird films, which is where a lot of it stems from. There was a little video shop that had some really odd, foreign animations and cartoons like Fire and Ice, Fantastic Planet. I see it a lot in John’s art, which then translates to the album artwork. And it really bums us out when you know, really big acts don’t take the time to do so. I don’t mean to hate on, say, Justin Timberlake. Don’t get me wrong though. I mean, I love Justin. He’s amazing, funny, all around a good dude.

FPH - I mean, we were going to ask about influences later on…

Carothers - (laughs) I think he’s great, and I do like his music. But unlike him, we do as much as we can, and we do, say, huge vinyl fold-outs on no budget. If we had that kind of money…man, we’d do something crazy. But John does all of the album artwork, he draws all of the pictures. I take the photos of them, then our buddy Austin does the packaging.

FPH - Where is your favorite place to perform?

Carothers - The big cities are good for crowds, but we’re small town boys. People will usually say home, and yeah, Alaska and Portland are always great. Although Texas has always been fantastic. When we play club shows there, it’s so much fun.

FPH - What would you do if you didn’t have a music career?

Carothers- Oh man. I have no idea. I guess I’d move back to Alaska and build houses with John’s dad. I like that guy. I also like nature a lot, we all do. I think I’d probably try to be a park ranger, fish or something.

FPH - Last question. And this one’s important, we swear. What do you think your spirit animal is?

Carothers- I’d like to say something super awesome like, a killer whale. But in all honesty, I’m probably more like a squirrel.

Here’s a link to “Sleep Forever,” a single from the newest album, In the Mountain In the Cloud.


Portugal. The Man performs with Telekinesis and Unknown Mortal Orchestra Saturday May 21 @ Fitzgerald’s. All ages, $14-$16 Doors 8pm

- Paula Mejia


  • katy says:


    I’ve been Googling in vain for about fifteen minutes, and my 22-year-old attention span is spent. Is there a website dedicated to John Gourley’s art? Stuff’s amazing and I’d like some more info.

    Also, thanks for introducing me to another great band FPH!


  • Joey says:

    “We spoke with drummer Zach Carothers” — He’s the bassist…

  • Katy says:

    “i see it a lot in john’s art, which then translates to the album art work.”

    Maybe I misinterpreted this… If so, who does the art?


  • admin says:

    Sorry for the confusion! Lead singer John Gourley does do all of the album artwork.

  • admin says:

    And I’ll see if I can ask their manager about a site for John’s artwork.

  • Katy says:

    Thank you!

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