Portugal. The Man on how they wrote their runaway hit ‘Feel It Still’

'Essentially, a rebel just for kicks'

Portugal. The Man have unveiled a new stripped back live video for their breakthrough track ‘Feel It Still’. Watch it on NME first below, and read our interview with bassist Zach Carothers telling us about the track’s origin, lyrics and meaning.

Recorded on a rooftop in London, the new rendition strips the track down to its bare essentials to allow the true class of the songwriting to really shine. To date, the song has been streamed over 90million times.

Produced by Mike D of The Beastie Boys and Danger Mouse, their album ‘Woodstock’ is out now.


What can you tell us about the lyrical inspiration behind the track?
“Things often start off kinda like automatic writing. Words that sound good and feel right to us. It’s very subconscious in the beginning and as we fine tune things we learn a lot about ourselves and how our brains work. It’s kinda crazy. Like a Rorschach Ink Blot Test. Generally inspired by a couple specific sea changes that mean a lot to us. 1966 – Civil rights movements, war protest and LSD testing. 1986 – first finding out about New York hip hop. ‘License To Ill’. ‘Fight For Your Right to Party’. Essentially a rebel just for kicks. ”

Musically, how did it all come together?
“Honestly it was the easiest song we’ve ever done. Which is frustrating. Ha. John was just playing that bass line in a side room while we were supposed to be working on another song. Our buddy Asa Tacone from Electric Guest threw a mic on the amp and recorded it. We started banging on the table and made a quick fake beat. He was whooping in the mic and pitching it down. Asked John to start singing some shit. The verse vocals on the album were that first night. We had the song in about an hour. Silly. Some songs can take us a year.”

How do you feel about the song’s huge popularity and taking on a life of its own?
“We knew right away that it was a good song and felt confident it would do pretty well, but nobody thought it would get even close to this level. It’s fucking crazy. The song has gone gold in countries we’ve never even been yet. It’s opening so many new doors and that’s rad because we are all about experiencing new things. I’m 36, slightly out of shape. I’m from fucking Wasilla Alaska and I’m on the charts next to Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber. What the fuck?”

Meanwhile, Portugal. The Man return to the UK for a headline show at Heaven in London on Wednesday September 27.