Q&A + Guest Mix: Adam Ward of Portals [Day 3]
Written by Lanny Lieu on May 3, 2016
Day 3: Q&A + Guest Mix: Adam Ward of Portals
Hey there! Welcome to day three of KPSU’s 30 Day Local Music Challenge. Today, I want to introduce a Q&A and guest mix feature that I’ll be doing with a few Portland-based writers over the course of May.
Up first, we have Adam Ward, a Portals staff writer I’ve been following on Twitter for a while and unknowingly ran into before last week’s Teen Suicide show (shouts to Sam Ray for pointing it out)! Below, you’ll find that Adam graciously took the time out of his day to share his insight on Portland’s music community, recommend rising local artists everyone should be on the lookout for, and compile a playlist of 10 tunes he’s been diggin’ for KPSU.
Hi Adam! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m originally from Pullman, Washington, and I moved to Portland about two years ago. I went to Washington State University, and was Music Director for a little over three years at the student radio station, KZUU. Now, I work as a graphic designer full-time at a local non-profit, contribute as a Staff Writer for Portals, and freelance for whoever will let me write for them.
What do you personally think of the Portland music scene in terms of the emerging local labels and bands, show spaces, and the mentality here?
It has its ups and downs! I think there are some wonderful venues booking some really great music (in particular, Analog Theater, Holocene, and The Liquor Store), but I often notice touring acts (especially underground electronic music) skipping over Portland. Since Branx closed, I don’t think a really solid electronic venue has taken its spot. Though Women’s Beat League has been bringing in some great stuff lately (Jlin, Discwoman, etc)!
For labels, I’m really excited about Omega Supreme, who do some really interesting things with future funk and electronic music. Track and Field has been wonderful since the get-go. Dropping Gems and Bed of Roses are great as well.
Is there a local act we should be on the lookout for?
Do I have to pick just one? There are so, so many talented musicians here who I’d love to see get more attention. Mic Capes, Vektroid, Auscultation, Ben Tactic, Cemeteries, Arrange, just to name a few. Grouper is always underrated.
How do you do discover music? BandCamp? SoundCloud? Word of mouth?
I usually spend the first half of my day at work passively listening to my SoundCloud feed. I follow a lot of musicians and music critics on Twitter, who are usually pretty good at sharing what they’re listening to as well. BandCamp is good, though it definitely takes a more concentrated effort to find what you’re looking for. Also nodata.tv is forever an essential resource.
Well since our favorites are basically the same, you get a VIP ticket to this festival for sure. It has to take place in the forest, maybe the Olympic Peninsula or somewhere on the Oregon Coast. Day 1 is for relaxing, so Alex G, Foxes in Fiction, Blood Orange, Ricky Eat Acid, Mount Eerie, R.L. Kelly & Spencer Radcliffe, with Joanna Newsom and Grouper headlining. The second day is a dance party, so we get A.G. Cook, mssingno, Kero Kero Bonito, Burial, Kelela, and Sophie closing the night out. Then, right at the end, Björk shows up and plays a greatest hits set.
Favorite 2016 releases so far?
Betonkust & Palmbonen II – Center Parcs, Jessy Lanza – Oh No, Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered, Mood Hut – Disco Mantras, Teen Suicide – It’s the Big Joyous Celebration, Let’s Stir the Honeypot
Adam Ward has written for Pitchfork, Portals, The 405, and more. His work can be found here.
Feel free to follow him on Twitter.