Interview by Parisa Eshrati
In anticipation of their set at the 12th annual Gem and Jam festival, we conducted a quick email interview with members of Papadosio to see what this year has in store for the band. We discussed the beginning phase of their upcoming record, new instrumental explorations, and finding humor and solace through songwriting.
Some of your last projects were worked on remotely via Splice. How do you feel electronic methods of collaboration have evolved the band’s collaborative/overall dynamic? And how does that newly evolved dynamic play into your live setting and the way you improvise with one another?
Billy Brouse [vocals, keys]: Splice has been a total lifesaver. It's amazing that in this day in age we can send each other completed ideas on Ableton Live, and we can listen to them wherever we are as long as we have a laptop. It has made it really easy to get work done while at home and on the road, it's just awesome. I don't think it will affect live performances too much because it's more for studio work, at least that's how I've been using it.
A few days ago you posted some pictures saying that you’re getting back into the studio, so let’s talk about the beginning stages for this record. What are some of the themes that are driving this new album so far? Will it be more lyrically or instrumentally driven? And are there any collaborations planned for this release yet?
Mike Healy [drums]: We had an absolute blast in the studio here in Asheville at Sound Temple studios. We are still in the early stages of the new record and really wanted to get some professional drums, piano and bass recorded. This was the first time we went to a real studio instead of our home studios in the past. Sam [Brouse, vocals and keys] was able to record on an immaculate grand piano. It sounds so incredible. I laid down all the drum tracks and Rob [McConnell, bass] got a bunch of bass recorded as well. There are lyrical and instrumental songs ranging many styles. We are very exited with what we recorded and are looking forward to finishing up the process in the coming months.
It’s been over a year since your last record, Pattern Integrities. I’m interested in how this upcoming album will reflect your individual and collective growth since then. Are there any lyrical themes that perhaps you wouldn’t have thought you’d be interested in exploring then but are open to it now?
Billy: As far as lyrics go I can only speak to my own obviously, but I delved into an issue that is both infuriating and hilarious at the same time. When you hear it, you'll know what I'm talking about, but I found myself not able to get my point across without making a mockery of this issue. Maybe that's how I deal with things, but I think it's turning out to be an interesting song and commentary on the subject.
How about sonically? Are there any new genres you’re exploring for this project? What are have you done to push your comfort zones instrumentally?
Anthony Thogmartin [guitar, keys, vocals]: One of the mainstays of our sound has been and is now that we try to honor what the music itself is asking for. We feel less and less inclined to do anything other than what we feel the song is trying to express. Perhaps we would be more popular if we did EDM style "drops" or tried to stick to one genre but it's simply more fun to explore. So if that is an odd timing signature or unusual instrumentation, it's less of a conversation on what we are as a whole but more what the individual song is trying to musically express. This record has no shortage of new directions!
I’m sure there are a lot of important themes you want to stress in the new record with all that’s been going on in the world since your last album. How do you guys find the balance of spreading your message but also allowing your music to be an escape for the listener as well?
Anthony: I’ve always been a huge fan of stand up comedy, as a comedian can say literally whatever they want, especially as it pertains to social change without sounding obnoxious or preachy because it's well...funny. For a musician, I think the same thing applies. A message can be delivered artfully and, yes, there certainly is not shortage of themes out there to explore. I've always personally written lyrics last in my songwriting because again, it's all about what the song is trying to express. Some songs "sound" like social change, others sound like a relaxing meditation, others like a party.
What else can we look forward to from you all in 2018? I know you all also make very conscious strides to be environmentally-friendly on your tours, do you have any new plans on that end?
Anthony: Fortunately for us, the non-profit Advocates of Change formulated out of the need for someone to come in and help us create a charitable and beneficial wing of our operation. They have since exploded into the scene and are at many shows across the nation gathering thousands of dollars for many different initiatives, ecological and social. We are extremely grateful for them and the work they have done!