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April 7, 2022

Interview with Dopapod

We had the pleasure of interviewing Dopapod over Zoom video!

Dopapod access a heightened level of cosmic harmony in their music. The quartet—Eli Winderman [keys, vocals], Rob Compa [guitar, vocals], Chuck Jones [bass], and Neal “Fro” Evans...


We had the pleasure of interviewing Dopapod over Zoom video!

Dopapod access a heightened level of cosmic harmony in their music. The quartet—Eli Winderman [keys, vocals], Rob Compa [guitar, vocals], Chuck Jones [bass], and Neal “Fro” Evans [drums]— resent albums as experiences meant to be shared out of your speakers and on stage. After generating millions of streams, packing shows coast-to-coast, and earning acclaim from Rolling Stone, Guitar World, Glide Magazine, and more, the group architect an immersive and expansive vision on their self-titled seventh full-length offering, Dopapod.

The group’s hypnotic hybrid of funk, rock, jazz, bluegrass, and electronica bloomed brilliantly on 2009’s Radar, and it continued to blossom on the likes of Never Odd Or Even [2014] and Megagem [2017]. Along the way, fan favorites such as “Present Ghosts” reeled in 2.4 million Spotify streams and counting. 2019’s Emit Time arrived to acclaim from Guitar World, Relix, Glide, Jambase, and more. Simultaneously, they sold out headline gigs and graced the bills of Electric Forest, Summer Camp, High Sierra, and Bonaroo where Rolling Stone named them among the festival’s “best kept secrets.” After a marathon near-decade run, they enjoyed an almost year-long hiatus to realign and reenergize before reuniting with a new fire during 2019 and partaking in something of a “soft return.”

After a brief hiatus to regroup and recharge their creative efforts, Dopapod assembled what would become their next album, the self-titled Dopapod, and looked at the loose threads of their catalog to conceptually tie their journey together. They chose to self-title their seventh offering as a totem to the fact they’ve realized their full potential in terms of music and vision. Tackling time travel, balance and symmetry, binary pairs and more, Dopapod’s palindromic existence continues to conjure alchemy nearly fifteen years into their journey.

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Transcript

What's going on. Is Adam. Welcome back to bring it backwards. A podcast where both legendary and rising artists tell their own personal stories of how they achieve stardom. On this episode, we had a chance to hang out with Neil of banned dopa pod over zoom video. Neil was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, and he talks about how he got into music. His mom is a musician. She is a flutist and also piano player. So she put him in his brother and piano lessons at an early age and then ended up taking drum lessons at an early age as well. His brother was interested in guitars, so he started playing guitar, but always loved the drums. Never really stuck with the guitar. So he played drums all through middle school and high school played in different bands, played in the jazz band and the concert band through school ended up attending the university of Colorado as a percussionist. 6 (2m 18s): He did that for a couple years and soon realized he wanted to really pursue a career in music. So he transferred to Berkeley when he was attending Berkeley. That's how he met the guys in Delta pod. We talk about them starting the band, their early tours, some big milestone moments for the band. The last shows they were able to play before. COVID actually, they're one of the first bands to do a live stream. The day, everything shut down. They're supposed to play in Columbus, Ohio, and they knew it was stopping. And somebody in their camp knew about live streaming and kind of was like, Hey, we should try to do this. So they ended up live streaming the show that day. We also hear all about their new record and the amazing concept for the vinyl. 6 (3m 2s): If you're going to want to buy the vinyl and Neil will tell you why the idea they've came up with is absolutely brilliant. You can watch the interview with Neil on our Facebook page and YouTube channel at bring in a backwards. It would be rad if you subscribe to our channel like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Tik TOK at bringing back pod. And if you're listening to this on Spotify, apple music, Pandora, Google podcasts. If you rat a few follows there as well and hook us up with the five star review, if you have a chance, that'd be awesome. 7 (3m 37s): We'd appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our podcasts, wherever you listen to podcasts, 6 (3m 43s): We're bringing it backwards with dopa pod. My name is Adam, and this is about you and your journey and music. And we'll talk about the new music coming out with, with a dope pod. 8 (3m 54s): Cool, 6 (3m 55s): Sweet, awesome. Well, first off, well, I did see or read the band started in Boston at Berkeley. Did you, were you born and raised in the Boston area or where, where were you born and raised? 8 (4m 9s): So I'm actually from Boulder, Colorado. 6 (4m 11s): Okay. Talk to me about that. 8 (4m 14s): Yes. I, you know, I grew up in a very supportive family. My mom did some music and definitely had my older brother and I start piano lessons, you know, like first, second grade. Wow. 6 (4m 30s): Okay. 8 (4m 31s): So yeah, she, she like plays a little bit of piano and this mostly plays flute, but she was just very, you guys should play, play some music. So, you know, super grateful for that. It was really fun. I got pretty good at piano, but then, and then later my brother started to take drum lessons and of course I was like, well, I want to do that too. And so 6 (4m 53s): The 8 (4m 53s): Brother, yeah. 6 (4m 54s): Okay. 8 (4m 56s): His name's Brian and I'm sure, you know, looking back at it later, it's like, oh, I'm sure that it worked out really well for my parents to just be like, here you take these two kids for an hour instead of just one of these for half an hour. Right. 