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Portopak - 08.30.13

Interviewed by: Zac Djamoos (09/05/13)
The following is a mini interview of generic questions that we posed to all bands that wanted to answer:

Portopak

http://portopak.bandcamp.com

1. How did you get your band name?
The name is actually based on a scene from Abel Ferrara's first movie, THE DRILLER KILLER. The main character sees a commercial on TV for a portable power pack called Porto-Pak. I thought it fit well with what I was doing, since I was using a Game Boy as an instrument. I just nixed the hyphen. When I started making chiptune music, I made a song sampling some of this movie's dialogue and later took some screencaps from it for the artwork on my first EP. Ironically, none of the songs included any kind of Driller Killer samples.

2. How did this band get started?
Well, at this point the "band" is just me and a Game Boy. I had been interested in chiptune since first seeing Anamanaguchi at some really low-budget DIY festival where I was commissioned to shoot video years ago. I always figured it was too hard to figure out, until discovering LSDJ (a popular music tracker for Game Boy) and started tinkering around with it. I kind of thought most chiptune music had way too much of a dance music sound for me and thought it'd work better with a more punk sound. So, I experimented for a while and found it worked pretty well.

3. What bands are you influenced by?
Richard Hell & The Voidoids, The Dickies, Television, Butthole Surfers, They Might Be Giants, obviously bands like Anamanaguchi and Horse the Band. I don't think anything I've done really sounds like them, though.

4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Darcy Clay. The guy made one EP which was absolutely brilliant, then killed himself two weeks before he was supposed to play at an anti-suicide event. I've become pretty obsessed with that EP and my "if I were rich" dream has been to get the rights to reissue it on vinyl for a while.

5. Best food to eat on tour?
I don't tour, yet. So, I'll just guess that it's pizza.

6. Why should people listen to your band?
Because I say so? I don't know. I'm discovering I'm really awful at promoting music. Maybe if you like experimental punk made by a guy in his bedroom or you have nostalgia for old video game music.

7. If you could be any athlete, which athlete would you switch places with?
Any one of them that hasn't raped or murdered anyone and is just a nice guy.

8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
Nintendo.

9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Auto-tune.

10. Memorable tour experience?
Again, I don't tour, so I'm going to pick that time Ozzy Osbourne snorted a line of ants in front of Anthrax.

11. What does AP.net mean to you?
It shows that punk zines never really died, they just evolved to the Internet. There needs to be places like AP.net so bands and artists without million dollar contracts can get some kind of attention from the press.

12. What is your favorite song to play?
I really like "Take it Easy, Dracula." I spent a long time writing that one and it's the closest I think I've gotten to perfection in what I'm trying to do.

13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
I don't go on a lot of vacations, but I really like visiting Baltimore.

14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
They Might Be Giants. Always.

15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
Super-strength, so I can not look stupid when my girlfriend asks me to open a jar.

16. Any pre-show superstitions or rituals?
I like to turn on my amp, make sure my guitar is in tune and put fresh batteries in the Game Boy. I've found that if I don't do any of these things, performing will be very difficult.

17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
Just about everything.

18. What is your assessment of the current state of radio? Do you think it's a place where your band could flourish?
I really only listen to college or community radio. Sometimes I find a good oldies station that's fun. I'd fit into the latter, but obviously not the former.

19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
I host a podcast with my friend and filmmaking collaborator, Zane Crosby. But mostly, I just like to watch movies and hang out with my girlfriend and our cats.

20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
I'm also a filmmaker who's made a couple microbudget horror comedies. You can google them.
 
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