Portland's Reporter Flavors Its Disco with Rock, Loves S.F. Club 222 Hyde

Categories: Band To Know
Reporter performs tonight at Milk
Reporter is a three-piece electro-rock band from Portland. Using live instruments as well as samples and drum machines, the group straddles the line between rock and electronica. The breathy, sensual vocals of Alberta Poon top a dance-inflicting mix of minimal house and techno -- and onstage, the group can get feed off a crowd the way a DJ would. We spoke with Reporter drummer/sample wizard Mike McKinnon for this run-down on the band, which performs tonight at Milk with Summer Blondes, Wampire, and Party Effects.

Describe your sound to a stranger: "It's a mix of disco and minimal house and French house with a bit of a rock aesthetic on top of it. Although we're more like a band, and Alberta sings, and we have lyrics, it's still like we're coming from the dance music side of things." 

Origin myth: All three members have been playing together for nine years, first in a post-punk/no-wave rock band called Wet Confetti. But they changed the name and focus of the project two years ago. "We just decided we wanted to start fresh," McKinnon says. "We were always into electronic music, but we didn't really play it. We dove in deep and started listening to that stuff, and it ended up influencing us a lot."

Why go electronic?: "We started thinking a lot more about the audience. Instead of us going from part to part and kind of confusing people, we just we really wanted to figure out what it takes to get people to move."

Influences: Ricardo Villalobos, Daft Punk, and Fred Falke, among others. 

Live show: Retains the use of samples from the group's studio work, but with live instruments and no laptop, Reporter can pick up the feel of the room. "It's not like, okay, this song's the same every time," McKinnon says. "Depending on the crowd, you can extend the part out and play off the audience."

Explain your band name: "We're reporting what we're into. We're reporting our music to everybody. There was definitely no hidden meaning behind us picking that name, it was just like 'Hey, we like the ring of that.'"

Current release: The debut full-length Time Incredible. "A lot of the lyrics on the album, they're really kind of cosmic and time-and-space oriented," McKinnon says. "And [there are] also a lot of references to love."

Goal for the band: "We probably have half a full-length [record] half-done right now, and I want to finish those up and get those out as soon as possible. We really want to get over to Japan and Europe really bad. One of our main goals is to get our foot in the door over there -- I feel like a lot of the the music that I'm really, really into is going on in Europe, as far as electronic music."

Day jobs: Daniel Grazzini, guitars and synths, "works coffee." Alberta Poon, vocals, makes jewelry and has her own accessory line. McKinnon runs a food cart in Portland. "It's called Potato Champion," he explains. "We do fresh-cut Belgian-style fries, kind of like Frjitz in S.F."

Thing you look forward to doing in S.F.: "Every time I come to S.F., I'm pumped about that club 222 Hyde," McKinnon says. "It's a totally amazing dance club. Every time we come down, no matter what's going on there, I usually go there just to hang out."

Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown and @iPORT

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