Profile: Altadore

Altadore Feature Photo

Portland Indie-rock band Altadore feels like one of those bands you better catch quick before they hit it big if you want to say “I say them when…” Their debut album, Golden Hills, might be just six songs long but oozes rich vocals, catchy guitar licks and overt sentiment.

Indeed, founder David Katz, who named the band after the district in Canada where his father grew up, took vocal lessons for six months when he was 18. Now 23, Katz’s efforts behind the mic and guitar lead his band which began as a solo effort but now consists as a quartet. That first album produced a single, “Moments,” which got picked up by a local radio station.

Today, the band is working on a yet to be titled second album which Katz says consists of five songs with an expected release date of sometime this fall. The new album is more rock oriented and reflects the band’s interest in the British music scene especially from the 1960s. No large scale tour is planned, instead expect Altadore to schedule gigs locally and in Seattle.

Listen to Altadore’s music via Spotify, Bandcamp or purchase a CD through their website.

Founders: David Katz

Year Founded: 2011

Hometown: Portland, OR

Influences: 1960s Britain, Motown, Alt-Country

Current line-up:

  • David Katz (vocals, guitar)
  • Matthew Hall (Bass)
  • Gabe Mouer (Guitar)
  • Zachary Wilder (Drums)

Discography: Golden Hills (2012)

Website: altadoremusic.com

Altadore in the Studio

  1. How did Altadore get started?

Altadore started at the demise of an old band I was involved with. I played in bands throughout high school but it was hard to find success and let’s face it, the songwriting was sh– for a long while, which shouldn’t be surprising for confused teenagers writing and expressing their feelings through song. Pretty damn hilarious if you ask me.

  1. Altadore started with David Katz as a solo project – why did you decide to start a full band?

I finally found a great group of guys who I really respected as musicians and who I could put my complete trust in to deliver as musicians, songwriters, and friends. It was a pretty easy decision to make Altadore a full band after that, especially when our chemistry was so strong.

  1. Do you remain in creative control or is it a true collaboration of four musicians?

It usually works like this, I’ll write the bare bones of a song, guitar and vocals; enough to where I could perform it by myself. I’ll then bring it to the band and I might tell them what I envision for the tune, and then we dive in. Everyone writes their own parts and we usually come out in the other end with a complete song.

  1. Was it difficult for you to bring in other musicians and in a sense give up your identity as Altadore?

It was a little daunting and scary at first. Definitely a vulnerable place to put myself in and letting my guard down especially when songwriting is the one thing that I hold most close. But I started to realize that I could only take my songwriting to a certain level, which wasn’t giving each song the love that it needed. I never want to hinder the potential of my art simply to remain the only active creative contributor. It’s unfair to me, what I’m attempting to convey, and what people hear in the end. It was the best decision, and I think subsequent records will ring true because of this.

Altadore studio

  1. The indie rock scene feels practically mainstream – does this help or hurt your push into music?

Neither, really. I see where you’re coming from though. But for me right now, I just want to continue to write the songs that I do and hope that people connect with them so they see the transparency I’m trying to embrace. It’s as simple as that. Good music will always find a way to be appreciated, and at that, it has all of the potential to find success, whether it be popularity or monetary.

  1. Portland seems almost like a hub for alternative and indie rock bands – how do you stand out from the rest?

I honestly haven’t pushed Altadore enough to see any sort of substantial result within Portland’s music scene, but I do feel that Altadore has some sort of polished pop sensibility that can be lost within the garagey, lo-fi, $3 beer-induced slacker indie-rock found in most clubs any Portland night.

  1. Now with four members what’s Altadore’s process to recording music and how does if differ from the solo days?

For the record we’re about to put out, we tracked everything live except vocals. In the past, when Altadore was still solo, I would have Zach track drums and then I would track the remaining instruments one by one. Tracking live has been a great experience and gives the songs a nice vibe.

  1. With today’s technology do you guys even bother with a traditional recording studio?

We do. We started to track for this new record by ourselves, but eventually found ourselves in a traditional studio. It was just easier, at least for right now. In the future, it would be really cool to track  everything ourselves.

  1. You received some airplay on local station KNRK 94.7 – what was it like to hear your music played on radio?

It was incredible. It was shortly after the first single from Golden Hills, “Moments”, was released and I was still in my honeymoon phase with the record, so I was ecstatic. It felt like everything was falling into place. And knowing that tons of people were potentially hearing the song for the first time was an amazing feeling.

       10. You’ve got a new album coming out! What can fans expect and how does it measure up to your first release, Golden Hills?

It’s a bit of a side step from Golden Hills, but I definitely think it’s more accessible than that first release. My British influence comes out more in the new songs and they cut to the chase faster than previous tracks.

       11. How does booking a tour work for a band starting out – do you have a manager making arrangements or are you guys working the phones and booking wherever you can get in?

We’re completely DIY when it comes to booking shows and all press related things. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if we pass those duties off to someone in the near future.

12. Is Altadore a full-time project for the band members or is that more the goal?

It’s more of a goal. We all work day jobs. The plan is to simply keep putting out records that we’re proud of and work toward Altadore becoming more of a full-time career.

