Philly-based lo-fi bedroom pop queer icon in the making, Portia Maidment aka Port Lucian talks us through each track on their new EP ‘Prince of Oddities’ out now on Z Tapes Records.
Arrived to them as a set of singles, Portia figured out how to bundle them together when Filip of Z Tapes took interest in putting out an EP with the artist [Port Lucian]. Consisting of just 5 tracks, the record sees a compelling dynamism approach to Portia’s songwriting whose main focus is on identity and personal struggles all while attempting to maintain impersonal language. Those factors somehow lets us transform the despondency that makes us want to shout at the absurdity of everything, into something dreamy and powerful. A liberating tenderness from the artist takes place:
“Prince of Oddities’ name comes from a feeling of “otherness” which has chased me around my whole life. I no longer am trying to be anyone else. My personal gospel now is to act and look and feel the way that makes me happy, and if that makes me the oddest person in the world, that’s cool!”
Here, you can stream the EP in full while Port Lucian takes us through ‘Prince of Oddities’, one track at a time.
‘MAKE IT UP’
Make It Up originated from a demo I made in the summer of 2019 when I was working in a lab at UPenn. Give It Up and Full Control’s demos actually were made at the same time. I would take the train to work and walk about 10 blocks, so I would listen to my demos on repeat and really try to pick them apart. I was really struggling with my identity at this time, and I think that really comes through with the lyrics. “Me, I sound like many others / When I should be clear / My fear take over my fixations / When I hold things dear” was written out of frustration of being trapped in a cycle of finding things that I loved, second guessing myself, and self sabotaging. It was actually originally called Give It Up, but I decided Make It Up was a more appropriate title for this song where I talk a lot about my wishy-washy personality and a general sort of discomfort that comes with being young and feeling alone.
20z came together quite quickly in April of this year, and it was essential my first stab at making guitar music. I am pretty sure it started out as a Lala Lala knock off after being blown away while opening for them last year, but I like how it came together in the end. I have a habit of writing sad songs, and so I made 20z as a tribute to my girlfriend Audrey and the nice drives we would take in-between our colleges in Ohio. I had been in a dark place for a while, and so meeting her reminded me of being a careless kid again and “the good old days” in a sense. I tried to capture that timeless feeling in this piece.
‘KEEP MY KNEES SAFE II’
Keep My Knees Safe II is just a *slight* alteration of Keep My Knees Safe, which appeared on Z Tapes’ Summer Compilation 2020, which was actually my first interaction with Filip! “My kind of darkness / it never leaves / but I should know that it’s over” speaks to the “stickiness” of traumatic events. At a certain point, you wish you could forget something so much that an entire period of your life is defined by regret. But in the end, I wanted to make this song a little less depressing than that, and I found that I’ve just grown so much lately and am finding myself no longer weighed down by things that I used to be. Ending in the layering of voices and “rain fall beside me / wash the dirt inside” was my way of sort of saying that every bruise fades.
‘GIVE IT UP’
As I mentioned before, Give It Up is one of the first songs I wrote for this EP (after a very long break (because I hated my first EP (lol))), and is another song that speaks to redemption. I find that a lot of times I fail at communication and don’t tell my loved ones just how much they mean to me. And so by saying “I’ll still come back home”, I’m really saying, “I’m lost, but you mean everything to me and I’ll always come back to you”.
Full Control is hands down my favorite song I wrote for Prince of Oddities. It originally started as a Mac Demarco / Cuco ripoff about how I like to ride the bus in Cleveland (as can be found in the Dogbite Records’ Artist Relief Comp), but turned into my quarantine anthem after I rediscovered the demo in March of this year. Saying that I’m “AFK” really just means that I’m distant and disconnected, and “AM” is my girlfriend’s initials. Honestly, when I take a look back at the words, it’s really not a deep song, but I just love the slow fold of the synths and weird drum samples I picked for this.
I have grown so much from writing this EP and I can honestly finally say that I have made something I am deeply proud of. I am honored that Z Tapes has taken a chance on me and I am beyond excited to share my music with the world.
A random question with Port Lucian
I came across this one bizarrely specific yet interesting thing when I was scrolling through your Twitter page. Port Lucian… Pickles. Do you really make your own pickles? If so, in an alternate universe or whatnot, would you consider selling them as band merch? (because I’m not gonna lie, that would be one rad of a kind.)
Yes! I am quarantined with my parents and they just put in a garden this summer. we have probably taken about 100 cucumbers out already and pickled close to 40 jars. My mom has a label maker and thought it would be funny to call them “Portia’s Prime Pickles” but i insisted on calling them “Port Lucian Pickles” (shameless self promotion). So yes they exist but pickling is a lot of work and I honestly don’t like pickles that much so probably they won’t be merch in the future… unless y’all want that…
Listen to the full EP ‘Prince of Oddities’ & pick up a cassette tape here.