The third annual Catskill Chill Festival takes place this weekend, September 7th-9th in Hancock, New York and one of the bands that are not to be missed by festivalgoers this year is the ever growing Dopapod. This experimental funk rock group has collected a huge fan base since starting in 2007 and shows no sign of slowing down. Dopapod will play late Friday night at The Catskill Chill, promising to be a great start to the festival weekend. With their hectic summer shows finally over but on the brink of a full fall tour, Dopapod’s guitarist, Rob Compra was able to find time to answer a few questions.
Susan Rice: You’ve spent much of 2012 playing festivals and shows all over the eastern half of the country, you played dozens of shows including StrangeCreek, Camp Bisco, Gathering of the Vibes, and even reached 10,000 fans of Facebook. How does it feel?
Rob Compra: It feels great! This summer has felt like a bit of a breakthrough for us. I think right now is a very exciting time for us.
SR: Your summer tour and this upcoming fall tour are all over the east coast. Does networking with other bands helpful to promoting yourself?
RC: I feel like every band in our scene supports one another very heavily. At this point, all the other bands that are in the same boat as us (i.e. touring and playing clubs/festivals) are our best friends, and we all look out for each other. I don’t think any of the bands in this scene would be very successful if we didn’t have that give and take attitude for one another. For groups like us who don’t have support from a record label, it really is essential to help one another.
SR: You play an array of cover songs, what process do you use when you choose a new cover song to play? Which song that you cover is your favorite to perform live?
RC: Whenever we’ve got a really big show coming up, everybody kind of splits off and thinks of some ideas, and then we decide which one we like best. There’s some covers that we’ve done that have deliberately been one time things. We want the crowd to be able to say that they were lucky enough to be there for something special that not everyone else was able to see. I think that really makes people rabid to come out to more shows. But as far as favorites go, we play an instrumental cover of “Microcuts” by Muse, which is pretty much in regular rotation. We never get tired of it. It’s funny; Muse is debatedly the biggest band in the world right now, yet when we play that song, it seems as if hardly anybody knows what it is or who wrote it.
SR: This was your first time at Camp Bisco this year. Can you sum up in the experience in 11 words? Do you feel like this was good preparation for Vibes?
RC: Well, to be honest, it was our second time at Bisco haha. We were there two years ago as well. Due to a lack of the math and grammar skills to construct a proper sentence in 11 words, Here’s my 11 adjectives to describe the experience: fun, exciting, challenging, inspiring, stressful, sweaty, loud, exhausting, fulfilling, smelly, & friendly. I think Bisco was indeed good preparation for Vibes but, I don’t think we were really conscious of that while it was happening.
SR: What was the experience like at Gathering of the Vibes? Was that your biggest festival? I heard your performance brought people to their knees! You played a killer show and Eli sat in with Papadosio. Any musical highlights for you from the show and the festival?
RC: Gathering of the Vibes was absolutely amazing. We couldn’t have had a better time. We’re pretty sure that was the biggest crowd we’ve played for to date, and it was an amazing feeling to see all those people in front of us in broad daylight. It meant so so much to us to have everybody there having a great time and showing their support. I had plenty of highlights. One was Kung Fu’s set. As a guitarist, anytime I get to see Tim Palmieri play is just unbelievable. I also really enjoyed Chris Michetti’s playing in Conspirator. Papadosio’s sunrise set was terrific. Twiddle’s set was great too. They played early in the day in the pouring rain and totally brought their A game. And aside from musical highlights, the night of Papadosio’s set we all stayed up until sunrise and went to a clambake on the water with all the Dosio guys, Stoops from Kung Fu, and a ton of other great friends. That was too much fun to put into words.
SR: What do you want first time listeners to experience at your shows? Any big surprises for fans going to your fall tour shows?
RC: We obviously want first timers to enjoy the music, but I think we also want to challenge the listener a little bit. We don’t want to play it safe and give them something they know they already like. As far as fall tour, our surprises are so good that we don’t even know what they’re gonna be yet. Expect cameos from washed up child stars from obscure 80’s sitcoms, effigies of unpopular politicians, door prizes, and expired fun size candy bars.
SR: You got your start playing the major markets in the Northeast, and spent some time in Upstate New York. What appeals to you about playing in Upstate New York that you can’t find elsewhere?
RC: I personally love Upstate New York because I grew up there, in Rochester. It’s great to see old friends whenever we’re up there, and my Mom and Dad usually make the drive to shows around there, and it’s always great to see them. Also, markets like Rochester, Albany, Ithaca, Buffalo and Oneonta are great because there isn’t much to do around there (at least that’s how I felt growing up there). So when a band comes to town, everybody gets really psyched to come out. People are super eager to have something exciting to do on any given night.
SR: Can we expect any artist sit-ins at Catskill Chill? Who are you most excited to see perform?
RC: I think that’s a fair assumption. There’s plenty of friends there, so sit-ins are extremely likely. I’m personally really excited for Rubblebucket, Kung Fu, Lotus, Heavy Pets, Zoogma, and Consider the Source. There’s really no weak point at that festival, in my opinion. Every single act is going to be a grand slam.