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Summer Stars: Dopapod

by Sam D’Arcangelo on August 15, 2014

This past winter was brutal, dude,” reflects Dopapod guitarist Rob Compa. “We flew into the Philadelphia airport in the middle of a blizzard, and I swear, the snowstorm didn’t stop for three weeks. We drove all the way out to Colorado and back on a big, long tour and it was just white-knuckle driving the entire time. It scared the shit out of us.”

Fortunately for Compa, and just about everyone else for that matter, the summer is now upon us. Yet, while the change in seasons may mean nicer weather and safer roads, it doesn’t signify much of a difference in work patterns for the perennial touring machine that is Dopapod. The group, which first got started at the Berklee College of Music in 2007, has built a national following the way that any good jamband should—by relentlessly playing shows in as many places as possible.

“It’s easier today, with the Internet, for bands to do that. Twenty years ago, it would have been unheard of for a band from New York to have people listening to them in California. Now, you can just record a demo in your living room, click a few buttons and people can listen to your music anywhere in the world,” says Compa. “But that doesn’t get a band recognized. You have to put in the work and tour, and some people aren’t fortunate enough or don’t want to work hard enough to do that. It takes a lot out of you, but we’re in our 20s and we’re just down to travel all over the country to play and get our name out.”

The main thing that differentiates Dopapod’s summer touring schedule from their work during the rest of the year is the prevalence of music festivals. Like many bands before them, Dopapod have learned how to capitalize on multi-day events, which provide artists with perfect opportunities to reach audiences that otherwise would have been left in the dark. Whether it’s a midday chill out, a late-night rager or an old-fashioned headlining slot, the band always makes sure to gear their set to the crowd at hand. With a repertoire that includes elements of funk, jazz, metal, electronica, prog-rock and more, and a seemingly limitless ability to improvise within all of those styles, Dopapod have no trouble winning over new followers at fests of all shapes and sizes.

“Festivals are a different beast than playing club shows because the people at club shows are often already fans,” notes Compa. “The sets are also shorter, so we don’t even have as much time to stretch out and get weird. We play more straightforward versions of our songs, and that’s good for people hearing us for the first time anyway.”

Dopapod will roll through upward of 20 festivals this summer, undoubtedly turning on countless music aficionados to their eclectic sound at every stop. They’ve come a long way since 2007, and the future looks brighter as they continue to play an increasingly diverse array of events.

“One that we did last year that I’m really looking forward to doing again is The Peach Music Festival. The Allman Brothers are just awesome and Trey Anastasio is going to be there. I’m really excited for that—he’s probably my favorite guitar player,” adds Compa. “Seeing my band’s name on the same poster as somebody like that—I used to get Fs on papers in high school because I would be off daydreaming about that kind of stuff.”

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