More than a decade before IFC’s Portlandia, The Dandy Warhols presented the nation with a tongue-in-cheek homage to the “Urban Bohemia” lifestyle for which our city is famous.Their first major hit, “Bohemian Like You,” articulated Portland’s hipster archetype long before Fred and Carrie made it cool. That song’s popularity was what guitarist Peter Holmström called “the pinnacle” of the band being “at the right place at the right time,” but they say they also knew from the very beginning that they’d struck “the right formula” for creating the type of music that listeners wanted to hear. The Portland-based ensemble, of course, took off pretty quickly to become an international success, and they’re still thriving after nearly twenty years of making music together.
So, with our booming Portland music scene, local musicians are likely wondering: what exactly IS that formula that will make them hit it big like The Dandy Warhols?
“Don’t try and be successful. That’s not what it’s about,” Holmström advises. “If you’re lucky enough to be able to play music for a living, that’s amazing, but pretty much most musicians out there have to have another job to support themselves. It shouldn’t be about that. If it’s about that, then, I don’t know, try to get on ‘The Voice’ or one of those TV shows, ‘cause that’s obviously what [you] want to do.”
Drummer Brett DeBoer agrees, emphasizing that it’s best for artists to be true to themselves.
“You just have to spend an incredible amount of time in your garage working out what you do best and go with it,” he adds.
Check out their interview above to hear about their their thirteenth anniversary tour for Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia, changes in the Portland music scene since they started in the ‘90s, why they knew they’d be successful even then, and what’s next for The Dandy Warhols. You can find out more at .