The New Portals are a new pop duo consisting of husband and wife Mike & Ruth Aicken. The name suggests that they were looking for something different, entering new territory. And indeed they have. They are now known for infectious indiepop songs, but their former band were the Americana/folk collective The Jepettos.
Their new indiepop sound is fresh and delightful. As the title of their second single “Groove Boy” suggests, the duo is indeed groovy. It is a sunny jam that puts you in a good mood instantly. Something bands like Oh Wonder and Broods also succeed in. The new song is an electropop ballad that makes Ruth’s vocals really stand out. It has an ethereal and delicate feel to it. A great addition to the other two songs.
The new single is a good reason to ask for their favourite songs. Here are their answers.
What is your all-time favourite song and why?
Mike: Bon Iver’s Re:Stacks. It’s just the song I play when i’m stressed. When I had exams, i’d put it on repeat going to bed the night before and let it play all night.
Which song is perfect for a Road Trip and why?
Nothing specific but we do have a Tim & Eric clip that we always watch on youtube everytime we’re about to set off. It’s a sketch called Road Trip.
To which song do you like to clean? And Why?
Everything in its right place by Radiohead. No further explanation needed.
What’s the perfect song to wake up with? And Why?
We are gonna say a New Portals track- because one of our strategies after writing a new song is to let it breathe for a few days… then listening back first thing in the morning, we’ll know if it’s actually any good or not.
What’s your favourite artist from your home city? What’s so special about them?
Right now our favourite Belfast band is Tuskany. We love the production on their tracks and the catchy melodies.
Which artist do you think is too underrated and which one is overrated? Why do you think that?
2015 was all about Sylvan Esso for us – their song structures, melodies and beats have been really inspirational for us but they didn’t seem to have as much radio attention in the UK as we would have expected.
If you could be one artist for a day, who would that be? And why?
Ed Sheeran, Foy Vance, Iain Archer – anyone who gets to do cowrites with other great artists on a regular basis.
What’s the best song to make love to? (…to ask someone out?) Did you already use it?
Anything off the album “Grace” by Jeff Buckley!
What’s the most beautiful lyric you’ve ever heard? What’s so pretty about it?
Mike: Lately this one caught my attention: Oh Wonder, “Without You”, they sing ‘can’t be on my own without you’. It just doesn’t make sense logically but I completely understand what it means!
At which place would you love to play a concert? Why that place?
Ruth: My dream has always been to play on the Jools Holland show – not sure if that counts as a concert?