Today we had the pleasure of chatting with Ruth Aicken, one half of the husband and wife duo New Portals, out of Belfast, Ireland. The Irish couple excel at creating some ridiculously catchy, chill indie electro-pop songs that stick and their debut EP, Stereo, is everything that you could want from an synth-pop EP. The pair have just returned to the Emerald Isle from SXSW and luckily had a few minutes for us! So I would like to introduce, Ruth Aicken of New Portals!
Aaron Mannari: Thank you for taking the time! We are fairly new to you, so could you tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Ruth Aicken: YO! Ruth here. We are a Belfast duo from Belfast that bring you indie-electronic pop, chill feels.
AM: I cannot imagine working with a spouse all the time, but what is that like for you guys?
RA: For the most part completely amazing, but we have done well if we can get to lunch and not had a tiff most days. Writing can be intense but we have found our groove with it now, so we are rolling with it.
AM: I have to say that going through that on a daily basis is awesome and your music is fantastic. New Portals is a fairly new project for you. Can you tell us a little bit more about the project?
RA: Yes! We spent about a year writing and spent a lot of time in the studio, getting the sound to a place that sits well in our ears. These things take time so we were patient enough about it. We are now well into our second year and just started gigging and loving where the project has taken us.
AM:Your patience has rewarded us! Stereo is an enchanting and catchy EP. What inspired you to develop such a blend of sounds and genres?
RA: We have a lot going on in our artistic personalities so I guess we just let it all hang out in this EP! Sometimes it’s cheeky and occasionally jazztronica would come out to play. Sometimes it’s chill. It felt natural to present all of our artistic flavors.
AM: I couldn’t agree more. The sound is so eclectic. I heard you just returned home to Belfast from Austin, TX for SXSW (South By Southwest). Tell us about your experience there.
RA: I’ve said this a lot recently! We have had the most magical time, but we did! Mike, our drummer Matt, and I loved running about for the first few days inhaling the BBQ sauce and slapping on the factor 50 [that’s SPF 50 for us Americans!]. Then we became fairly busy with shows, sessions and interviews every day, then having the time of it at the Spotify parties and Irish meet and greets. The Austinites were the coolest breed and really receptive when we were playing.
AM: The BBQ in Texas is pretty amazing. You had to have seen a bunch of acts and shows, what were a couple of your favorites?
RA: We saw a few! A fave was Aldous Harding mesmerizing me with her gothic folk. We caught a few songs from SOHN…OH MY GOSH! So good! And 3 blonde girls blew us away one night and we later realized they were super fun band, Dream Wife!
AM: Seriously, that is so cool! It is on my bucket list to go to SXSW. Soon, I hope! Obviously you just left the US, but do you have any additional plans to tour North America soon?
RA: Yeah, we are making plans to do some tours very soon all things being well. We really can’t wait to come back! Thanks for the chats!
AM: Thank you, Ruth!