Papadosio’s Anthony Thogmartin Talks New Album and Rootwire
- By Nick Rhodes
- Published on August 05, 2012
|Photo Credit: Jordan August|
It’s about time that we shed the “up-and-coming” label from the front of Papadosio’s name because they’re already here.
With a relentless touring schedule, a new (double) album set to be released in the fall and their third annual Rootwire festival taking place in a few weeks, they are one of the hardest working and highly regarded bands in the jam band scene.
With an inimitable livetronica sound that’s diverse and versatile for any feel, mood or setting, Papadosio’s music is the kind you can bob your head to in the afternoon, rage to until 4:00 a.m., watch the sun peak over the horizon to or drift off to sleep with. They pride themselves on being inspired by electronic music and sounds but still playing their instruments and holding it down for soulful, organic music with "push play" DJs a dime a dozen.
[FIND tour dates, downloads and news on Papadosio's official website.]
But Rootwire is the pinnacle of their efforts and an event that they control every aspect of, creating a festival that is focused on all types – performance, audio and visual – of art as a whole. It’s an event that’s conscious of the importance of like-minded communal gatherings at a time when corporate festivals and blood-sucking promoters will slap a “sustainable” label on any old festival and market it to hippies without an ounce of humility.
|Photo Credit: Jordan August|
Headstash caught up with guitarist Anthony Thogmartin to talk about “T.E.T.I.O.S.,” the massive fall tour and how they keep everything organized for Rootwire.
Headstash Magazine: I just recently caught your afternoon set at Electric Forest and it was easily one of the biggest afternoon crowds of the festival. How was that experience for you?
Anthony Thogmartin: We've been to that venue every time there's been a festival and it's fun. We don't ever really do day sets so it's cool to have been caught out of our element. It causes us to play a little bit differently than we normally do.
HM: Yeah, you guys definitely showcased your versatility. It seemed like a much chiller set.
AT: Yeah, and it's cool for people to have a little bit more of a musical experience rather than a large production experience. I think people were able to focus a little bit more on what we're actually doing. I realize that sometimes what we’re doing on stage is a little bit hard to follow because it's hard to tell where the sounds are coming from. A day set allows fans to get a more in-depth experience.
HM: Obviously that lineup aside from String Cheese Incident is heavily electronic and there weren’t a ton of other actual bands. It seems like you guys are a real crossover success where you play a lot of events as the token livetronica or instrument-playing band.
AT: We've been leaning towards being as live as possible because we’ve been tossed into more electronic festivals than ever before. When we go to a festival that has bands we're actually kind of rejoicing. Before anything else, we're fans, too. You'll never find us hiding behind the stage. We’re always out in the crowd watching.
But watching somebody playing music is a pretty funny concept because if you think about it, when you go to a club you don't look at that stage. Now, you're watching somebody do very close to nothing and it's pretty interesting. It's kind of taking away from the live experience.
|Photo Credit: Jordan August|
[FOLLOW Papadosio on Facebook.]
It's just funny what the fans are doing. Everyone is complaining about the fact that there's so many producers in the music scene now. I think the biggest issue is that people are paying for it. They're allowing that to be their entertainment.
I've seen a lot of producers that are playing live and creating electronic music but still playing instruments. I'm a really huge fan of Daedelus. The guy just rocks and in everything he does there's an action by his finger. I’m really impressed by that because all these electronic producers could be doing that but they curiously choose not to.
HM: Yeah they’re sometimes more about facilitating the party rather than creating music. Obviously you guys have a lot going on this summer, but the highlight is Rootwire. Tell me how excited you guys are for the event.
AT: We try to create the experience that we want to have. We put every single bit of our soul into this thing – we're staying up late nights all the time and sending thousands of emails just putting together something that we feel is worthwhile.
For the most part, festivals are pretty crazy for the band. You get behind the stage, everyone is clapping, you get up there and do it. Then, once you're 15 minutes to the end of your set, they're just looking at you with this notorious look and they shove you off the stage to get the next one on there. It can get pretty intense.
We're trying to figure out how to avoid those kinds of situations and create an experience not only for the musicians even but the crowd and everybody that's involved so that maybe we can change the status quo a little bit.
|Photo Credit: Jordan August|
HM: What’s special about the 2012 edition as opposed to the past few years?
AT: The first thing is how the stages are run. At Rootwire, we have a back-and-forth stage set-up. It's almost impossible to get a band to sound good if they don't have the sound check they're used to getting. The most important thing is that the sound check is done in a manner where the band can hear themselves. At Rootwire, bands always have at least an hour, regardless of where they're playing, to get the sound they want. You're going to get a higher quality musical performance right off the bat.
The next thing is that art is such an integral part to festivals and yet a lot of festivals don’t give them the same courtesy as the music. But at Rootwire, we’re going to have the largest art gallery in any festival in the nation – hands down. We're going to have some huge geometric domes and tents all attached together. It's almost as big as one of the stages. These artists are pouring everything they have into this stuff and I really feel like that deserves to be recognized.
[BUY tickets and find more information on Rootwire via its official website.]
|Photo Credit: Nick Rhodes|
HM: Who are you guys excited to have on the lineup? Obviously you have a lot of up-and-coming talent from the music and visual worlds so who is catching your ear or eye and on the brink of something special?
AT: That's the beauty of the fact that we’re able to create the lineup entirely ourselves – we're pretty much excited to see everything. I think musically we're excited for Snarky Puppy because I really feel like if people really listen to that band, they'll really have their socks blown off. They are unbelievably talented with amazing compositions they just seem purer. They're really a big band and it's impressive because it’s hard enough to squeeze a living when you have a five-member band and big crew. But it’s wrong to single anyone out, we're really excited about the whole thing.