6 (5m 9s): Right. 8 (5m 12s): So 6 (5m 12s): To drum kits or just one, you guys had a trade off 8 (5m 16s): Just one. 6 (5m 17s): Okay. 8 (5m 18s): And so that was really great, you know, I, I really got into drums and then of course he went on to start taking some guitars. So I followed to that too, but drums really stick with me. That was just what I felt the best at and had the most fun doing. So. Yeah. And then I was doing music here in Colorado and went to see you for two years in the music program, percussion department. Okay. And that was really cool, but I felt like I just, there wasn't really much like drum set playing there. 6 (5m 48s): Was it more like germline, like marching band stuff? Yeah. 8 (5m 52s): No, it was more like that. Like marimba, xylophone, And then like concert. So like yeah. Like snare drum, those kinds of things. It's super fun. I love doing that stuff, but I was just like feeling very, like, I want to play in a rock band, like right, 6 (6m 7s): Right. Okay. Well to back up a little bit here. So did you play like through progression through like middle school band and high school band and everything were you like in the jazz band? Like how, how did that work as far as like your education went? 8 (6m 21s): Yeah, we had concert band in middle school and then the, and we had Jasmine and middle school as well. So the last couple of years of that were, you know, I did drum set and in the jazz band and then definitely did that into high school. Yes. And yeah, my high school jazz band was like really good. It was like known in the state to be one of the better jazz band outfits. So that was super fun. 8 (7m 2s): And so like, yeah, I would do like jazz band and school on drum set and then started a bunch of like heavy metal, black bands, you know, with my friends. 6 (7m 12s): Right. Right. Did you ever play with your brother? I mean, it sounds like your brother went on to guitar and you stayed on drums. 8 (7m 19s): We both had bands and we both played lots of instruments, but we were kind of like always on a different page in our like musical interests. And he was into more like rock. I mean, he showed me all this stuff that I ended up listening to, but it was always like later, like he showed me tool when I was in middle school. And I was like, yeah, I don't really like this. And then in high school I'm like, oh my God, this is my favorite band. 6 (7m 42s): And 8 (7m 42s): He was even more like alternative like three 11 and like it's kind of that stuff. And that wasn't really my thing. I was even, I was into like punk rock, but it was more like no effects and like, you know, best thrash. 6 (7m 54s): We just play fast, the fast songs thing. That's cool. Does he still play? I'm just curious now 8 (8m 2s): He does like a little bit just like his bedroom stuff 6 (8m 5s): Like 8 (8m 7s): That. He doesn't really play out or anything. 6 (8m 9s): Okay. So you ended up going to college for two years. You said Colorado university, 8 (8m 15s): University of Colorado in Boulder. 6 (8m 16s): University of Colorado. Okay. And you went there for, for two years and you were studying music at the school? 8 (8m 22s): Yeah. Department, the percussion department. And 6 (8m 28s): Did you, what did, was it just not like, like obviously Berkeley is known for, for what it's known for? So was that even something you like in the beginning, like when you're graduating high school, did you not, were you not interested in going there or like, tell me, tell me about like going to, you know, university of Colorado and then leaving to go then to Berkeley, right? 8 (8m 49s): Yeah. It was like, you know, Colorado was easy since St. John I grew up in, so it didn't at the time when they have a desire to like move out of Colorado and especially boulders. So that's why I first stayed. And it was easy enough to get in, to see you and, you know, still be home kind of, you know, as I also had these other bands happening, so education, so I was like wanting to be around and still do those projects. And then, yeah, after the first summer we came back to the percussion department, like first meeting and the, the head of the percussion department is this great, amazingly talented, like unbelievable percussionist position. 8 (9m 34s): He was asking us what we did over the summer. And I was like, oh man, I went to all these shows at red rocks. And I saw, you know, prime is three 11 and the Wailers and nine inch nails, you know, all this stuff, whatever, you know? And he was like, I think it was a dead show there too. And he was like, I think I've heard of one of those bands and I don't want to be learning from this guy. Like, 6 (9m 59s): That's awesome. 8 (10m 0s): I want to be doing something more modern. And really that was the, that was the impetus. So, you know, it's like, we looked into Berkeley and we could make it happen. And that was just said, it's just like, literally I was studying classical percussion at CU and the opportunities after that are like, you know, orchestras and symphonies and that's all great, but that just wasn't what I was interested in. So it was like, Berkeley is modern music, jazz rock, you know, all that kind of stuff. So 6 (10m 27s): Since you're already attending university of Colorado in the music department, was it pretty easy to transfer over to Berkeley? Or did they make you go through the whole audition process? 9 (10m 41s): Come on. Lucky. Let's take the recycling out. Let's see. We've got some butter tubs, a cottage cheese container. I know, buddy. I won't forget the yogurt cups to Hamilton county residents can now recycle all these plastic tubs, containers and cups. That's right. Lucky to find out where you can recycle visit Hamilton county resource.org. Hi, you didn't forget your treat. Good dog. 10 (11m 12s): Xavier university is tackling Ohio's nursing shortage by giving individuals with non-nursing bachelor's degrees, an opportunity to accelerate into the profession, whether you studied accounting, biology, marketing, or anything in between our a BSN program can prepare you for nursing practice in as few as 16 months. So if nursing is your college, now's the time to answer it in role for one of three terms that are location in Cincinnati, Cleveland, or Columbus certs, Xavier, a BSN to apply. 