First Posted: 12/30/2014
For a band that was formed in 2007, Dopapod has become a staple of the live circuit and a perennial favorite of the dance/rock fusion community, with its infectious blend of progressive rock, mixed in with electronic dance grooves. In just the past few months, the band heralded high praise for its dynamic performances at festivals like Catskill Chill and our own Peach Festival, and has also released its latest effort, “Never Odd or Even,” which finds the outfit mixing in lyrics with its exploratory music.
Recently, we had the chance to chat with guitarist Rob Compa to chat about everything from its latest release to their appearance at Peach Fest, and discuss what’s in store when he and his band mates – keyboardist Eli Winderman, bassist Chuck Jones, and drummer Scotty Zwang – come to the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg on December 30.
W: Your latest album, “Never Odd or Even,” finds the band utilizing lyrics. How was the recording process for the album?
RC: “I don’t think any song is the same format every time; each song can have its own little story on how we pulled it off. A lot of it is teamwork. Eli writes a lot of the music and is really strong with that, and a strong point for me is lyric writing. For example, in the song “Picture in Picture,” he wrote all the music and I wrote all the lyrics. A lot of the time, I think the music came first and the lyrics came after, but not every time. Everybody pitches in contributions, like if a line in a song isn’t quite right. It’s fair game for everybody to chip in. It was a gradual thing – we didn’t just sit in a studio and write all these songs. We wrote them collectively over the span of about a year. It’s been really gradual, but fun. We enjoyed the process.”
W: Being known as an instrumental band, how did the band determine who would be handling the vocals?
RC: “There’s no real process for that. I guess it’s more of who’s the best vocalist for any given song. For example, I have a way higher voice, and Eli has a lower voice. I can’t sing low at all. Depending on the tune, we would decide who was right for it. I think a lot of the time it works best for us to be singing at the same time. There are a lot of examples of us harmonizing, and we just started getting Scotty into the mix as well. It kind of came about like that. There are also certain songs that Eli wrote that aren’t in the right range for him to sing, so he gave it to me instead. Things like that. So depending on where we’re at, it’s the right person for the right song.”
W: The band just wrapped up a tour supporting Umphrey’s McGee. What was the experience like supporting on a national tour?
RC: “It was really cool. I’ve been listening to Umphrey’s since I was 17 or 18; about ten years. I’ve always been a fan, so it was really cool to open for them and see how they do things. It was really fun every night, but it was also pretty educational – first of all, to watch the band play, and to watch both guitar players was really educational for me. They basically rehearse each night before a show in a room backstage. We can’t really do that because we play rooms where there’s not always a place we can do that. But it was pretty inspiring and made us want to work hard. Seeing them do stuff on the business side and how they handle the whole operation was pretty inspiring. It made us want to step our game up a lot, so it was great.”
W: Are there any plans to support any other artists on a tour?
RC: “Not that I know of right now. It’s something you have to be smart about – if you open for bands too often, you become the perpetual opener. We’ve had some offered recently that would have been really cool, but it just wasn’t the right time. We got offered to do some cool stuff with other bands in January, but we said no because it was time off and we’re fried (laugh)…it’s more of you don’t go looking for it, and when it’s the right time and everything lines up, it’s serendipitous to go for it.”
W: In August, the band performed late night at Peach Fest here in Scranton and received high praise from the audience. How was the experience for the band?
RC: “That was awesome. I think our set was on the first day, but I actually stayed there for the rest of the festival. I got to meet a lot of people who really enjoyed the set, and we enjoyed it too. It was a great time. Festivals are great like that – you get to play for people who typically wouldn’t come out to a bar or club show because they’re not familiar with the band. It’s an awesome way to get new people to hear the band, and I think Peach was the best example of that we had all summer.”
W: What’s in store for the upcoming show here in Stroudsburg?
RC: “It’s not like we’re sitting in a room concocting all these ideas for what’s going to happen. We don’t even know what’s going to happen. I think that’s the main thing for people to know when they come to our show – we don’t know what we’re going to do. I think that’s what’s cool about it…we’ve been throwing around ideas for some covers to do. Some unorthodox covers might pop up, so we’ll see.”
W: Anything we could look forward to in 2015?
RC: “I have A LOT of things I can talk about, but I’m not sure which ones I’m allowed to talk about, and which ones I’m supposed to keep under wraps. It looks to be a very, very big year for us, and we’re really psyched. By the looks of the calendar, it’s probably going to be the most intense touring we’ve ever done. It will also be a lot of flying along with driving, so it will be more far reaching things. I don’t know; I don’t want to say too much because I’m not sure if I’m allowed to talk about it.”