Papadosio

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Papadosio inspires fans to think while they dance

:: Papadosio ::
:: Belly Up :: February 16 ::
:: The  Llama :: February 18 ::
:: Hodi’s Half Note :: February 19 ::
:: Fox Theatre :: February 23 ::
:: Ullr’s :: February 25 ::
:: Cervantes’ Masterpiece :: February 26 ::

By Jeffrey V. Smith

Newly emerging from the underground jamtronica and improvisational rock scene, Asheville-based Papadosio is only just beginning to become known for its extraordinary live shows. It won’t be long, however, until it’s common knowledge.

With its stated mission to create unexpected combinations of eclectic musical traditions with modern electronica “to stir the heart and fuel the mind,” the band in effect fuses jam-rock with electronic music to construct ecstatic dance music and a potent live energy. Both traditional instruments and modern technology play equal parts in its creation.

The band’s odd moniker, a reflection of the act’s overall mission, is the result of attempting to find a name that had absolutely no prior meaning associated to it. Papadosio co-founder Anthony Thogmartin, who The Marquee caught up with — despite his exhaustion — on a trip home from a weekend of performances at a Florida music festival, explained the name choice was “so that the art we create can be directly associated to only what it is.”

This philosophy to be fiercely independent and markedly original with its music, flows into Papadosio’s message and personal cosmic beliefs. After all, the band’s stated influences — Alan Watts, Nassim Haramein, Albert Einstein, Carl Sagan, and Mr. Show — are more spiritual guides than musical ones.

“Throughout our experience, we have come to realize everyone is trying to say something. Over the course of our career, we have realized we have the ability to become an antenna for the consciousness movement. We have made friends along the way that have found some answers and solutions that we would love to broadcast to the world, and that is exactly what we intend to do,” Thogmartin said.

Band members are even going so far as to trek to the Peruvian Amazon jungle later this year to study under a shaman at the Chimbre retreat. “Peru offers us yet another way to try and stay on the ‘path,’” said Thogmartin.

Philosophical implications aside, when Papadosio plays live, it throws down a dance-party that becomes a transporting experience for many in the audience.

Formed in 2006 in Athens, Ohio, the band recently moved to Asheville, N.C. to be more central to the East Coast markets and further their musical aspirations. Band members first met at weekly jam sessions at an Athens bar named O Hooleys and, according to Thogmartin, their “musical similarities were instantly apparent,” so they decided to get together outside of the open jam and “see what would happen.” What happened was the formation of a sound rooted in a unique blend of influences and styles. “Our musical mission was to mix certain styles of music together that haven’t originally been combined,” said Thogmartin, who anchors the band on guitar, synth, sequences and vocals. “Out of that, we realized we were a dance band. Our intention has been to create odd music that is still accessible [and]acceptable to the ear. We have been trying to create art that isn’t compromised by having to be in one specific genre or by trying to play to one type of listener or scene. And, so far, it seems as if people dig how weird it gets – which is exciting.”

Most recently, the act has busied itself growing its fan base, creating its own music festival, taking on new recording projects and relocating its home base. The band even added a new member, Sam Brouse, about six months ago. Sam is the brother of founding member Billy Brouse, who plays keys, synths and sings. Rob McConnell, on bass and vocals, and Mike Healy on drums, are also founding members.

In 2010, the band debuted its own music and consciousness-arising festival, Rootwire, in rural Ohio. Thogmartin described the first event as being a “direct hit” and “incredible.” The event returns in 2011 from August 4 through 7.

Thogmartin explained that the festival came about because “there is a new generation of amazing music and artists flourishing right now” and that there is a line drawn between acts that constantly headline festivals — and have for a decade — and “amazing” new acts. “Rootwire was designed to give these new unbelievable bands the same production value as the big acts, and the performance/live artists the recognition they deserve,” Thogmartin said.

With Papadosio’s increasing recognition as an engaging live act, an increasing number of devotees are getting on board. The band’s efforts at growing its fan base were in full display late last year when Papadosio’s fans voted it onto Jam Cruise 9, which sailed in early January. “It was a huge honor, and we can’t thank everybody enough for giving us a vacation,” Thogmartin said.

One of the biggest changes for the band was its move from its Ohio home. “Our recent move to Asheville was an attempt to surround ourselves with some real, genuine, natural beauty that would serve as inspiration for our next release that we are working on,” the guitarist said. The band built a full production studio “in the midst of some beautiful mountains, and couldn’t be happier with the results so far.”

:: Papadosio ::

:: Belly Up :: February 16 ::

:: The Llama :: February 18 ::

:: Hodi’s Half Note :: February 19 ::

:: Fox Theatre :: February 23 ::

:: Ullr’s :: February 25 ::

:: Cervantes’ Masterpiece :: February 26 ::

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