1 (11m 43s): What's my style. One day, I'm a modern minimalist, the next van teas and ripped jeans, whatever it feels like me, 2 (11m 50s): My style, huh? Gosh, only in the office, the leisure on the street. To me, it's all about comfort. 3 (11m 57s): I would say I'm just like Bohemian, but I don't know, sometimes a little edgier. It just depends on how I'm feeling 4 (12m 5s): Your style, your choice, shop the latest, then make them your own Liberty center be more you. 8 (12m 13s): So it was funny at the time they weren't doing auditions to get in. And that, that is my loose understanding is that that kind of like fluctuates depending on probably how many people they want or need to be attending, Which will go up and down. You know, it's funny. It's like, after we all finished, they built this like skyscraper next to the building that we first went into and it's just like, okay, cool. That's where my money went. 6 (12m 43s): Right. Right. Okay. 8 (12m 45s): But, so I, you know, I think at the time, and it's always different too, depending on the president that they have of the school. I think they were like going through a president change at the time, but anyways, I didn't have to audition. They, they have, you sort of write up a thing for yourself, like an intro essay. And they just want to make sure that you have some experience playing music because they not all the majors there are performance-based. They just want to know some idea of what it's like to be a musician. Cause there's like music therapy. There's obviously the recording if there's music business. So like if you're a musician and they have, they know that, you know what it's like to be on the other side of the glass, stay in a studio, then you'll be able to work with people better and same with like music business. 8 (13m 35s): If you know what it's like to be a musician and you're going to have a better idea of what it is to be a musician needing business things. So. 6 (13m 42s): Right, right. That makes a lot of sense. It's interesting. Cause I've, I've interviewed a lot of people that have went to Berkeley and it's, everyone's got a different tale of how they got in. Like I had to do like this crazy, you know, sight reading audition and this, that, and the other thing, and I are like bid has led me and I didn't have to do anything. 8 (14m 0s): And I will say some of the people that were in the same year that I got in, I was like, oh, you just got a guitar for high school graduation, president. Yah. 6 (14m 8s): That's what I was about to say, like, I wonder how many of the people just went in there thinking like, oh yeah, I got this. And then just was way over their head. 8 (14m 18s): Yeah. I think it happens a lot. People are like, oh, I'm going to go to be a rock star, rock star school. And then they're like, do you have to read music and you know, study all this, then 6 (14m 27s): I know what you're doing. 8 (14m 31s): Like they don't really transfer credits in. So I did have to like sort of maybe like audition or test out of classes, some of which in the other school, but they used a different book or a different system slightly. So you can be like, listen, I know how to do this music theory. So put me into the fourth level or whatever, but like they don't just take like direct. 6 (14m 55s): Right. They want to make sure you're there for, they get four years of the money out of you. You 8 (14m 59s): Also true. 6 (15m 2s): Okay. Well then the band starts there. Is that kind of how or where you guys got a good man? Tell me a bit. So will you get there? And then what's what happens first. 8 (15m 13s): So I had had a bunch of other bands before dopa pod, including a video game cover band. That was my first band there. Yeah. That was really fun. We were like dream theater, playing Nintendo songs. 6 (15m 28s): That's so amazing. 8 (15m 30s): Demonstrating guitar, froggy guys, like just shredding Even know the games because they were too young, but we were just like, here's the music? And they're like sick. This is awesome. And just try it. So, and then I had another band that was called cash fools. That was like blues rock, chili peppers, Jimmy Hendricks. Super fun. But yeah. And actually, so the way I met dope was so they were already at least a duo if not moving into a trio at the time that I met them. So it was Ilan keys and Mikey Caruba who was in Intercos on drums. And then they added Rob on guitar at some point. 8 (16m 11s): But right around that time, I was, I had a show with cashed fools and I would do often do a show and then do like an after party somewhere with more music. So I had recently met Eli and knew about dope bud. And I was like, Hey Eli, do you want to come play this after party that we're trying to do? And he was like, sure. And then as the date came, we weren't going to do the after party. And he was also like, Hey, we can't do it because we're going to go play this festival in upstate New York. And he was like, you know, it was like the next day, but on the same weekend. But he was like, you should, you should come to this festival. And I had also been playing percussion with random bands, kind of like all the time at that time. 8 (16m 54s): So I was like, can I just come and play some percussion with you guys? And he was like, sure. So we had like a little rehearsal. I just brought like a Colombia and a cow bell. And everyone was like, this is really cool. We should do this. So we did that show and then I just stayed on and percussion. And that was like 2009. So they had already done like a good amount of shows either as the trio, but there's also when cheque was coming in on base, like right around that same time. But at that point, the five piece was formed. 