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EXCLUSIVE: TOWN PORTAL sums up 2012 (interview)

When we last talked to TOWN PORTAL back in January 2012, the instrumental math rock band teased us for their new album. They kept the promise and the full length is out now! Entitled “Chronopoly”, the outing is streaming in its entirety below. Scroll down to check out what they have to say about the album, their upcoming dates, experience and more.

Hello again. Last time we talked, we needed to get to know each other. Almost 11 months has passed. Tell us about the biggest changes and happenings around the band.

By the time the last interview was conducted we were only a few days away from a European tour with our friends in Obstacles. One of the bigger happenings during the past 11 month was definitely this tour. I don’t think we had realized before leaving how amazing it was going to be, first and foremost because of the heartwarming reception and reactions we had everywhere we went.

The second big happening was obviously recording and releasing our debut album. This process has basically been going on since we came home from the aforementioned tour, and was only recently completed with the actual release. It has been intense to say the least.

Great! About the tour, what places have you been touring? Any special shows you remembered?

We went to Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, Austria and Czech Republic. Basically all shows were amazing, but there are some that stand out for sure.

Milan, where we upon arriving devoured a three-course meal in the company 20 or so organizers and general hangarounds at the venue. We then entered stage to play for one of the most mixed crowds in the history of TOWN PORTAL, but also one of the most engaged; especially the kids on first row that were dancing and throwing imaginative fireballs of approval onstage. Zürich, where we played at the craziest squat seen by mankind, with small houses built under the ceiling in the ~20 meter tall factory building, and a DIY outdoor heated pool. There’s nothing quite like getting off stage, then proceeding directly on to hanging out with 7 dudes in a bathtub rigged with beers, breathing misty Swiss air in January. Brno, where people really know how to show appreciation during a show. It’s always very interesting seeing others interpret artistically on your music (i.e. on posters, album artwork, etc.), and interpretation in the shape of dancing is no exception. In Brno you will see one dude doing the good ol’ hair-helicopter, next to someone deeply caught up in a martial arts inspired dance.

[smiles] Nice.

Moving on to the album, tell us about the initial feedback you received. Did you organize any special events to celebrate the release?

The feedback has been overwhelming really. We’ve had some really stunning reviews, but that’s only a little part of it. Almost every download on Bandcamp, has been accompanied by a small message that applauds the work, and we can’t describe how rewarding this is. Really makes things worthwhile.

We threw a party here on the day of the release, and performed the record in its entirety. Also a few other bands played, and a lot of people came by to congratulate us. Really nice evening. The week after we played an in-store show in a record store, complete with homemade TOWN PORTAL cakes, designed and baked by our very diligent record label.

Great! By the way, what were those bands? Never too many inspirations and local artists [smiles].

The bands were A2 and TEACH ME TIGER. A2 is a lineup variation of the band Papir, who must surely be the best prog. band around here. Moreover, they’re good friends.

TEACHMETIGER is an interesting new act from Elsinore, who are playing instrumental rock. Christian (from TOWN PORTAL) has been helping out mixing some recordings of their, which I hope are going to find its way online soon.

About this diligent record of yours [smiles], in what physical formats is the album available?

Vinyl only. It’s an absolute beauty though, pressed on frosted white vinyl. We had one comment that it appeared to be the color of semen, which is kinda funny, but we prefer to think that it’s ghost colored.

How different from releasing an EP was putting out the album for the first time?

Very different in the way that when we released the EP, we hadn’t expected to reach anyone but our friends and the most curious souls of the world wide web.

We were therefore caught a bit off guard when we saw the songs gain attention outside of this circle, receiving reviews and airplay. This obviously influenced the album release, given the notion that somebody out there were actually watching and anticipating our next move. Equally exciting and frightening.

Why? Did you feel observed? [laughs] By the way, how’s the feedback within your home town? How popular is instrumental music in Copenhagen?

Observed is maybe not the right word, but we definitely felt that someone out there had expectations, which is very different from releasing something no one anticipates. It’s sort of a cliché, as I guess this is what every band experiences with the “difficult second release”, but nonetheless it applies, and constitutes the biggest difference for sure. Reception has been fine here, though not overwhelming. I mean, reviews has been good, and equally so the reactions from those here who already care about what we do, but apart from that I wouldn’t say that instrumental music has its stronghold here, in spite of a relatively big amount of good instrumental bands. I don’t have the feeling that there’s any noticeable growth in local popularity with this release, but it’s ok really. A lot of people here don’t care, but enough do, and luckily we have the rest of the world within reach, and are able to share our music with lots of people across the globe. With all this said, I could state again that we reached more people than we expected, also here in Copenhagen, and as such, that is quite satisfying in itself.

So now I guess it would be wise to tour as much possible and let more people know about it. What are your touring plans?

You know it. We’ve got shows lined up with FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY in Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy in the course of 12 days in November.
Then December will bring us around a few Danish cities as well. That’s about it for now, but let’s see what next year brings.

Tell us about some of your gear – what are your favourite pedals and why?

I’m really not the ideal person to ask this question. I’m awfully bad at remembering names and brands of equipment. I.e. I would tell you that Christian plays a really cool light brown distortion pedal with a skull on it. I can speak for myself though, as I was able Google the names of my pedals of choice. One I do remember by heart though, is my T-Rex Bass Juice, that I’ve had for a long time. It’s a really nice pedal, but at the moment I barely use it as it’s not aggressive enough for Town Portal. While recording Vacuum Horror I discovered serendipitously, that a pedal I always assumed would be quite shitty, a Boss ODB-3, actually was all I was looking for. I bought it from an acquaintance for about the same amount of money that I pay for a new set of strings. So a Jazz Bass through that one and into my Ampeg stack (which I guess is really doing most of the work in making this pedal sound good), and I feel like I having a ripping sound that is equally defined, heavy and dirty. For a song like Chronoceros I add an octave pedal to the loop to ensure depth while I play the quite high pitched notes the main riff is composed from. No recommendation here though, as I definitely need to replace the pedal I currently have at my disposal.

Cool. Thanks so much for your time. Anything else you want the world to know about you and your plans? Feel free.. [smiles]

Well, we’re already working on the next auditory chapter in the story of Town Portal, and plotting certain things for next year that are yet to uncertain to reveal. We will inform you about these events in the future, prior to these events taking place.

Great. Very good to hear that [smiles]. Once again, thanks for your time, fellas. I hope to hear from you soon.

Live photos by Ronni Lind.

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