Review Fix chats with Kings & Associates’ Angie Portolesi and Stephen Portolesi, who discuss their new album, “Tales of a Rich Girl,” as well as their creative process and goals for the future.
Review Fix: What makes this album special?
Stephen Portolesi: The album is special to us because the songs are very much about events from our experiences over recent years….of course, they’re mostly written from a lyrical point by Angie, but we can all relate to them. I think one of the other big things we love about this album is we’ve been able to capture a really true representation of our sound. Live we certainly drift and float depending on the moment, but when we listen back to the takes it wasn’t a case of getting the songs ‘right’, but you go ‘yeah, I know what I was thinking and feeling when that went to tape’….you can really be taken back to the moment.
Review Fix: How did the band’s sound change because of Jim Scott?
Angie Portolesi: Jim, of course, is an incredible engineer, and his studio ‘Plyrz’ in LA is a mind-blowing place to record, but more than all of that Jim is an amazing producer and a wonderfully loveable man. His approach is less about what you see him do and more about the environment he creates starting from the way the studio is decked out through to when he calls for ‘cocktails!’
Musically we heard and love all the Tedeschi Trucks stuff, and knew all the hit albums he’d produced so having him working on our music was always going to be exciting….but what Jim does is to turn the session into an experience, he directs you away from trying to ‘do’ something and towards generating an experience for you to take part in…this simply put is where he’s able to draw the best out of you. So to answer the question I don’t think our sound changed, Jim just moved us to the point of inspiration and captured that.
Review Fix: What are your goals as a band for 2018?
Stephen Portolesi: Our goals are to see the album do well in the US, and get over to tour mid-year…ideally on a support with a big name. We have a great team of people working towards this for us and we’re extremely grateful to them. In saying that we totally love simply performing as a band…in fact, we even enjoy traveling together so whatever we ultimately do it’s always fun.
Review Fix: Why do you think blues music still matters?
Stephen Portolesi: Blues matters because it bleeds history. Its relevance is as pertinent today as it was 100 yrs ago, but it’s up to us to maintain it. I don’t mean so much stylistically, in fact at times I feel we lose the meaning when all we do is conserve or promote a style. What I mean is we owe it to those who developed the music through the reality of their existence by understanding what drove them to sing and write songs about these experiences.
Blues is still relevant today for two reasons…firstly from a historical perspective so much of what we take for granted exits because of 500+ yrs of slavery….even our distant country Australia was only able to be colonized by the Europeans (another story in itself) because of the wealth generated by the slave trade. The second reason is just as the blues fathers and mothers sung of their lives and experiences we too have the ability to sing about our real-life experiences….they may not be about the same but they are delivered by the same inspiration.
Review Fix: Bottom line, why must someone listen to the band?
Angie Portolesi: I think the songs will speak to people. I’m probably biased and believe people will enjoy the songs and the sound in general, but that’s a bonus…the songs are stories which everyone can relate to.
The other thing for me is the quality of the performance and recording. Ben, Matt, Luis, Kelv, our gospel ensemble simply sound amazing on this album, and the work Jim and Vance have done to track, produce and mix this into the final product is without a doubt awesome.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Stephen Portolesi: Next, we have a series of festivals, local gigs and a mini-tour back home in Australia, followed by a mid-year tour to the US next year. We’re about to film a couple more clips and plan to get back over to the US to network over Christmas. There are also new songs on the way so these will undoubtedly be showing up in our set lists soon.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Angie Portolesi: We want to thank everyone for taking the time to listen to our music, we don’t take this for granted at all and understand we perform and sell music to real people with real lives that are taking the time out to hear what we have to say and present through our art. It’s a privilege to have that opportunity.