6 (17m 23s): Okay. And so you did that, that show and then, well, when's the band kind of take off where you did, you guys all finish Berkeley and then the band started building like 8 (17m 34s): Somewhere in that 2009, 2010, we started to do some like tours, this guy named Josh Phillips and he had a band called Josh Phillips folk festival out of Asheville. And he organized like something like five or 10 days in the Northeast where they would come up and open for us. And then five to 10 days in the Southeast, then we would open for them. So we did that and that was just kind of the beginning of our tour. And so did a couple of those. And then all of this at the same time, Mikey, you know, it was playing drums, me playing percussion, Eli on keys. We were also in turquoise and 6 (18m 14s): At the same time, 8 (18m 15s): The same time. And so at some point it became clear that both were too busy for such crossover. So Mikey went to drums and turquoise and I took over drums and dope pod. And, and that's right about when both bands really just like started touring heavily. So it's like late 2010 is when we, I think we got like a booking agent and we got our van and trailer and all that stuff and just really started hitting the road. 6 (18m 43s): Okay. And was it from, from there? I mean like, are you doing like full like us towards this point or was it short little runs or 8 (18m 51s): Yeah, we started spiraling out, you know, so a lot of Northeast obviously, which is very good for the jam scene and then yeah. Getting imaging into the south and entering into the Midwest. We never even got to Colorado until I think late 2011, but yeah, we would go out for like six weeks at a time shows almost every night, but just, just spiraling out further and further, 6 (19m 20s): Like as you're doing that, like obviously you're building fan base and like what would you say, like the next kind of milestone in your guys' career was? 8 (19m 29s): That's a good question. I think it was probably like a pretty steady growth and just consistent touring like that. And, you know, once we started getting onto like bigger festivals and, and sort of feeling that hype around us and the momentum and the energy, you know, we, we felt pretty, pretty buzzed. Like, like we were buzzing as abandoned. The growth was, was like strong and, you know, you could feel it, it was pretty steady like that for a couple of years. And then I think we got like, I guess around mid 2013, we started working with a new booking agent and some of our management stuff changed, but that, and then like, that was really a big step for us. 8 (20m 18s): And then also that was when I left the band for a little while. 6 (20m 22s): Oh, okay. So did you left to pursue other interests or, I mean, I don't even know if you want to go into it. 8 (20m 29s): Yeah, no. I mean the short story is I was like pretty overwhelmed by the road, had some other personal stuff going on. So I took some time off to just like, relax and check in with myself. I went to like the 10 day meditation thing and that just like, I mean, that set me up for A lot of like a huge life change. So they had taken on another drummer as a substitute for like a couple of months. And then I was like, Hey guys, I'm ready to come back. And they're like, well, we're kind of, we're going to stick with this guy. And 6 (21m 4s): Oh, that must've been pretty like heartbreaking, I would think. Right. 8 (21m 8s): Yeah, it definitely was. And it was understandable. Like, you know, especially looking back, it's just like, it just, the road just gets so intense and makes you crazy. You're not like checking in with yourself or with the team consistently, then it can really explode and that's, that's pretty much what happened. It was like, you know, just, just a hard left turn. 6 (21m 34s): Yeah. Yeah. And once you get the news that they're going to keep this guy, like, I mean, your identity is as a drummer, do you just start trying to find another band to do? Or like, how do you handle that? 8 (21m 45s): Yeah. And like, you know, it was, it was heartbreaking for my momentum as like a person with this group and my identity there, but I also have always been in like tons of other bands. So, you know, I have, I had a band called elephant wrecking ball, which was also started right around the same time I joined up and also Chuck, the bass player of dope. And I had another band called mom and dad, which also started right around that same time. And so immediately it was just like, all right, all these other groups, like, let's, let's go for it. You know, that's available now. And so, you know, I was able to keep playing and creating, keep being a drummer. 8 (22m 27s): I mean, it's like, even my mom said it, she was like, there's even if you're not in that band, like, it's not like you're going to stop doing this, you know? And so it was just really a big shift. 6 (22m 40s): Yeah. And then how, how many years until you rejoined in the band and like, how did that all happen? 11 (22m 46s): Focus on recovery, not air medical bills. Air methods is in network with insurance companies across the nation to cover costs and reduce out-of-pocket expenses for our patients. For more information on coverage, visit air methods, dot com. 1 (23m 2s): What's my style. One day, I'm a modern minimalist, the next van teas and ripped jeans, whatever it feels like me, 2 (23m 9s): My style, gosh, only in the office, the leisure on the street. To me, it's all about comfort. 3 (23m 16s): I would say I'm just like Bowie, but I don't know sometimes a little edgier. 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This April, they're celebrating the red hot chili peppers, new album with John for Shantay Anthony Kiedis flee and Chad Smith, all in conversation with Rick Rubin. 12 (24m 19s): They share stories and songs from the new album, and also never before heard insights about their decades, long dynamic and chemistry, listen to broken record wherever you get podcasts. 