Who TF are Express Office Portico?

We had a chat with rising UK alt-pop outfit Express Office Portico as they release their excellent fifth single ‘Forget The Name’

In a very short space of time, Express Office Portico have established themselves as an outfit to look out for in the UK music scene thanks to their affable, unique blend of synth-pop, indie and alt-pop.The band gathered members over the global pandemic, using online adverts to recruit members while the world was at a standstill, eventually releasing their debut single ‘I Like It Weird’ in 2021.

Since then, the Nottingham outfit have continued to release tracks and continue to establish their sound, having their fourth single ‘Cosmic Joke’ premiered on CLOUT. Today marks the release of the outfit’s fifth release, the delectably synth-laden ‘Forget The Name’. The track has some really contrasting emotions throughout, from the aforementioned swirling synths to more pessimistic guitar lines. Lyrically, the track is about the two ideologies and people that live within us, the cautious and the chaotic, the one that sacrifices today for a better future and the one seeking to seize the day. Following such a thoughtful and lush release, we figured that it was the perfect time to have a chat with the exciting outfit and find out some more about their unique journey and plans for the future.

Who TF are Express Office Portico?

We are Express Office Portico, cut us and we bleed a mix of alt, synth and indie-pop. Our lengthy name comes from the entrance to an old newspaper distribution office in the centre of Nottingham. We’ve been distributing bops for almost two years now!

How long have you been making music?

As individuals? As long as we can remember! We’ve all at some point picked up every instrument we possibly could. Luckily each of us managed to find one that we got along with in the end. That lends itself to our writing process, every time we’ve sat down and written in these last couple of years since the band started each member brings something different to the table, which makes it a joy to sit at!

Why do you make music?

Music is so important to all of us so to put it simply we all do it, not just because it’s something we love to do, but because we feel a need to make it. Music allows us all to have realisations about ourselves as well as the world around us and being able to create a physical form of that in a song is such a great release. We find that making music allows us to connect with people without even having to be in the same room, which was handy considering we first started writing during the pandemic! So, it probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that mental health is such a strong topic in our work: I guess it’s an attempt to connect to our audiences and to show that they’re not alone in their experience of mental health and that it’s a completely normal and natural thing to deal with.

What are your biggest influences?

Each of us in the band have quite an eclectic taste in music so we have a wide pool of influences to draw from. But then with that comes a lot of overlap between different members which makes for some interesting ideas and music making. There’s a lot of influence from a lot of ethereal bands like Men I Trust, Cocteau Twins, Beach House. But then there’s also a strong indie influence with bands like Mac Demarco, Foals and Yellow Days. But that’s only scratching the surface!

What would you say has been your best moment so far?

Being from Nottingham it has always been a dream playing at Rock City, so the fact that we had the honour of playing there in July this year must be our proudest moment yet. We even huddled before going onstage like in a 90’s rom com.

How would you describe your sound to somebody unfamiliar with it?

An amalgamation of alternative, dreamy pop with heavily layered synths and your classic noughties indie. Throw in a catchy bass hook, soft vocals, and an overall feel reminiscent of the eighties, you have yourselves Express Office Portico.

What’s your dream “I’ve made it” moment?

Playing at Tiny Desk or KEXP would be great, although preferably the latter as we already struggle fitting on small stages. Other than that playing Glastonbury is on everyone’s list, ours too!

We love your new single ‘Forget The Name’, what more can you tell us about it?

The concept for ‘Forget The Name’ stems from the phrase ‘gather ye rosebuds while ye may’, simply enjoy yourself now before your situation changes. We’ve played on that phrase a little though: the song is a battle of two contrasting opinions of that expression. Realistically things aren’t all as simple as that, there are challenges that come with change. With change comes the fact that people get older, people move in and out of each other’s lives and we start to lose memories of people we once knew. Whether that be for the better or worse.

What else do you have planned for the near future?

Coming up this year we have a string of gigs to support this release which we’re all keen to sink our teeth into, one of which is supporting Bis at Bodega in Nottingham on the 26th of October. We’re also currently in the process of writing, so getting into the studio in preparation for releases next year is high on our priorities.

And finally, who is your biggest fan right now?

Anyone with a t-shirt of ours are contenders. But really that crown has to go to Olly’s daughter Penny, who funnily enough also has a (very oversized) t-shirt.