The Portraits - Lions and Butterflies

Met het album ' Lions and Butterflies '  heeft het echtpaar en alt-folk duo Jeremy en Lotharingen Millington onder de bandnaam ' The Portraits ' een prachtig album gemaakt. 

Het duo produceerde het album zelf en de passie en liefde voor de muziek zijn goed terug te horen op de elf nummers van het album.  Dat de muziek belangrijk is voor het echtpaar blijkt uit de keuze om de muziek onderweg op te nemen. Daarom lijkt het ook zo vanzelfsprekend dat de muziek het verhaal van het dagelijkse leven weergeeft aan de luisteraar.

De muziek is prachtig gelaagd en ook tekstueel valt er erg veel te genieten. Ik heb genoten van het mooie album van ' The Portraits' . Mijn advies is neem rustig de tijd om op een muzikale ontdekkingsreis the gaan met het het echtpaar en alt-folk duo Jeremy en Lotharingen Millington. Je zult er geen spijt van krijgen.




What was the first tune(s) you learned?

Before we met and formed The Portraits we had both been playing independently of one another for quite a few years. I think the first thing that we did together was forming a duo that played cover songs in a pub down on the Isle of Wight in southern England. One of the songs that I remember fondly playing with Lorraine was Waterloo Sunset by the Kinks. Quite funny when you consider that Waterloo sunset is an image of London and London is where we have ended up living 10 years later. 

When did you start writing about music—and what or who were your early passions and influences? 

We started writing music together in the mid 1990s and at that time Lorraine's influences were largely Irish ones. Having grown up in rural western Ireland, Lorraine had been brought up with the tradition of improvising songs, mainly traditional tunes, in pubs in a session environment. Jeremy on the other hand had grown up in Bristol and had been inundated with the Trip-hop sounds of the likes of Massive Attack and Portishead. So our first music together was a mixture of electronica and Celtic melodies and harmonies.

Who are your favorite musicians? Groups? CD's?

We love the harmonic sounds of music from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The likes of Crosby Stills and Nash, the Beatles through to Clannad, Sinead O'Connor and Kate Bush are all major influences. More recently we are very much into groups like Zervas and Pepper who have brought those styles back to life in a modern context. We also love electronica of the type created by the likes of Bat For Lashes and her album Two Suns was a favourite in recent years.

Do you get nervous before a performance ?

Probably not as much as we should, as people often say a certain level of nervousness creates an electric performance. We are very comfortable in the Live setting, but we have to admit we did get nervous before our big London CD launch on 24 September at Cecil Sharp House mainly because there was a huge crowd and a lot of expectation. Luckily for us it went brilliantly.

How do you promote your shows?

Through a mixture of social media, private invitations and as much radio coverage as we can command. These things are very much a product of a mixture of luck and extremely hard work.

What's your outlook on the record industry today?

Largely an extremely positive outlook. We love the fact that artists are now in control of their own careers and that no record label can mould you into what they want you to be whilst fleecing you for 90% of the money that is due to you. Certainly it is a difficult industry, but then it always was. The difference is that you don't have to put all your eggs in one basket as you would once have had to do by signing to a label and keeping everything crossed that glory would come your way. Now the artist controls and runs it all and more than ever, self belief and persistence are key. We try every single day to tell somebody new about our music, whether it is a blog, radio station or a member of the public that we discover online. It is a question of Chip Chip Chip – chipping away for the sake of what you love, getting a name for yourself one fan at a time. Now we just need the big media - BBC, MTV, etc - to catch up and recognise that 99.99999% of the world's great new music no longer comes from the major labels.

What's your claim to fame?

So many good things have happened to us, from playing wonderful festivals like Glastonbury festival to being played on major radio stations in the UK. But I think the achievement that we are most proud of the date is that of recording 2000 voices up and down the UK and including and naming every single voice that we recorded on our single The Rest Of Time which had the goal of saving lives lost to blood cancers, by encouraging more people to sign up to become blood stem cell donors. The song reached the iTunes singer songwriter charts in the UK and received widespread coverage. We consider this our greatest achievement not because it brought attention to us but because potentially it might have saved many lives.

What inspires you to do what you do?

A profound sense of wanting to put the world to rights. We write about things that we feel desperately matter. We are not generally a 'love song' band unless the love song is about a love for the planet and each other and the fact that we've all still got such a long way to go to make this a world that we can all be proud of.

What embarrassing songs might I find on your MP3 player? 

Probably something by the Muppets. One of Jeremy's 'guilty pleasure' songs is the Rainbow Connection by Kermit the frog which he considers one of the greatest musical masterpieces of all time. Oh and by the way, he does a mean impression of Kermit, but don't tell anyone. ;-) 

If you weren't singing, what would you be doing?

Lorraine would almost certainly be an artist or art teacher, which is her second great passion in life in which she does genuinely do when she gets time. Jeremy might be a music teacher but secretly harbours an ambition to be a professional chef.... although I don't think he'd last long in a highly pressured kitchen environment. 

Is there something you would like to do more of in the future?

Interactive music making. We loved recording the two thousand voices for our song The Rest Of Time, and we'd love to do more songs like it where we collect contributions from all over the country - perhaps the world, recording voices, people body-popping or making sounds on their phones and then layering all the sounds we've collected together to make a song, or even a whole album.

Where would you like to find yourself in ten years?

In the position of being well enough known to fill a medium sized venue with people that love what we do and share our vision. That's our definition of success.