“Collaborations allow you to avoid being pigeonholed into a situation where you’re only comfortable in one environment," says Jason Sechrist, the band's drummer. "You never know what environment, whether intimate or gigantic, you’ll end up digging on.”
The show at the MCA is in collaboration with Cleon Peterson, whose Shadow of Men exhibit includes the huge black-and-white wrap covering the outside of the museum. The collaboration between the artist and Portugal. The Man came from a friendship between frontman John Gourley and Peterson, says Sechrist.
"Cleon is real tight with John, our singer," Sechrist says. “They’re a couple of artists looking for an opportunity to do something together and bring music and art together. I’m definitely glad to be doing this, because his art is really, really cool.”
Peterson’s works document trauma and violence from his personal experience and attempt to capture a darkness lurking within everyone. "By knowing that and not trying to push it down, people can in some way create an empathy," he told Westword.
Portugal. The Man’s music is similar. Yes, “Feel It Still” is the definition of a pop song, a Grammy-winning one at that. But the band’s music comes from troubling places, too.
“We all like pop music; we were all big fans of pop hits and radio growing up back in the day," Sechrist says. "One song might be pop, and the next could go back into the darkness or back into some gloomy stuff."
If the end of their Grammy acceptance speech doesn't convince you, take a look at the band's album titles or throw on “The Dead Dog” for proof.
For Sechrist, putting out pop songs, one right after the other, "feels wacky...How can that be someone's emotions? Surely you’ve got some dark feelings in there somewhere. I like to see a balance. We’re just trying to find balance.”