Dopapod is not so much a jam band as they are a band that improvises. They are an electronic band without computers. They are a metal band with groove and soul. They are a funk band that’s not afraid to get intricate. With no regard towards toward stylistic boundaries, the sound that emerges from the quartet both live and in the studio is as varied and diverse as the many influences that they adapt from. Their approach to complementing a distinct genre bending sound to top-notch musicianship is what has kept the quartet committed to evolving their unique brand. This progressive song writing leaves room for boundless improvisational exploration and has been the root of why more and more music lovers are steadily growing in numbers eagerly returning for more.
We got to talk with Dopapod’s Rob Compa in the midst of their Fall 2013 tour:
How has the tour been going so far?
It has been awesome! Fall touring is what I look most forward to in the year. School’s back in session and there’s this excitement in the air. Festival season before that in the summer is a rushed and stressful time where you get in and do a half hour sound check and then you’re out of there so I think we’re all excited to do clubs again.
Any funny stories from the road?
Hold on a second. Eli is going to refresh my memory on the story. Okay. So a while ago we were in Tennessee and we stopped at this restaurant (English Mountain Trout Farm in Sevierville, TN) that has it’s own man-made pond filled with trout and the gimmick at the restaurant is you catch your own trout and then they cook it for you. What was their slogan Eli? “You hook ‘em we cook ‘em.” So we went to this place. What was the guy’s name Eli? Charlie! This big redneck guy started talking to us and apparently we were in the moonshine capitol of the world. So we were like, okay, where can we get some sick moonshine? He was like, “Oh you don’t want to go get moonshine. You’ll get shot on the spot if you try to walk up there and get some.” And he started telling us some stories. I got to do it in the voice for an added affect: (in a southern accent) “Man I was up on Abe’s farm the other day and this young guy came up in his pick-up truck and they didn’t want him there and Abe shot him in the back of his head with a bird shot. Apparently that’s just a common occurrence there. I was like, “Oh my gosh, he shot him in the back of the head!?” And he said, “Yeah but it was just with a birdshot. It didn’t break the skin and it didn’t kill him.” And all that happened to the guy that shot him was he got his shotgun taken away. That was it. That was the only penalty. Oh. And they found $200 too! And then after that we went to this cool cave. It was a guided tour of this cave that used to be an old moonshine still and it still had old barrels down there and stuff. It was kind of corny actually. They had this cheesy music playing while we were walking down there and everything was lit up but it was kind of fun. I think that’s the most recent one. That’s the most recent one we can think of that’s okay for the kids to hear.
What is your most memorable live show with Dopapod?
My personal favorite in recent memory is this past February we played the Paradise (Rock Club) in Boston. That’s where we started the band and that venue we used to describe when we were in college. It’s a really cool place and we would say, “Someday we’re going to headline the Paradise” and it was just this sort of pipe dream. You know, college dropouts that started a band. And then we finally headlined it and sold it out. That was a really special night. So I think without even hesitating that’s been my favorite in the last year or so. That’s my favorite club show.
How do you connect with an audience during a live show?
I personally am not actually thinking about if the audience is having a good time or not while I’m playing. It’s sort of funny. If I’m having a good time with the other guys on stage, I can just sort of be on autopilot and trust that the crowd is having a good time. We do the best we can. I’m just paying attention to interacting with the other band members on stage and if the crowd loves it, good for them. I’m just too focused on playing with the other guys. I think it usually works out for the best that way. I kind of think that’s how it’s supposed to be. I look at the crowd and make eye contact. I always see so many people I know out there. All the people in the front are usually people I’ve met a few times at least. It’s not like I’m a weird introverted little hermit or anything. I’m looking at everybody and having a great time. I’m not thinking about what I need to play to get a rise out of people, I’m just going for it.
Any funny fan stories? Any weird things they’ve done or thrown on stage?
Yeah! Okay, so one time we had a Boston show and we covered “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It was a total secret and no one knew we were going to do it. I don’t know how these people pulled it off without getting kicked out of the club for it but they just threw panties at us. I don’t know how they could’ve gotten them off in between the time we started off the song and the time they threw them which was at a big peak in the song but they did it and more power to them! And there was definitely more than one pair. There were about four pairs of underwear. There’s been some other times – I know we played a festival a while ago and we were sound checking with the whole crowd sitting there waiting for us to stop sound checking. I think this was in South Carolina. And there was this one guy passed out on the rail. I was like, “Hey buddy are you okay?” The second I asked that he popped up like he was spring-loaded and hopped up there (on stage) in a microsecond. I didn’t even have time to stop him. I don’t know what he was on – something otherworldly. He was definitely under the influence of a few things. We got him right off of there. I’m sure there’s more but that’s a few things that come to mind. I’m sure I could think of a million more if I needed to and thought really hard about it.
Any new music on the way?
Yeah! We just wrote two new songs when we had a few days off in Nashville – one called, “Upside of Down” and another called, “Sleeping Giant.” We have some other tentative names but that’s what we’re calling them for now. And we’re really happy with them! We put a lot of time and effort into them and they came out well. And along with that we have a lot of other songs we’ve written that aren’t on any albums yet but we have more than enough music to record a new album and we’re trying to decide when we want to do it. We got all the material ready to record so we’re pretty excited about that too!
Be sure to grab your tickets and check out Dopapod when they play The State Theatre on September 27th!