It's been quite a year for Portico Quartet. In a few weeks the group set off for their first 9-date North American tour (details below). I spoke briefly on the phone to drummer Duncan Bellamy. (photo: Real World Records)
In the last few months they've been touring extensively on the continent. In fact they will be tomorrow night at Jazz a la Villette in Paris. Any gigs which stand out in particular : "I really enjoyed the Festival Sous Les Pommiers in Coutances in Normandy. Nice one. A really good vibe. And there was a big venue we played at in Poland. That was a fantastic audience."
And how's touring : "From outside it may sound glamorous. It often doesn't feel it when you're doing it. Early starts, motorway service station sandwiches. There are definitely things you can have too many of. "
But nice surprises too?: "I studied fine art at Central St. Martin's. Went to a great exhibition in the Modern Art Museum in Frankfurt. Nice to have the space to do things like that."
The cuttings say they don't just spend loads of time on the road together, that they also live in the same house. "We did share a house until the summer, but the lease came to an end. And yes, we've been spending so much time in each others' company, we decided it was better for us to each make our own arrangements."
Looking back at the year I asked about highlights. Being the main act at the Barbican in March this year - they had been support for Maria Schneider in 2008 - certainly stands out. "It's the largest venue we've played. It's different, pushing your sound out into a big space like that, it felt a bit strange. I didn't feel it was quite the best we've played. But it's not the size of the venue, it's what comes back from the audience. "
London gigs? "It feels like ages till the next one" (Note: it's December 3rd/4th at ICA. The other UK date this autumn is the Bestival on September 11th)
And plans further out? "We've scheduled in a three month break at the beginning of 2011. It's to get some writing done. to get creative. We're starting to make plans for a new album..."
SOUND CLIPS ON THE BAND'S WEBSITE
Wed 22 September 10
USA Minneapolis Cedar Cultural Center
Fri 24 September 10
USA Cedar Rapids CSPS
Sat 25 September 10
USA Chicago world music festival
Mon 27 September 10
USA Kent Kent Stage
Tue 28 September 10
USA New York Joes Pub
Wed 29 September 10
USA Brooklyn, NY Coco66
Thu 30 September 10
USA Philadelphia World Cafe Live
Fri 01 October 10
USA Cambridge Lily Pad
Sat 02 October 10
Canada Montreal L'Astral