HM: What should fans expect from your three performances at Rootwire
AT: What's traditionally been happening has been pretty groundbreaking for us because every time we play Rootwire we've done three different sets. We do a PA set, which is when we remix ourselves live and kind of treat our band as if it was like a DJ. It's hard to explain, but we're reproducing ourselves by improvisation and stuff like that. That's a really fun dance party on the first night. It gets people really excited for the rest of the weekend.
Obviously the second is the really long, extended electronic set. We play a day set and a longer night set that is going be done with full production. That's like the epicenter of the festival.
|Photo Credit: Nick Rhodes|
HM: Tell me a little about the new double album due out this fall, “T.E.T.I.O.S.”
AT: We've been working on it for over two years. It's the longest that we've ever spent trying to do anything. Most bands will go into a studio, but we built our own studio on purpose so we could continuously chisel away this thing for the past few years. It's the most intricate of our releases and it utilizes all of our skills so that we could create this 19 or 20 songs in the best way possible. This is definitely the most variety that you'll hear coming from us so far.
HM: In what way? Is it all over the place as far as influences go?
AT: Because of the style that we started playing and because of the music we've created so far, we realize that we don't really have a genre. So when a song idea comes to mind, it's not whether it's the right genre or not, it's whether we think it’s good enough and going to get people going. More than anything else it's probably the most rhythmically diverse album we’ve made. I really think that will shine through. We're singing a lot more and we’re utilizing a lot more of the talents that we have and trying to make it more colorful.
The entire CD is going to be a new experience. There are some songs we have been playing and some we haven’t yet. The songs that we haven't are such a new stretch for us, such a new direction that we feel like we're finally really creating incredibly original stuff.
HM: Appreciate the time, Anthony. We’re looking forward to covering Rootwire. We’ll have a video team there to help document things and will be doing all kinds of coverage.
AT: Great, thanks. The whole aspect of Rootwire is pretty groundbreaking. There’s an incredible amount of energy from the people working there. This world doesn't really get documented that much and it's pretty exciting to see what's going to come out of this. It would be really awesome to popularize that aspect of the festival because we’d really like to see is a bunch of Rootwires pop up everywhere.
We just want a community to be formed. It doesn't matter whether it's us doing it or not. It's more of a community of people trying to make this kind of experience commonplace in the world.
Rootwire 2012 takes place in Logan, Ohio from August 16 to 19 with Ott, Random Rab, Dopapod, The Malah and three nights of Papadosio. Headstash will be on the grounds bringing you live updates and will be producing videos for a Festival Files series. For more information on the event and to buy tickets, visit Rootwire's official website. Stay tuned for video coverage in August and September.
Aug. 11 - The Festival Of Gnarnia - Beech Mountain, NC
Aug. 16 - Rootwire - Logan, OH
Aug. 19 - The Blue Note - Columbia, MO
Aug. 20 - Plush - St. Louis, MO
Aug. 31 - North Coast Music Festival - Chicago, IL
Sept. 1 - Catawba Farm Festival - Catawba, VA
Sept. 2 - Lexington Avenye Arts and Fun Festival - Asheville, NC
Sept. 7 - Shangri-La Music Festival - Clarks Grove, MN
Sept. 13 - The Miramar Theatre - Milwaukee, WI
Sept. 14 - Majestic Theatre - Madison, WI
Sept. 15 - Hyperion Festival - Spencer, IN
Sept. 18 - Bell's Eccentric Cafe - Kalamazoo, MI
Sept. 19 - Majestic Theater/The Magic Stick - Detroit, MI
Sept. 21 - Rex Theater - Pittsburgh, PA
Sept. 22 - 9:30 Club - Washington, D.C.
Sept. 25 - Traif Music Hall - Buffalo, NY
Sept. 26 - The Westcott Theater - Syracuse, NY
Sept. 27 - Highline Ballroom - New York City, NY
Sept. 28 - Higher Ground - South Burlington, VT
Sept. 29 - Heads in Harmony Festival - Norridgewock, ME
Sept. 30 - Royale - Boston, MA
Oct. 6 - City Bisco - Philadelphia, PA
Oct. 16 - Diamond's Pub - Louisville, KY
Oct. 17 - The Valarium - Knoxville, TN
Oct. 19 - Georgia Theatre - Athens, GA
Oct. 20 - Terminal West - Atlanta, GA
Oct. 23 - The Pour House - Charleston, SC
Oct. 24 - Neighborhood Theatre - Charlotte, NC
Oct. 25 - Jefferson Theater - Charlottesville, VA
Oct. 26 - NorVa - Norfolk, VA
Oct. 27 - Ram's Head Live! - Baltimore, MD
Nov. 7 - The Lyric - Oxford, MS
Nov. 8 - Rick's - Starkville, MS
Nov. 9 - The Maison - New Orleans, LA
Nov. 10 - Beauty Ballroom - Austin, TX
Nov. 13 - George's Majestic Lounge - Fayetteville, AR
Nov. 14 - The Granada - Lawrence, KS
Nov. 15 - Fox Theatre - Boulder, CO
Nov. 16 - Aggie Theatre - Fort Collins, CO
Nov. 17 - Cervante's Ballroom - Denver, CO
Nov. 18 - Belly Up Aspen - Aspen, CO
Dec. 5 - Double Down - Gainesville, FL
Dec. 6 - Crowbar - Ybor City, FL
Dec. 7 - Culture Room - Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Dec. 8 - Freebird Live - Jacksonville Beach, FL