Devil Never Even Lived: An interview with DOPAPOD
In a musical sea of jam, funk and electronic bands, all clamoring their way through the festy and club circuit hoping for mainstream success, Dopapod stands out above the rest.
The four-piece experimental funk group manages to blend all of the aforementioned genres and turn them into something exciting and original- not to mention their insanely energetic and wicked fun live shows. When you go to see Dopapod you know you’re going to be dancing until your feet fall off.
Formed four years ago in Boston, Mass., the group now resides in New York City, where I caught up with them before their recent show at Sullivan Hall and discussed their new album, Five Hour Energies, and the group’s ineffable love of palindromes…
So can you give me your background? How you met, how long you’ve been together, all that fun stuff…
Eli Winderman [keys]: We all met at Berklee College of Music in Boston, but me and Chuck were the first ones to meet when we did a summer camp up in Boston about seven or eight years ago. I met Rob at school- we were both in a reggae dub ensemble and we started doing a couple gigs together around town and then joined the band. Me and Chuck used to have a different band before this one called “The Actual Proof” which is a Herbie Hancock song- it’s an alright name- and then Dopapod got started and Rob and Chuck joined it, and then we got Neal [Evans] on the drums.
You mentioned that name [The Actual Proof] was not that cool of a name. So, Dopapod- as I was researching you guys, I noticed the palindromes. What’s up with the palindromes?
I just really like them. *Laughter*
[For context, the band name Dopapod, and album releases “Radar,” “I Saw Live Dopapod Evil Was I,” and the upcoming, “Drawn Onward” are all palindromes. Psst… a palindrome is a word spelled the same forwards as it is backwards.]
How do you think of that?!
There’s actually a bunch of websites that have lots of them. Like, thousands of them. That’s how I found “Radar” and “Drawn Onward.” It’s not as cool as if I thought of them.
Do you want to talk about your new album at all?
Rob Compa [guitar]: We recorded it in January. And the tracks have basically been finished for a while, but it took a long time to get it mixed and mastered. All that is finally wrapped up, and it should be out in a couple months.
Chuck Jones [bass]: Should we tell the story of how we finished it and rode back to your [Eli’s] house in the snowstorm?
I would love to hear it.
It was back in January and we finished it, and Eli’s parents live about two hours away so we were going there for the night cause we were going to a gig the next day or something. We were gonna leave and he was talking to his mom and she said, “there’s a crazy snowstorm coming you guys should just stay.” But we start driving and it was like, the craziest snowstorm of the entire year. Luckily we weren’t driving around in our trailer and we still had all the gear in the van. But, it just took forever to get there, there were cars flipped over, we really shouldn’t have been driving. Within the last mile of getting to his house our car got stuck like three times, and eventually it got stuck–
Rob: There was no paved road ahead of it–
Chuck: It was two feet of snow. So we abandoned the car in the middle of the road and like, grabbed all our gear.
Rob: Grabbed a thirty rack of Narragansett and trenched through the snow.
Chuck: All of our gear, all of our basses and pedal horns and beer, and just trudged through the snow.
Rob: It felt like that show “I Shouldn’t be Alive.” Have you ever seen that?
That show scares the shit out of me. I can’t watch it.
It makes me afraid to go out and do things.
Me too! It makes me afraid to live my life.
“I Survived” is way worse. The show starts and the person talking has no arms and you’re like, “I know what’s going to happen.”
So, the first time I saw your band was at Wormtown in 2010, when you played from like, 4 o’ clock to 8:30 in the morning. How did you not pass out? Because I was exhausted and I wasn’t doing nearly as much work as you all were.
Eli: It was waves of exhaustion. Music, when it’s going good and it’s fun, is a drug all its own. So, there were moments definitely when my body was telling me to shut off, but we just kept playing, and then all of the sudden it would be happening with the music and I would just get a lift of energy. And also Five Hour Energy.
Rob: I had a Five Hour Energy and I didn’t use it the entire time.
Those don’t work.
Eli: They do work! If you use it too much it loses the power, it’s like any drug.
Did you go into that set knowing you were going to play for a long time?
Yeah. We made a list of every song we could play. Back then we had 20-something songs, and there were two left that we didn’t do. And this past year [at Strangecreek] we were going to do the same thing. We had way more songs, we were going to play even longer… but it, uhh, got a little iffy there.
What was the deal at Bella Terra? You guys had 45 minutes to play?
Rob: It was supposed to be an hour, but we got cut off at 52 minutes.
It seemed like everybody was kind of getting kicked off the stage there.
Chuck: Somebody accidentally kicked the chord and the power got knocked out.
Eli: We were on our last song, we were going to finish, but the power shut off. It was annoying because I think it makes us look kind of bad when the song just ends. No like, “see ya, thanks for being here!”
Rob: We had Zach [Deputy] singing that night, that was awesome.
So any upcoming tour stuff that you want to promote? I know you have a cool Halloween show coming up.
Chuck: We’re doing Halloween in Sturbridge, Mass. with Goosepimp, Lespecial, Kung Fu…
Eli: …Wolfman Conspiracy, Seed. And we’re doing the music of “Wayne’s World” which is really exciting because it’s been my favorite movie my entire life and the music is fucking awesome.
What are you guys going to dress as?
You might just have to come see for yourself.
Rob: That means we don’t really know yet.
Don’t forget to “like” Buntology on Facebook for pictures from the Sullivan Hall performance!