If after-hours RnB and lowkey pop is your thing, then rising duo New Portals should already be on your radar.
Married couple Ruth and Mike sound a lot like Chvrches jamming with Aluna George, with their hushed melodies and lush, loungey vibes. It’s an emotive mix, made for late-night swooning or TV syncs.
As their chips rise, the pair have decamped from Derry to London, hooking up with creative community The Rattle to build their name outside the traditional industry system.
New ‘heartbreak’ single, Inch, should only help the cause when it lands around Valentine’s Day and, with a headline tour also in the pipeline, they’re pulling no punches in 2018.
We caught up with Ruth to learn more about what makes the New Portals sound and hear how hefty themes such as human trafficking, chemotherapy and depression help her lyrics to flow…
What was the first song you developed an obsession for?
I remember playing I Am, I Feel by Alisha’s Attic on repeat and also Stay by Lisa Loeb, many moons ago.
What’s the first gig you went to?
My first real memory of a proper gig was probably Stereophonics. I remember I was with Mike (my husband and bandmate) and he threw a cup of water over a couple who were really snogging and PDA’ing. And then we had to quickly run into the crowd not to get caught.
What’s the first instrument you ever got hold of?
A piano. My granny is a piano teacher, so that was inevitable…
What is your worst musical habit?
Probably not practicing instruments enough.
What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?
That there is no perfect way to play or a perfect sound.
Where do you discover new music?
Spotify Weekly Radar or Nialler9 lists.
What’s your favourite venue?
Anywhere with Sofar Sounds. I love the secret venues. They never fail in their magic. New York Sofar shows have been our favourite so-far.
Who is your current favourite band/artist?
Hard one. I haven’t been inspired since Sylvan Esso, so I’m sticking with them.
What inspirations outside of music impact your songwriting?
Meditation, relationships and partying. Our first batch of songs were about really heavy themes like adultery, human trafficking, chemotherapy, depression. I don’t know how we got away with it. We love choosing themes like that and flowing with it.
What track of yours best represents your sound?
We are about to release a heartbreak song called Inch. I love the story and the production of this track. Also Cage, our human trafficking song. It represents our melodies, harmonies and angst I’d say.
What’s next for you?
We have just moved to London and have joined a creative community, called The Rattle which we are really excited about. Also we are going to release Inch around Valentine’s Day and we want to gig and tour our vocal chords off! We’ll see you on the road soon!