There is something of a mixed blessing to repeatedly claiming the title as the most-Shazamed band in America.
On the up side, it means listeners are curious about a given band’s music. On the down side, it means people still don’t know who you are.
So it goes for Alaskan modern rockers Portugal. The Man, whose single “Feel It Still” has crossed over into pop radio, commercials, streaming playlists and other forums that offer lots of exposure, if not immediate name recognition.
“We’re the new Supertramp, where people are always asking, ‘Who is that?’” said guitarist Eric Howk. “You’ll see Twitter replies from Billboard and it’ll say ‘Big moves in the top 10. Chance The Rapper moves up, Jay Z moves down and Portugal. The Man slides in at number three’ and people are like, ‘Who?’”
It’s a new experience for the band that’s been together for more than a dozen years and been regarded as an indie rock favorite. Once firmly entrenched in the afternoon lineups of events like Austin City Limits Music Fest, they’re now performing around sunset to crowds that number more than 25,000 people.
And while they’re eager to introduce the crowd to other tracks on the new album “Woodstock” and its other seven releases, they know that – for now at least – “Feel It Still” is their calling card.
“It’s a really weird moment we’re having,” Howk said. “There was a feeling (the song) would do well, which is the reason why we called it our worldwide smash hit, to be tongue-in-cheek. But it still surprises us to hear stuff like that the (University of Southern California) marching band is using it now with a full production on the football field. That is insanity.”