For a better part of the past year, Portland’s Máscaras have been off the radar while drummer Papi Fimbres explored the German life. But in nearly one month’s time the man cometh back, and once again Máscaras will grace listeners ears from many a stage – with dates already set for Treefort Music Fest in Boise at the end of March.
And what better way to celebrate the return of our favorite progressive instrumental psych rockers than to premiere a brand new tune? The track, “Kiksadi” was recorded (before Fimbres’ sabbatical of sorts) at Portland’s Buzz or Howl studio for the game-changing new local compilation, Mt. Portland, which is scheduled for release February 26. Curated by local musician and eccentric, Joel Magid, the compilation paints an intimate portrait of the current mountain of talent being fostered in our fair city, featuring the likes of And And And, Candace, The Domestics, Genders, Grandparents, Minden, and you guessed it, Máscaras.
What sets Mt. Portland apart from the myriad of other local comps is the fact that it’s not just a random hodgepodge of recycled songs with varying levels of production. Each band involved wrote a new song specifically for the LP, and everything was recorded and mixed at Buzz or Howl studios. And the whole shabang came together entirely through donated time (approximately 20 full days in the studio), good will, and the sheer generosity of Magid and his drive to preserve this transformative moment in Portland music history.
Mt. Portland will be made available for free or on a pay-what-you-can sliding donation scale through a great new platform called Generous. Any donations raised will be given to the local music education nonprofit, Ethos. Grab a copy on vinyl at the compilation release celebration at Rontoms on February 28 featuring live music by And And And, Joel Magid, Candace and solo performances by Boone Howard and Mike Finn.
For more information about the Mt. Portland compilation, below, read our interview with musician, curator and mastermind behind the project, Joel Magid.
Joel: The idea behind Mt Portland was to document the abundance of interesting music going on in this city at this particular moment in time. Because in Portland, there’s a ton of it dude.
We sought out a diversity of sounds, which I think the record really reflects. It was also important that we have gender diversity on the record, since that’s something that’s often left out of the conversation, and Portland has a bunch of really awesome female musicians. We really believe in all the musicians we chose, and one of the reasons we chose them is that they’re all strong writers, and we wanted to choose songs that stood up over time.
I asked the bands I thought were doing really interesting things around town. And every single band we asked said yes—including a few who couldn’t do it because of scheduling conflicts.
N&C: How did Stan and Buzz or Howl studios get involved?
Joel: Stan and I have been working on records together for four years. The last two albums I put out, Pyramids and Hyenas, were both recorded at Buzz or Howl, and Stan and I became really close during the recording process.
When I was putting the idea for Mt. Portland together I knew what I wanted it to be: A compilation of new songs written for the the album and recorded at the same place. I though Buzz or Howl would be the best studio, and I love that it’s all analog and that he records to 2 inch tape.
Stan really loves what he does, and the thing he cares the most about is creating good music, so when I came to him with the project and told him I didn’t have any money to pay for it, he offered to donate all his time and work. He believed in the project from the get go and gave each band one day to record the song, and an additional half-day to mix it, for free. This whole compilation is in debt to him.
Who does that!?!
I’m still blown away by his decision to do that.
N&C: Between studio time to record all bands and the cost of pressing vinyl, etc, how was the project funded?
Joel: Well, obviously Stan’s contribution of studio time made a huge difference. Funding the rest of the project has tricky. Initially, I was going to ask the bands for a $100 donation and start an online funding campaign. But I just couldn’t go through with either.
I get why people do crowdfunding, but the idea of doing it for Mt Portland made me want to throw up a little. It’s like saying, “Hey friends, I wanna do this cool thing—will you pay for it because it’s expensive and I don’t want to?” It felt so lame. Maybe that’s a controversial thing to say, but I just figured it was my idea and, you know, Stan was doing for free. The bands were doing it for free. I just saved up all my money and paid for all it myself and decided I’d complete the circle by giving away the record for free.
N&C: Will there be a follow up compilation?
Joel: I have been pulling out my hair for months just to get this one down, and, you know, it’s been so expensive. Right now, all I can say is I’m really proud this one is coming out and I’m glad I lived through the process. Ask me in a couple months about putting out another one. Until then, all hail the first installment of Mt Portland!