What started as a couple of spirited jam sessions has evolved into one of the hottest up-and-coming acts in rock. Born in Athens, Ohio, jam/electronic/whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-them band Papadosio has seen their success skyrocket over the past two years. Comprised of former Ohio University and Hocking College students, the band, playing through the east coast as a part of their Awake Inside Tour, made a pit stop in Athens, Ohio, last month to play at The Union. Backdrop got an opportunity to talk to guitarist/vocalist Anthony Thogmartin about the band's journey, future projects, and what it feels like to return to the town where everything came together.
Backdrop: First and foremost, where are you guys right now?
Anthony: We’re in Philadelphia tonight. Tomorrow night we’re in Boston, last night we were in Virginia. We have 26 stops on our tour, so we really got our work cut out for us [laughs].
B: So you’re in the middle of a big tour. What, again, was the name of that?
A: We’re in the middle of our “Awake Inside” tour. It’s the first tour we’re doing with visuals, which are in the mix with our production. We have live projected visuals with a DJ. We basically have a bunch of pieces of art from some of our friends, and other people that we've met along the way, and Jason's [who is working on the tour's concert visuals] job is kind of to animate this art, as well as video footage, and kind of mix it all in with the music, and a lot of the subject matter pertains to what we're talking about, and it kind of helps us get our message out. We're pumped about it.
B: You mentioned your message. Care to elaborate?
A: We want to inspire people. More than anything else, we want to inspire people. We've discovered ourselves that the pursuit of art is not localized to any specific person. Every single person is an artist in some way. Art, and the action of doing it, actually changes the person. The degree and environment of inspiration within people will help create an environment of peace, of everything positive. The more time you spend creating, the less time you spend doing less desirable, mundane things, things that jade you.
B: So how long is your current tour going to last?
A: Until March 5. Many, many, many dates, all across the east. Just trying to spread out as much as possible, and try to reach as much of our east coast fan base as possible. We're really excited.
B: After the tour wraps up, what next? Recording?
A: We have been recording for a while. We have most of the tracks from our next album recorded, and now we're going to go back in and mix them. Do some post-production. Basically, we have 20 songs right now, the album is going to be a double-disc. We definitely have our work cut out for us [laughs]. We're about half way through the process, and I'm not sure exactly when we'll be finished with all of it.
B: What is the album going to be called? Are you guys hoping to complete it before the music festival season really starts up?
A: That would be ideal. We decided a long time ago we wouldn't rush a thing. It’s very important that we don't rush the artistic process. I would love to see it out by then. We also don't have a name for it. We're kind of waiting for the whole thing to come together before we name it.
B: Is there a specific studio you record at?
A: We built our own studio from the ground up. We transformed our rehearsal cabin into a fully functional studio. We did it all ourselves and we really enjoy the process. It also allows us to keep our music our own, free from all of the outside influence. We do our own thing and take as much time as we need.
B: Where is the cabin?
A: In Asheville, North Carolina, where we live.
B: Do you guys have any firm festival commitments this year?
A: Our most important festival is obviously our own, Rootwire, which is held right next to Athens in Logan, Ohio. We have been so successful with the festival every year that it has kind of become our second passion. It’s a huge thing that we put a lot of time and energy into. This year its going to be even bigger than last year's, we're super excited about it, now we're able to bring in international artists, which is great. We have plans to play All Good as well, and Walkaroosa in Arkansas and High Sierra festival in California. We're trying to not play as many festivals as we did last year. We did more than 20 last year, and it got to the degree where we couldn't really enjoy any one of them that much because we were always traveling. We want to be able to actually hang out and take in the scene a bit, ya know?
B: So you guys are returning to Athens on February 19. How often do you guys get to return to Athens, be it for leisure or to play a show?
A: We get to hang out from time to time. We really didn't know that the Union had expanded until recently. Once we found out, we were all about it, we were basically just waiting for a stage to happen. Ever since the Blue Gator shut down, it’s been hard to find a venue to fit all of our fans. But I guess we finally have a room to fit everyone.
B: Fond memories of the Gator?
A: Oh, yeah. We loved that place. It, unfortunately, kind of fell by the wayside. We're hoping someone buys it and resurrects it a bit.
B: Any other venues in Athens you guys were fond of?
A: We used to play at O'Huley's. That was where the band all kind of came together. We did the whole open jam thing back in the day, it was a lot of fun. Good spot. Little small though [laughs].
B: List your three favorite bars in Athens.
A: Well, O'Huley's/Jackie O's was where I always used to go. I definitely liked Smiling Skull, I really liked that spot. And, I guess the Union would be third. I just liked all of the places that had live music, ya know?
B: On a typical Athens night, when you guys return and have no obligations, what're you guys going to be doing?
A: We may go out. We'll probably visit houses more than go to the bars, just meet up with old friends. Back in the day, O'Huley's was a good spot to see people, so we may pop our heads in there. Always a good spot to see.