8 (24m 32s): So I would say like 2016, maybe late 2015, you know, by then, like I'm friends with everybody again. We've had our space and time and it's all good. And they were starting to reach out and just, you know, kind of loosely chat about like maybe this idea, you know, you know, it was weird. I don't know how much of this stuff is like shareable on the interviews. I don't know if this is like pending everyone else in the band's approval, but they were, you know, they were like, we're really interested in having you come back. And so then at some point we just kind of like made the decision and I came back like late summer of 2016. 8 (25m 13s): Okay. 6 (25m 14s): And then just from there. Yeah. Obviously he was still playing with them since then. I don't, I'm just curious. Cause I did see, like on your guys' Wikipedia page that you, that you played red rocks in 2015, was that a show that you were able to be a part of or 8 (25m 30s): It was so, and 6 (25m 31s): That must have been huge for you, right? I mean, to be playing your, where you grew up in the, probably the venue that you said, you saw all these amazing bands at. 8 (25m 39s): Totally. Yeah. I, I went to the show and I think that they, I think because of all that they like wanted to invite me to sit in on a song and you know, be a part of it. So, so I did go and I sat in on one song and that was like, you know, obviously amazing and an honor and a super cool. 6 (25m 58s): That is awesome. That's cool that you got, were able to play. It's still no matter the circumstance or whatever. That's awesome. So when you rejoined the band 2016 and from there, are you guys back on the road? I mean, you put out at least two records and within the next couple of years from that point, yup. 8 (26m 17s): We got back on the road right away. You know, I got, kinda got back in at the end of festival season. And then we did, like, we did a huge tour with pigeons playing ping pong. 6 (26m 27s): Oh, cool. I love that band. 8 (26m 28s): Yeah. It was like co headlining. So we would like alternate who was like playing first or whatever. So that was my first tour back. And then I think in the following summer, we set up and recorded tons of music for the next album, which I think was mega gym. And we recorded so much stuff that like, we couldn't even put it all out. Cause we decided to do a vinyl just obviously very limited. 6 (26m 54s): Right. 8 (26m 56s): So we still had, we had other recordings that I think we put out on other albums after that, 6 (27m 1s): That 8 (27m 1s): Session, but, 6 (27m 3s): And then coming, like, I mean, will you put a record on 2019? Did you have a chance to really tore on that album or really support that album before the pandemic? 8 (27m 12s): Yeah. So do you know about the breaks that we took? 6 (27m 15s): I don't. 8 (27m 16s): Okay. So, so that end of 2017, I really was like in the summer of 2017 Chuck and our like I Luke, they were like, we want to take a break. 6 (27m 26s): Yeah. I did read that you guys went on like a hiatus and it had like solar projects. Right. And other things going on 8 (27m 31s): You're off of dopa, like a very planned calendar year, at least just to, you know, just settle, same kind of thing that I had been going for. But, you know, and it ended up being a really great thing. Just kind of reset, you know, and like take inventory on like everything in your life and as a band and all that kind of stuff. And so, so then we come back April of 2019 and we kept it pretty limited. We did like a handful of festivals over the summer and then like a small number of shows in the fall. And you know, we, we had, I think a pretty decent tour booked for 20, 20 winter. 8 (28m 13s): And yeah, we did, like we did a west coast run and, and then it happened, 6 (28m 20s): Were you on the road when, when it was shutting down? 8 (28m 22s): We were, so we were like on March 12th, we were flying in to Columbus, Ohio, and we're getting, so our buddy who was a crew guy of ours, was running the venue that we were going to go play at on March 13th. And they he's texting all of us. Like the governor's shutting down the gatherings, you know, we were supposed to do like a thousand person outdoor thing and a huge tent and get a day of like a small venue to do that side. And then he's like, I'm moving it inside. We're going to do two 50. And then later that day it's like, it's now it's 50 people. 8 (29m 3s): And like, you know, this is all this like guidelines are coming in or whatever. So we're all just like traveling that day, like into this where like what the fuck is going to happen here. And then basically we were like, all right, well, we were not going to do that show. And we called up somebody who have a studio and we knew some like film crew kind of people. And so we were able to basically that day pull off a live stream. 6 (29m 33s): Rarely. 8 (29m 34s): Yeah. 6 (29m 35s): Wow. 8 (29m 37s): It was crazy. And I remember like being in the airport before I was even on my flight talking to another buddy of mine who was like, he, he had been, I dunno, maybe a little hip, more hip to what was about to go down then other people at that moment, he was like, man, live streams. That's going to be the thing like over the next year, like, you know, this is what's going to go down and then we ended up doing this. Like, it was just funny. Cause it felt like we were like the first ever live stream. 