Sound patterns

Portland’s Patterns is one of those bands that have been in a state of transformation for some time now.

Portland’s Patterns is one of those bands that have been in a state of transformation for some time now. After varying band members and a name change from Oui Mouton, Patterns now have a solid lineup.

Through it all, guitarist and singer Ricci Swift has weathered the modifications. He is now joined by Patrick McBrien on guitar, Shoki Tanabe on bass and Ryan Northrup on drums, all converging to make music they like and, hopefully, something that will stick with their audience.

“At the root of it, I guess we’re a pop band,” says Swift. “I need to come up with some sort of term. At the heart of it there is always a melody and, at least for me, that is the most important part. Hopefully someone could walk away humming stuff.”

So far, the public has only had access to an EP available at their shows. Originally, they planned on recording some more material but, feeling a need to have something for newfound fans at their shows, they hastily put together the EP.

“I think there is a lot more energy in our live shows than there is on the EP,” says Swift. “It’s a good EP, but it’s a little mellower. I think people expect us to be mellower and more subdued, but [we’re] a little louder and a little more raw than what they would get from the EP.”

Fans of the group need not worry though: an album with all the appropriate energy and feel is on its way. They are looking to release an LP early in the fall. For those who have been following Patterns, they will recognize the song “Waiting to Grasp,” which was included on their prior release. Album writing has been so productive for the band that it has already amassed enough material for half of a second album.

Swift hopes that the new album will provide a more complete representation of their sound, more akin to what audiences experience at their live shows.

“Shoki grew up with a lot of jazz, and I think that comes through in a lot of his bass playing,” says Swift. “I love stuff from Brit pop and 60s stuff or folky stuff…I think [at the shows] there is more, for lack of a better word, emotion going on. We’ve obviously played these songs a lot, but there is always some sense of newness. We try to keep things fresh.”

Currently, Patterns are playing shows all around the Portland area. Recently, they came to the aid of a friend’s cat, Tommy. The cat needed medical attention and the band pitched in by playing a house show aimed at collecting donations for Tommy’s medical bills.

“It was a good spirit [at the show]. I was just surprised cause it was short notice,” Swift said. “You need a little bit of time to let people know. I was surprised by the amount of people that did show up. I hadn’t actually met [Tommy] until after the show, he was upstairs isolated from the ruckus.”

The Vanguard asked Patterns: If there was a sandwich made in honor of Patterns, what would it be called, and what would it be made out of?

The answer: “I think we’d be an ice cream sandwich,” says Swift. “It would be oatmeal cookie dough ice cream on the inside. The sweetness, you would walk in and say ‘I want the sweetness’ and they would be like ‘the Patterns sandwich.’ And they know you just need the sweetness.”