INTERVIEW: New Portals


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New Portals


ONE needs very few reasons to listen to…


the music of New Portals. The Belfast husband-and-wife duo (consisting of Mike and Ruth) has unveiled the single, Sober. Proceeds will go to Macmillan Cancer Support’s Go Sober for October campaign. I ask them about their involvement and experimenting with an uncommon 4/4 signature on Sober. New Portals discuss getting acclaim from the likes of BBC Radio 1 and how they got together in the first place.

Ruth - who takes the lead with the answers - chats about the duo’s music and whether there will be new music in 2018; what the Belfast music scene is like at the moment – and a few new artists worth a bit of investigation…


Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?

Hey. We are good.

Mike ran the Amsterdam Marathon on Sunday and got stuck there because of (storm) Aphelia for three extra days - so, it was a bit dramatic!

For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?

Yea. We’re a husband-and-wife-fronted band that started out playing Folk-Pop - and have recently changed our name and gone all Dark-Electronic-Pop.

Tell me about Sober and what the track is all about…

Sober is about thinking outside of the box and learning to do life in a different way.

In this instance, we are talking about the amazing relationships where your connection is so strong when you meet; that partying comes easy without the need of alcohol.

Another strange theme from us in our songwriting!

There are delicate percussions/sounds set against a 4/4 signature. It is not a conventional pattern. Was there quite a lot of experimentation before the song came together?

Not really. We actually just ran with it a lot with this one and didn’t get our knickers in a twist.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Killing Moon

Proceeds from the track go to Macmillan Cancer Support’s Go Sober for October campaign. What was the reason for backing the cause?

For a day-job, Mike is a doctor and gets to see the amazing work of Macmillan nurses in Belfast.

That, and the fact that a song called Sober just came to us, creatively, and was ready just in time for October, meant that the stars had aligned - we had to go with that!

How did you get together as a duo? Were you friends from a long time ago?

Yea. We were actually childhood sweethearts and, now, are married and have two kids. We have been playing music together all this time.



New Portals have gained adulation from The Guardian and BBC Radio 1. Does that give you a drive and sense of pride?

Yea, it’s great. We appreciate all support from the smallest of companies, retweets; plays in small-to-big radio stations; Spotify. We appreciate it all.

We’re really thankful that we get to make music.

Will there be more music in 2018, do you think?

Yea. We are hitting the studio again next week!

Belfast is where you play out of. What is the city like in terms of music? Is it quite a hotbed for new talent?

There are a lot of musicians. A lot of talented acts, yea.


Who are the new artists you recommend we check out? 

Ella Vox. She writes great feminist songs.

Also; Wet are cool - we actually covered one of their tracks recently on BBC radio.


What tour dates do you have coming up? 

We’re trying to put a tour together- we’re playing in Camden, on 10th November, at The Crowndale with Palomino Party and All the People:



It seems like the U.S. is reacting to your music. Is that somewhere you are keen to perform?

Yea. We played at SXSW last year and had an N.Y.C. tour. Oh, yea; any excuse to play in U.S.A. and we are there.

Christmas is not too far away. Do you have plans already or will you be busy working?

No plans yet, apart from getting a week’s skiing squeezed in somewhere, hopefully…. 

If you could each select the one album that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?

Mike: For me, it’s Radiohead - although I can’t choose between The Bends and OK Computer

Ruth: Same as Mike on this one!


PHOTO CREDIT: Killing Moon

What advice would you give to artists coming through right now? 

I could say the usual “focus on your songwriting” and “play from the heart” but, really, I think the best advice is to learn everything about contraception (*smiles*) - and try to have good vibes because the industry is tough (and good energy will seep through).


Finally, and for being good sports; you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).

We are enjoying Kllo and their new track, Dissolve

Also…Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl by Wet


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