6 (30m 3s): It sounds like, Yeah. You were like pioneering that well, that's crazy. I mean it's wow. So were you, you, I mean, you obviously flew into Columbus, Ohio, but before that, where did you have shows? Like in the, throughout the, the front of March 8 (30m 17s): We had, we had been doing some weekends and we were like in the studio and then do weekend shows and then the studio we get shows and yeah, I remember actually Washington DC. We played a show and that day was the first day where it was like, no handshakes. It was like, 6 (30m 37s): Oh yeah, Yeah. I remember that 8 (30m 41s): They were shifting into that. And then it was like probably the following weekend was the, that 12th. 13th. 6 (30m 47s): Wow. Yeah. The last interview I did in person was like right around that same time. And it was with Jayla from G love and special sauce. And it was like in that weird time where it was like, it was a thing, like people knew about it and like, it was like, we kind of did the elbow, but we, we still took a picture of out close to each other, which is funny, but it was like kind of like, we were kind of joking about it a little bit because it was like, obviously no one knew the extent of what was really happening. And then it was like, okay, wow. That was, it just, it happened so fast. Like the NBA shuts down and then like Tom Hanks gets it and then it's like, oh, you know, we should really consider what's really happening here. 6 (31m 30s): But yeah. I didn't know if you maybe were seeing any sort of decline in, like maybe you had, you knew you sold a thousand tickets, then only 300 people showed up or anything like that. Yeah. 8 (31m 41s): No, it all just collapsed instantaneously. So 6 (31m 45s): No gradual. Wow. But at least you were able to pull off the livestream. What was that like? 8 (31m 52s): Yeah, it was, it was wild, you know, it's like we're in, it was, it was fortunate to be inside of like a nice studio. So we had a nice room for us to set up in and we did some silly shit with our lights, where they were like, literally, like we were kind of set up in a tight circle and the lights were like over us, you know, with us and everything. So we, you know, we wanted to make it go away on a couple of cameras and everything. And so, yeah, we're just like playing to ourselves and to like the handful of people in the control room and, you know, it's like we would rock out and do this like epic jam and finish this song. And then it's just like, you know, like seconds Eventually, eventually the dudes in the control room would like turn on the microphone for them and be like, yeah, like they're all cheering so weird. 6 (32m 41s): Let's show you like the screen of all the thumbs and hearts coming up. Oh, wow. Okay. So then how quickly after you get back, do you start working on, you know, the new music and what you have coming out soon? 8 (32m 55s): As far as returning from 6 (32m 57s): Yeah. From like, you know, the get home from the pen, the pandemics in full swing, and then I'm sure for a while everyone was just like locked down on the TV or whatever. And like, 8 (33m 6s): And he has to leave. We had, we had done two or three studio sessions leading right up to that point to report like the basics and stuff for the, for this album and these, these singles and stuff. So fortunately for us, we had been able to do all of the, like all of us together in a room stuff right before that happened. And, and then it actually worked out really well where we're able to do all of the rest of it, overdubs, solos, vocals, any other production and, and things just really like with no time pressure, because it's like, ideally you put out an album and then you go on tour or whatever. So that was not going to happen. So you got kind of a very undetermined amount of time to do this. 8 (33m 49s): I mean, we were able to do like do it really well and not have a time pressure and not sacrifice anything to time and, you know, get something really cool made. 6 (33m 59s): Was it, do you feel like it affected the record at all? Like as far as like sonically or like you had just, I mean the time that the, especially the amount of time you had with it. 8 (34m 9s): Yeah. I mean, it was really great. We've never really been able to like have that much time. It was, you know, it's a bittersweet thing. Cause we have this music, we're excited to get it out there and, but we just like the timelines aren't right. To sort of do it correctly. 6 (34m 24s): I mean, even now things are kind of up and down all the time. It's weird. I mean, 8 (34m 28s): We've had this thing finished since 2000 or since probably yeah. Last summer. Trying to think about where the hell I was. When, what, what year is it all right? Yeah. Pretty much finished up by the summer. And then, I mean, I don't know if like, when is this coming out 6 (34m 53s): Whenever you guys want it to 8 (34m 56s): 'cause it like the two things that made this made it really delayed is vinyl 6 (35m 7s): And you're right. Yeah. Those landscaping shut down. 8 (35m 9s): Yeah. Massive delays 6 (35m 11s): As a buddy of mine, struggling with that right now, him and his band. Like they have his record and they're like, we don't know where it's done. We don't know what's going to come out because we don't know when the vinyl plants are going to be like able to press it. So we're still waiting. 8 (35m 24s): Yeah. I think we were, we had looked at December 12th of last year as release date and then the, but then because of this and that was even with vinyl. But then because of this other thing that we decided to do, which is going to be really cool. And this is the stuff that's like, nobody knows about this yet. So just be quiet is we're turning the album. The album artwork is a Ford game. 6 (35m 48s): Wow. That is dope. 8 (35m 51s): Yeah. So we invented this board game to be part of the album release and then that creating that is what took a ton of extra time and our work and everything else. So now it's going to come out in like may. 6 (36m 2s): Okay. Yeah. I did see that. Yeah. The release date of may. I didn't know anything about this, this board game, but I'll make sure it doesn't hold the interview until you guys announced the board game. 8 (36m 13s): This is supposed to come out before that just made me cut that part. But 6 (36m 16s): Yeah, but I want to know, I'm curious about the board games. I don't know if we could spend, cause I want to I'll I'll 13 (36m 21s): You don't have to live with Dan Pugley basement walls stopped. The water would dry lock may street waterproofer I've recommended it for years. Dry lock can be used interior or exterior above or below grade. Use it to protect and beautify basement walls foundations, retaining walls in more low odor and easy soap and water cleanup can be tinted for a decorative finish. Also try dry lot clear floor and wall waterproofer for floors uses a vapor barrier prior to installing flooring or alone is a finished damned proof. Coating Drylok sold everywhere 15 (36m 52s): At Kroger, fresh groceries are our thing. 