Portico Quartet (l:r): Jack Wyllie, Nick Mulvey, Duncan Bellamy, Milo Fitzpatrick
Saxophone player Jack Wyllie and percussionist Nick Mulvey were more than happy to discuss Portico Quartet's past, present and future over the telephone from East London, taking it in turns to share Nick's mobile phone after some technical problems arose. They are friendly and articulate interviewees and their insights into the band and its activities are illuminating.
Unlike many in the new wave of young British bands, Portico Quartet isn't the result of meetings at music college. Wyllie and bass player Milo Fitzpatrick were friends in Southampton on the south coast of England, where they both played in the Southampton Youth Jazz Orchestra. Mulvey and drummer Duncan Bellamy were friends in Cambridge. All four moved to London to study--Wyllie and Mulvey at the School of Oriental and African Studies, Bellamy at art college and Fitzpatrick at Goldsmith's College. None of them studied music, although three of the band did music-related degrees, as Mulvey explains: "Milo studied popular music, different styles of Western music... Me and Jack both studied ethnomusicology. So there has been related study, but not of performance techniques or styles. I'm quite happy about that...it gives a certain liberation."