Dopapod dropped some surprise news this morning. With the announcement of their fifth studio album, MEGAGEM, due out October 27, which will be supported by a lengthy fall tour through New Year’s Eve, the band has also announced that they will take a year hiatus. “Following seven years of ceaseless touring, the sabbatical is a blueprint for wellness borne from love and mutual respect amongst old friends,” the press release explains. “It’s a pre-emptive move of self-preservation inspired by the TED Talk, ‘The Power of Time Off’.”
“Every seven years this guy closes his design firm and everyone who works for the company works on their own projects for the year,” says keyboardist and singer/songwriter Eli Winderman. “When they come back, everyone is inspired and working with a newfound sense of excitement.”
Fair enough, the band shows no immediate signs of slowing down. With today’s album announcement, Dopapod have also shared the first single “Plaese Haalp,” available as a ‘name your own price’ download on their Bandcamp page. MEGAGEM is available for pre-order at iTunes and you can watch the studio shot video for “Plaese Haalp” below.
Choosing to record MEGAGEM’s instrumentals at the solar-powered Mountain Star Studios in Black Hawk, Colorado during the dead of winter, Dopapod found an optimal opportunity to unplug from all other noise. “The lack of oxygen led to some crazy ideas,” says guitarist Rob Compa. “When combined with the lack of phone service, human contact, or any other distractions, it allowed us to have the freedom to make a lot of that weird inspiration become reality.” Compa and Winderman knocked out the vocals soon after, in two days, at More Sound Recording Studios in Syracuse, NY.
“A lot of these songs are also reactions to how the world is changing, about living your life in the present moment and the inner dialogues of the mind,” says Winderman. “MEGAGEM could be the brain, or it could also be a cell phone, controlling your subconscious thoughts and, thus, changing your habits. I think a lot of people are feeling this way because of the boost in technology, with everybody addicted and attached to their phones.”
Being in that present moment took work, personal reflection and a new perspective on the power of silence. According to the press release, former drummer Neal “Fro” Evans reconnected with Dopapod after sharing his experience on a ten-day Vipassana silent meditation retreat that brought him great clarity. Inspired by this trip and the changes they brought him, Winderman followed suit and embarked on the sojourn himself. Evans rejoined Dopapod last year, following the band’s three-year stretch with drummer Scotty Zwang.
When the band pushed on after parting ways with Neal the first time, Winderman says, they were operating out of fear. When they continued to tour past the point of good health, it was for fear that slowing down would render them irrelevant. Identifying the root emotion that drives big band decisions has been yet another fruit borne from meditation and self-improvement, and Winderman’s careful not to let fear drive any more big life decisions ever again. “The seed of the lyrics living in the present moment stemmed from this whole,” he says. “That’s what every meditation practice trains us to teach.”
The fruits of this practice illuminate MEGAGEM’s joyous journey of self-understanding, as its buoyant compositions make space for lessons of personal growth and embracing the now.
If there’s another benefit to the sabbatical, it’s an investment toward their faith in MEGAGEM. Being confident enough to let the songs seep into the world for a while, to let people chew on it, and not worry about being sustained by the visceral or immediate rush of seeing Dopapod live is an exercise in the confidence that comes with thoughtful decision making that ensures the creative juices will keep flowing for years to come.
“MEGAGEM and the fall tour are our way of seeing everyone before we take some time to work on other parts of our lives,” says Winderman. “In doing so, we hope the progress we make in our personal lives will cross over into Dopapod. From all of the other bands who we’ve come up with, to all of the music fans that have shown us such incredible support over the years, we just want to say thank you. Dopapod would be nothing without you.”
Dopapod // Tour Dates
Oct 26 — Philadelphia, PA — Theater of Living Arts
Oct 27 — New York, NY — Irving Plaza
Oct 28 — New Haven, CT — College Street Music Hall
Oct 29 — Burlington, VT — Higher Ground Ballroom
Oct 31 — Saratoga Springs, NY — Putnam Den
Nov 01 — Buffalo, NY — Buffalo Iron Works
Nov 02 — Ann Arbor, MI — The Blind Pig
Nov 03 — Kalamazoo, MI — Bells Eccentric Cafe Back Room
Nov 04 — Indianapolis, IN — The Vogue Theatre
Nov 07 — Iowa City, IA — Gabe’s
Nov 08 — Minneapolis, MN — Skyway Theatre
Nov 09 — Milwaukee, WI — Turner Hall
Nov 10 — Chicago, IL — Park West
Nov 11 — Cincinnati, OH — Bogart’s
Nov 12 — Morgantown, WV — 123 Pleasant Street
Nov 15 — Richmond, VA — The National
Nov 16 — Raleigh, NC — Lincoln Theatre
Nov 17 — Asheville, NC — Salvage Station
Nov 18 — Atlanta, GA — Variety Playhouse
Nov 19 — Charleston, SC — Charleston Pourhouse
Nov 30 — Ft. Collins, CO — Aggie Theatre
Dec 01 — Denver, CO — Bluebird Theater
Dec 02 — Denver, CO — Bluebird Theater
Dec 05 — Fayetteville, AR — George’s Majestic Lounge
Dec 07 — Lexington, KY — Cosmic Charlies
Dec 08 — Columbus, OH — Woodlands Tavern
Dec 09 — Columbus, OH — Woodlands Tavern
Dec 10 — Columbus, OH — Woodlands Tavern
Dec 13 — Pittsburgh, PA — Rex Theater
Dec 14 — Washington, D.C. — Gypsy Sally’s
Dec 15 — Stroudsburg, PA — Sherman Theater
Dec 16 — Syracuse, NY — The Wescott Theater
Dec 30 — Providence, RI — Fete Ballroom
Dec 31 — Boston, MA — Paradise
MEGAGEM Track Listing:
1 – Plaese Haalp
2 – Piazole
3 – Zonk
4 – Mucho
5 – Confabulation
6 – Turn by Turn
7 – Buster Brown
8 – Starfish
Fans of Rob Compa, Eli Winderman, and Chuck Jones can still catch them performing at Brooklyn Comes Alive in various supergroup formations later this month. Inspired by the vibrant musical communities of Brooklyn and New Orleans, Brooklyn Comes Alive is set to take place across three venues in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Brooklyn Bowl, Schimanski, Music Hall of Williamsburg) on September 23rd and 24th. The unique homegrown event puts the focus on the musicians, curating dream team collaborations, tributes, and artist passion projects for two full days of incredible music both new and old.
The 2017 lineup is set to include hand-selected band lineups featuring all-star musicians like John Scofield, George Porter Jr. (The Meters), Vinnie Amico and Al Schnier (moe.), Bernard Purdie, Kofi Burbridge (Tedeschi Trucks Band), Joel Cummins, Ryan Stasik, and Kris Myers (Umphrey’s McGee), Aron Magner and Marc Brownstein (The Disco Biscuits), Mike Greenfield and Jesse Miller (Lotus), Jason Hann (String Cheese Incident), Alan Evans (Soulive), Cyril Neville (Neville Brothers), Henry Butler, Jon Cleary, Reed Mathis (Electric Beethoven), Michael League, Nate Werth, Chris Bullock, Robert “Sput” Searight, and Bob Lanzetti (Snarky Puppy), Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman (Trey Anastasio Band), and scores of others!
***Tickets Are On Sale Now!***
Brooklyn Comes Alive is now offering single day tickets, as well as a ticket payment plan for as low as $30/month. When checking out, just select “Monthly payments with Affirm” as your payment method. To find out more about ticketing, VIP options, and lodging, head to the festival website.