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It just depends on how I'm feeling. 4 (37m 44s): Your style, your choice, shop the latest, then make them your own Liberty center fee more you. 6 (37m 52s): Yeah. I'll I'll, I'll, I'll figure it out with your, your side of the, of the camp. And, but I w I want to hold it now because I'm curious to hear all about this board game and like what a creative idea that is like, you have to invent a game, you guys invented a game. 8 (38m 6s): So, so are, sounded like I loop, he had spent most of his pandemic becoming a he's a big D and D guy, J fantasy guy. All this always has been, but he started drawing maps for D and D games. Like, this is something you can do. I guess you draw a map, you put it up online. People like buy it. And then they use it for their, when they play, he likes started a Patrion. He's got its own thing about it. He like, then he's now he's just like, pays his mortgage, doing that. 6 (38m 39s): Wow. That's incredible. 8 (38m 41s): He Patriots so hard that patrons, like, you know, this is, this is how you fucking do it. 6 (38m 47s): Yeah. They're like, here's a playbook page. Just what this guy's doing. 8 (38m 52s): So, so we were talking about all that one day and I think Eli was like, it'd be so cool if we could like make this album again somehow. And so just that like started the wheels and because he, because Luke makes all of these maps and stuff, you know, this is what he's been doing. He's been drawing all this stuff, this great artists. And so we're like, all right, Luke, can you make us a board game? And so we figured out how to do it. And it's this whole infinity symbol is like the, the track you put the pieces on. And the each piece, each square is a song name from our previous albums. And the whole thing is like, this idea, you're like trapped in the dope Abad land. 8 (39m 33s): And you need to build like a time machine to like get out of it. And like, it was that all of our songs have this very, like, even deeper. We sort of realized that like all of our songs and all of our albums can sort of be connected into this, like overall conceptual. It's like a seven album concept album about like travel and being present and all these things. So that's kind of what the game's about loosely. And so we like made the, made the board, he drew the board up and then it was like, cool. Now we have to make a game. And in the end, I pretty much made all of it. It's the sort of like, what happens is you land on a square, it has a song title. You look at the chart and the chart tells you something you have to do, like with like dice or something like that to achieve a letter of dopamine. 8 (40m 21s): So once you spell out all of the letters, then you go to like the middle part and that's the portal. And then you do a couple more of those and then you win the game. So I had to come up with all these like dice challenges and like things to do and you land on the square and like all these other rules and all these things. And we Had no idea that I was going to make a board game. 6 (40m 43s): That was just going to say, like, did you play a lot of board games? Like, how did you, or do you just kind of, I mean, it's a pretty simple put that on you. They're like, okay, you're going to figure it out. 8 (40m 54s): That's the truth is that we were like, we, you know, we all wanted to collaborate on it and do it, but it ended up being pretty clear that like, I was really motivated to do it. Eli was really motivated to do it, but definitely as far as people who have experienced playing board games, I was higher in that realm. I'm not like a mega game nerd, probably like Luke or whatever. That's, you know, Luke was helping me with the overall, you know, things and we go back and forth and actually add them. One of our managers is a big game or two. So we had the support team to make sure it was cool. Cause that's the thing is like, you can make this game all day and be like, does it suck? 6 (41m 30s): Right. Right. Did you have like a focus group of people that were going to play it and figure it out? So 8 (41m 34s): I've played it with a couple of friends at first and like, you know, really figured out, all right, this, this needs to change. Now. This makes it not fun because you got to figure out like how long it takes. And like, is it fun to keep going this long? And like, you know, like, is it, is it engaging where like we've made a bunch of rules where now you can like steal letters from people or, you know, always, you know, it makes it a little more active and fun. So, and the idea too is maybe in the future, we'll set, we'll create separate sets of rules because really you have a board and then you can just kind of make up your own game. So, you know, all these sorts of things can happen. You know, even fucking UNO comes out with like new versions, you know, 6 (42m 15s): Of course, 8 (42m 17s): You know, there's like a website where there's like other ways to play or like, whatever. But for now we just made the one game just, you know, and we wanted to make it so that like you buy the album, you're like, holy shit, it's a board game. And then you can play with like, whatever you have lying around the house. Like hopefully you got some fucking dice and like a quarter for your game base, you know, it's like, 6 (42m 34s): Okay, that was my next question. If you like, if it, if you provided the game pieces or you just kind of pick your own, 8 (42m 41s): We're going to, we're going to make some like a set of game pieces and dice and stuff that will like, you can buy just with the album. But at first it's just like, if you just bought this album and you're like, holy shit, this is a board game. You could just play it right away. 6 (42m 55s): Got it. That's so rad. What a creative idea. No, one's done that. That's like blew my mind. That's so awesome. So you had obviously based the album artwork off of what the game board was going to look like. And so that's just what he drew for the game board became the album cover. 