On October 27, Dopapod will release their fifth studio album, MEGAGEM, simultaneously their most focused and thematically ambitious affair to date. The release of MEGAGEM will coincide with a cross-country tour for Dopapod, spreading their blisteringly progressive, good-time grooves and ending with a New Year’s Eve show in Boston, where they started out.
Then, the band will take a year off to focus on themselves. Following seven years of ceaseless touring, the sabbatical is a blueprint for wellness borne from love and mutual respect amongst old friends. It’s a pre-emptive move of self-preservation partially inspired by the TED Talk, “The Power of Time Off“.
“Every seven years this guy closes his design firm and everyone who works for the company works on their own projects for the year,” says keyboardist and singer/songwriter Eli Winderman. “When they come back, everyone is inspired and working with a newfound sense of excitement.”
Listening closely to MEGAGEM provides a window into the band’s roving headspace over the last few years. There’s a rich tradition of songs about life on the road, but very few of them spend time exploring the inner dialogue that results from that lifestyle.
Choosing to record MEGAGEM’s instrumentals at the solar-powered Mountain Star Studios in Black Hawk, Colorado during the dead of winter, Dopapod found an optimal opportunity to unplug from all other noise. “The lack of oxygen led to some crazy ideas,” says guitarist Rob Compa. “When combined with the lack of phone service, human contact, or any other distractions, it allowed us to have the freedom to make a lot of that weird inspiration become reality.”
Compa and Winderman knocked out the vocals soon after, in two days, at More Sound Recording Studios in Syracuse, NY.
“A lot of these songs are also reactions to how the world is changing, about living your life in the present moment and the inner dialogues of the mind,” says Winderman. “MEGAGEM could be the brain, or it could also be a cell phone, controlling your subconscious thoughts and, thus, changing your habits.. I think a lot of people are feeling this way because of the boost in technology, with everybody addicted and attached to their phones.”
Glide is thrilled to premiere MEGAGEM in its entirety (below)- a fantastical imagery of electronica, indie and rock that serves as Dopapod’s most defining musical statement to date. Glide also had the chance to catch up with the band and find out more about the current ongoings betweent the band, album and upcoming tour…
MEGAGEM is certainly a gem of an album and your strongest to date and signifies a diversity of sounds that sounds very relevant and would fit right in amongst today’s bigger festival acts. Was there a singular theme or idea you were going toward with MEGAGEM?
Thank you for saying that! We are all very happy with the outcome and excited to share it with people. There wasn’t really a specific theme in mind when we started recording this but as the album came together, a theme seemed to form. A few of the songs touch on living life in the present moment and some of the inner dialogue of the mind of a person who spends a lot of their time in motion.
Where do you think Dopapod has most progressed musically since your beginnings? Is there anything you can do now that you couldn’t imagine being able to perform back then?
I would say song form and lyrics have progressed the most. We all really appreciate a good song, so we are constantly striving to do our best with our own songwriting. Some of our newer music has some vocal parts that we’d probably not be able to pull off a few years ago, but singing more and more over the years has allowed us to become a bit stronger in the vocal department.
Electronica has taken on many facets in the last five years mainly due to the rise of EDM – how has that culture and sound influenced Dopapod if any? Do you think it’s a bad thing for bands like Dopapod that perform with live instruments?
I think early on we were much more influenced by electronic music, specifically dubstep. It is such a powerful sound. We saw how much people dug it (and most of us) so we wanted to try to incorporate some of that into our own music. As we have grown older, our interests have shifted away from that world a bit. Electronic music definitely seems to be taking over the world, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing for bands that play instruments. I think people will always find the value in watching someone play an instrument and any form of music that is getting people inspired and excited is cool in my book. I sometimes joke about it being like Star Wars, where bands playing instruments are like the Jedi’s practicing some ancient and archaic form of magic. I think we find a sense of pride in playing real instruments and keeping true with the traditions that inspired us to do this. At the same time, we’ve recently been incorporating more and more electronics into the live setup, so we are open minded to change.
So you’re taking some time off after the new year, but there will be some momentum you might want to ride off of following the release. Will that be missed?
I’m sure many things will be missed. Mostly spending time with our buds, getting to play some music we love! We just feel that it’s more important for the longevity of this band to take some time to recharge. That way when we do tour again, we will hopefully have a more rejuvenated sense of excitement than ever before, as well as a plethora of new music.
How would you describe the past seven years of constant touring? What have been the highlights in terms of performances that you most remember?
It’s definitely a bit of a blur. So many incredible highs and lows. So many random hotels and rest stops. It’s a strange lifestyle because everyday is basically the same, but totally different at the same time. It’s a different venue, dinner, and hotel everyday, but it’s basically the same routine everyday. The nights we remember most are the ones where the four of us and the audience are all in tune. Everyone “gets it.” It feels great to really get in a rhythm with each other by playing so many shows. There’s a point that happens a bit into a tour where things just seem to click. We all know what its like to be at a show when its F’n LIT AF. We try to LIT AF AMAP.
Your about to kick off a two-month tour this week in Philadelphia- are you all preparing for this tour any differently than tours in the past?
We’re planning some cool stuff for the Halloween run. We’re also doing much of this tour with The Motet, so I’m sure we’ll be doing lots of sit-ins between the two bands. The goal of this tour is to have as much fun as possible. To be as real as we can be with each other, and our fans. We always try to make every show special, but this tour especially we are trying to make every show a unique and special experience.
Dopapod Tour Dates
Oct 26 — Philadelphia, PA — Theater of Living Arts
Oct 27 — New York, NY — Irving Plaza
Oct 28 — New Haven, CT — College Street Music Hall
Oct 29 — Burlington, VT — Higher Ground Ballroom
Oct 31 — Saratoga Springs, NY — Putnam Den
Nov 01 — Buffalo, NY — Buffalo Iron Works
Nov 02 — Ann Arbor, MI — The Blind Pig
Nov 03 — Kalamazoo, MI — Bells Eccentric Cafe Back Room
Nov 04 — Indianapolis, IN — The Vogue Theatre
Nov 07 — Iowa City, IA — Gabe’s
Nov 08 — Minneapolis, MN — Skyway Theatre
Nov 09 — Milwaukee, WI — Turner Hall
Nov 10 — Chicago, IL — Park West
Nov 11 — Cincinnati, OH — Bogart’s
Nov 12 — Morgantown, WV — 123 Pleasant Street
Nov 15 — Richmond, VA — The National
Nov 16 — Raleigh, NC — Lincoln Theatre
Nov 17 — Asheville, NC — Salvage Station
Nov 18 — Atlanta, GA — Variety Playhouse
Nov 19 — Charleston, SC — Charleston Pourhouse
Nov 30 — Ft. Collins, CO — Aggie Theatre
Dec 01 — Denver, CO — Bluebird Theater
Dec 02 — Denver, CO — Bluebird Theater
Dec 05 — Fayetteville, AR — George’s Majestic Lounge
Dec 07 — Lexington, KY — Cosmic Charlies
Dec 08 — Columbus, OH — Woodlands Tavern
Dec 09 — Columbus, OH — Woodlands Tavern
Dec 10 — Columbus, OH — Woodlands Tavern
Dec 13 — Pittsburgh, PA — Rex Theater
Dec 14 — Washington, D.C. — Gypsy Sally’s
Dec 15 — Stroudsburg, PA — Sherman Theater
Dec 16 — Syracuse, NY — The Wescott Theater
Dec 30 — Providence, RI — Fete Ballroom
Dec 31 — Boston, MA — Paradise