Interview with David Katz

Written By: AndrewT

Concert Review: Tom Petty Shows Rock and Roll is Still Alive

Tom Petty Feature Photo

Tom Petty is probably the only rocker who plays so hard yet seemingly so relaxed.

That almost carefree style to playing led to a stellar set on Tuesday as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers nailed down all the radio staples and a few off their latest album Hypnotic Eye for the aforementioned named tour that hit the Moda Center in Portland, OR.

Tom Petty

Tom Petty

It wasn’t a sold-out crowd as the 300 level seats were curtained off giving those ticket buyers perhaps a nice surprise to move even closer to the stage. But the raucous crowd that maxed out the floor and lower section received a 20-song two hour set of pure rock from one of the most beloved musicians of all-time.

Looking more like a lumberjack with jeans, boots and a military style overcoat, Petty brings a subtle but almost imposing stage presence that fit him well as he worked his way through iconic hit after iconic hit. His downright casual approach to playing is, well, not really that once guitar chords, drums and his southern drawl fills the arena.

Petty opened the evening with the cover song “So You Want to be a Rock and Roll Star” and then those-oh-so familiar opening guitar chords to “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” Another cover song “Baby, Please Don’t Go” which showed a bit of Petty’s comical side was next before the Heartbreakers punched into the first song and opening track off the new album “American Dream Plan B” which in many respects surpassed the album version.

It’s understandable, perhaps, that Petty gives an ode to an artist that helped shape his music career or someone he respects, however, someone with his catalog should forego the cover songs for either deeper album cuts or those fan favorites left off the setlist.

Beggars can’t be choosers as the always fantastic “Into the Great Wide Open” followed then lead guitarist Mike Campbell, whom Petty said “The guy who makes us who we are” shined on “Forgotten Man” one of the great straight-forward rock songs off Hypnotic Eye.

Scott Thurston

Scott Thurston of the Heartbreakers

All told Petty played just four songs off the new album which only has two duds -“Full Grown Boy” and “Sins of my Youth” – but an absolute gem in “Red River” which sadly got left off the setlist. While Hypnotic Eye certainly lives up to the near hyperventilating hype some in the music industry gave it proclaiming Petty’s returned to form – as if his debut album and 1979’s Damn the Torpedoes is all that defines him – Hypnotic Eye, Petty’s first No. 1 album, isn’t really a return to roots or whatever that means. It’s classic Tom Petty.  Maybe that’s why he feels like a forgotten man.

Petty also featured four songs from his first solo album Full Moon Fever starting with “I Won’t Back Down” and one of many audience favorites “Free Fallin’.” His side project with the Traveling Wilburys also got a nod with “Tweet and the Monkey Man” a meandering tune full of enjoyable melody.

Mike Campbell

Mike Campbell – lead guitarist

Petty does not bring glitz and glamour to his stage show. In fact, save for the full accompaniment of musicians and their respected instruments, it was for the most part quite lean and absent the usual lasers, fog machines and staggering array of lights that often accompany rock performances. Even the back ground curtain which did not show any such video until nearly an hour into the show was lazily hung as if it was waiting to drop and unveil a dramatic backstop.

But this is Tom Petty. The music stands on its own.

On the night, the playing was solid and Petty’s 63 year-old vocal chords held up really well hitting the high notes on “Rebels” and “Free Fallin’,” and shining on the rarely played “Dogs on the Run” from Southern Accents. Too often though, the vocals were drowned out by the rest of the band and he was completely smothered by the guitars and drums on “I Should Have Known It.”

Despite that, the band campfired it out bringing in the acoustics midway through the set starting with “U Get Me High,” off the latest album, the beautiful “Rebels,” then “Dogs on the Run,” the great “Yer So Bad” and finally “Learning to Fly” where yes even Mr. Tom Petty is allowed to make a mistake when a miscommunication with the Heartbreakers stopped him cold. But in true Petty form, he laughed it off as did the rest of the crowd, started over and delivered a softer version of the song while keeping its integrity.

The electric came back with the final song played from Hypnotic Eye featuring a great Petty solo on “Shadow People.” The first set closed with the iconic “Refugee” and the encore included the up-tempo “Rescue Me” and of course “American Girl” where finally the front man seemed to break a sweat. But not before he proclaimed that “Rock and Roll is Still Alive.”

As long as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers continue to tour, indeed rock and roll is still alive.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Portland (Moda Center) Setlist:

  1. So You Want to be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star
  2. Mary Jane’s Last Dance
  3. Baby, Please Don’t Go
  4. American Dream Plan B
  5. Into the Great Wide Open
  6. Forgotten Man
  7. I Won’t Back Down
  8. Free Fallin’
  9. Tweeter and the Monkey Man
  10. U Get Me High
  11. Rebels
  12. Dogs on the Run
  13. Yer So Bad
  14. Learning to Fly
  15. Shadow People
  16. I should Have Known
  17. Refugee
  18. Runnin’ Down a Dream
  19. You Wreck Me
  20. American Girl

Written By: AndrewT