8 (43m 13s): Yeah. 6 (43m 14s): Wow. That's awesome. That is so awesome. Yeah. So I definitely will. I want to save this interview because I don't want people to hear all about this game because this is so rad and 8 (43m 25s): Will come out later. 6 (43m 27s): Yeah. Well, tell me about the, the record then a little bit. I mean, it sounds like you had a done for awhile, like after it was finished and you have this game element to it where you, are you guys working on new music at this point to like, I mean, it's, that's what it's curious. Because as a musician, I'm sure you're writing constantly. And then you've had this one record that's kind of sitting there like, okay, we need to get it out, but we're moving steps forward. 8 (43m 55s): Yeah. We're like, we are like creatively, you know, three years past that album is like, what it feels like, you know, as in like, you know, we're releasing these singles right now, but also we're just like, so moved on from that music, you know, like of course we still love it and it's, and it's our thing. But like our excitement is a little different than, you know, like the management or the fan base is excited. 6 (44m 19s): Yeah. You guys are probably like, that's awesome. But wait, until you hear what, in three years you got to hear this amazing song. 8 (44m 27s): It's so funny that, you know, like, like even like, this is a different album recording opportunity for us to do this one, because we wrote a lot of songs in the studio and that is something we never really did before. Usually it was like, okay, we have tons of songs written. It's time to put them onto a recorded format. And so we'll go into the studio and that's why that last one, you know, we, we did like 20 songs or something and only put out eight of them. Cause we've had these songs written for the whole time. And then this one, we were able to actually write a bunch just for this album. So they haven't been played yet. There's a couple of songs that have been in rotation for a while, but maybe been reworked a little bit for this album. 8 (45m 7s): But for the most part, most of this album has never been heard live and that'll be happening over the next, you know, summer, even before that, right before the album comes out, we were, we were in this feeling of like, you know, it's like a thing to do as like a rock or just like, you know, a typical band on a label or something. You don't play songs until the album is out. Right. And we, but since jam roll is different, we've never been able to do that. We were like, oh, we should do that this time. That'll be really cool. And then we started working with like a publicist. His PR person is probably who set this up, whatever. And they were like, no, no, no, play the songs. Like you need to like hype everybody up about it. 8 (45m 49s): And like, because of the way our scene works do it, it'll be a lot of really organic sharing and stuff. So then it was like, all right, cool. Then, you know, also too, we were like, we put so much time and effort into the studio versions. We want that to be what people hear first, but then we started playing some of them live and we're like, oh, this is even better. Like, you know, and I'm feeling the idea now to really separate the studio version from a live version. Like the biggest influence in that, for me, for example, it's like ween on if you listen to wings, 6 (46m 24s): But for 8 (46m 24s): Sure studio shit is just like, what is this wild, like keyboard toy from Kmart that you guys made just cook it album on. And you're like, how the hell are we going to play this live? And then they just go play it. And it's the most epic rock and roll shit that you possibly can. 6 (46m 37s): Right. So exactly 8 (46m 39s): Allow that separation to exist. And, and, and, and then it's like, you even, you have even more stuff as artists. You're like, yeah, this is the weird album version, but then here's our rocking fucking live version. Like I love it. So 6 (46m 53s): That's amazing. Well, Neil, thank you so much for doing this. I can't wait to see the record and play the board game and everything else. So I appreciate your time. I really, I have one more quick question. I want to know if you have any advice for aspiring artists. 16 (47m 8s): Yeah, 8 (47m 13s): Yeah. I always say, you know, just keep putting out stuff. Don't hold things to be so precious. Like, because something that you think is like the best song you've ever written might be like, you know, not received as well as you'd hope. And you have no control over that, but if you love it, then you love it. And that's fucking awesome. That's like all you can get. And then maybe sometime you write a song that you thought was like, maybe not your best. And then everyone loves it. And then fortunately that, you know, might gain a, use some like attention. And then you can show him that song that you think is the best. And then they'll be like, oh, that's fucking awesome too. But really just like not having, you know, expectations of how things are gonna go. 8 (47m 56s): And, and as such, just keep creating because you never know what's going to hit or what's going to be the best one or, or what you're going to like the most, you know, sometimes we write songs that like at first we're like, I don't really like this. And then after you played a long time to like find a new way to do it and whatever. So it's just like, keep putting it out, keep going, don't hold it so precious and, and have fun. And then I just recently thought of this one, myself, the only time I've ever messed up performing is I stopped having fun.