On the heels of their huge Bonnaroo performance, L4LM writer Jack Sheehan sat down with Chuck Jones, the bassist of Dopapod. The band is firing on all cylinders having released their highly-acclaimed 2014 album, Never Odd Or Even, and with a full summer tour schedule ahead. With appearances at festivals like The Werk Out and more, expect big things from Jones and Dopapod for the rest of 2015!
L4LM: This Summer was your first time playing Bonnaroo, how was that?
CJ: Pretty surreal. We were hoping for a big crowd, but there were a lot more people in front of us than anyone of us were expecting. It was probably one of the most exciting and energetic crowds.
Watch Dopapod Play The Biggest Set Of Their Careers At Bonnaroo
L4LM: I hear it’s incredible, and really freaking hot.
CJ: That whole festival is amazing because its not necessarily corporate, but it’s a bigger festival, a bigger name. That might be the reason for it, but it attracts people that are not normal festival-goers. People were really attentive the whole weekend and into it. No one seemed out of it or beat up, you know? We were only there for two days, but what I really noticed was really into every set they were watching, so that was cool.
L4LM: You have some other fests lined up for this summer, including The Werk Out. What keeps you guys performing there every year, and what is a reason for us east coasters to make the trip out there?
CJ: Well, The Werks keep asking us back, so we’re there. It’s cool though; this is definitely the biggest lineup they’ve had so far. Lettuce, Umphrey’s, there’s a lot of big names on there. Last year it was a nice small festival, but now its right in the middle between a small festival and a big festival.
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L4LM: So it’s right in the sweet spot.
CJ: Yea and that area is nice too. I think that one thing that’s kinda fun about it, at least last year, it happened the weekend after Gathering of the Juggalos. It’s on the same festival grounds. I don’t wanna say it still smells like Juggalos, but there’s definitely a Juggalo essence in the air. Our friend Jeremy, who does a lot of videos for us, he went to all the Juggalo fests and showed us the videos he had of that year. It was cool to see what was going on exactly where we were a weekend before.
L4LM: You guys are playing two sets at The Werk Out this year. How do you go about it?
CJ: I guess it depends. If it’s a late night, we try to do some more of our upbeat, electronic stuff. If it’s during the day we try to get away with some of our sleepier songs. The biggest thing is we look at what we played last time at the same festival or around that area recently and make sure it’s not too similar, but without sacrificing a good set you know? If we played a bunch of good songs last year we feel like playing them, we’re not gonna completely mix it. We still wanna make a good set, yet at that same time, diversity is very important to us. As much as we can, our catalog isn’t huge but it’s big enough that we can switch it up.
L4LM: Speaking on the note of diversity, you guys have really embraced electronic music making with traditional rock and roll instruments (guitar, bass, keys, drums). I wanted to ask if there were any guiding principles creatively as far as your sound goes.
CJ: Honestly, anything is pretty fair game as long as everyone agrees with it. Usually we’ll write stuff, we’ll try it live, and we’ll keep hashing it out.
L4LM: What’s your favorite piece of gear? I know you use a lot of stuff from Aguilar.
CJ: My favorite piece of gear, well, actually I just updated my cabinet from a 4 x 10 to a 4 x12, which I’ll be using for the first time tonight; It’s maiden voyage. I don’t know if I have one favorite. I love my Aguilar gear, but it might be my bass. All the Aguilar stuff is amazing, incredible, and reliable, but I’m not particularly attached to one thing. If my head broke, I’d be upset that I had to get a new one but I wouldn’t have any sentimental attachment to it. But my bass, if that broke on the other hand, I’d be real upset.
L4LM: You guys are in San Diego, a whale’s vagina tonight, right?
CJ: Yes, we are in the whale’s vagina tonight.
L4LM: I wanted to ask you guys, because you’re out west for a few weeks, if there are any differences between the scenes on the coasts as far as your counterculture Jamtronica goes.
CJ: Right. Well I don’t know yet because we’ve never played out here except for high sierra, which went really well. So if you ask me two weeks from now, I’ll have an answer for you.
L4LM: The Pancake set: How did that idea come up and will you be doing it at any other festivals this season?
CJ: Well we did that once a few years back, and we kinda forgot about it. Then our manager brought it up again and was like ‘that was a good idea. You guys are bigger now, and it would probably go over well.’ We were all into it; it was pretty fun. I don’t know if were gonna do that again, not everyone loved it. So if we do it again, it may not be all of us.
L4LM: Maybe waffles?
CJ: Maybe waffles.
L4LM: Another point I wanted to mention: all your album titles and your band name are palindromes. How’d that come about?
CJ: Eli [Winderman], the keyboard player, is really into symmetry and palindromes. That’s kinda his main thing; he started the band before me so we stuck with it. I personally don’t have any attachment to symmetry or palindromes, but it is part of the band staple at this point. I think it works well for the logo, designed by our lighting guy, Luke. I’m kind of more of an asymmetrical guy.
L4LM: Any funny stories from the road?
CJ: I mean last night was pretty fun. We went to a local bar next to my house called The Rancho and we all got, like, really really drunk. Rob [Compa] and one of our stagehands did a Britney Spears duet, tucked their shirts in and they were like caressing each other and singing to each other. It was…one of the best moments of my life, watching that. Everyone sang, I sang “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen. It’s a good night for all of us to go out and not have to do anything, go to a bar and chill out.
L4LM: New territory for Dopapod, but its back home in your hood.
CJ: Yea, exactly. It was the bar I passed every day going to school growing up. It’s really fun, man. It’s such a divvy, little weird bar.
L4LM: That’s a good story. Thanks for your time!