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
- David Katz (vocals, guitar)
- Matthew Hall (Bass)
- Gabe Mouer (Guitar)
- Zachary Wilder (Drums)
Discography: Golden Hills (2012)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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