Conspirator and Dopapod played Feb. 28 at Higher Ground in Burlington, VT. Conspirator is on its Dynasty Tour headed to Colorado, land of green sunshine and Dopapod is on the road too, headed south, at this very moment.
Music feeds the soul — Conspirator
SARATOGA SPRINGS >> Two weeks ago, the four suburban East Coast men that make up the jamtronica band Conspirator were sitting in a jungle hut, bonding over their shared fear of the howler monkeys lurking in the rainforest before they headlined a festival. But next week, they’ll practically be at your doorstep, Saratoga Springs.
Conspirator came together 10 years ago, founded by Disco Biscuits keyboardist Aron Magner and bassist Marc Brownstein, and has seen over the years a rotating crew of drummers, DJs, producers and everything in between.
“They are masters of jam,” Conspirator guitarist Chris Michetti said of his cohorts.
Michetti joined the band two years ago, after he spent a few months filling in for Jon Gutwillig, the then-injured Disco Biscuits guitarist, and hit it off with Magner and Brownstein. With the addition of drummer Greg Sgrulloni, the band is getting back to its “jamming roots,” according to Michetti, and doing it “with a nice hybrid of thick EDM and jam.”
The band tours full time, and on the days they aren’t touring, they’re shaping the “jam movements” that comprise the framework of their songs while crafting the electronic tracks sprinkled in between those movements.
Michetti said working with his band mates and meeting his heroes, like Luther Dickinson and Robert Randolph, on the festival circuit has taken his music to another level. Playing a guitar lick is easy, at least it is for Michetti, and everyone likes to solo on stage, but what he really wants to do is “speak through” his guitar, he said, and let’s just say it takes him more than 30 seconds to have a good conversation.
“I like when there’s time to breathe and move together as a band,” Michetti said.
Magner and Brownstein have “a methodology, a vocabulary of improvisation,” they said, and Michetti has — as evidenced in the albums — definitely picked up on their skills.
“We’re moving around tonally, rhythmically and somatically to create something — as a group, not just as one. Every five weeks, there’s a new jump,” Michetti said, adding that they learn how to “have a direction,” to contain and “peak the jam” and to “keep the crowd with us and not fizzle out.”
The bands nearly constant evolution has taken the music from a heavy emphasis on electronic dance music to what is now a lighter one that “feels much better, much more honest and true” to Michetti.
The music may be taking on a new direction, Michetti said, but it’s still christened with a synthesis of growls and whistles that are the staples of old-school EDM, moobahton and dubstep.
Even though he does it full time, performing in front of audiences isn’t a simple feat, Michetti said, even when the crowd is a mere several hundred like at Putnam Den.
“It’s not like buttering a bagel,” Michetti said. “It’s not — it’s a big deal.”
He said the group often needs to bring even more pep to the small shows, which aren’t equipped with a dancing sea of thousands of people in front of them like at festivals.
Currently, Michetti and his fiancée are looking for a place in Philadelphia, where the rest of his band mates are living.
“The goal is to be closer, and work as much as possible,” he said, and to revamp the band’s “backlog of tracks.”
Much to the delight of Conspirator fans, that backlog might even mean not just one, but two full albums in the near future, Michetti said.