Neal Evans of Dopapod on the Road to Resonance & Beyond: Exclusive Interview

Photos From Dopapod Press Release

Dopapod has been touring and creating music for over a decade now taking fans on a unique journey every time they take the stage. Their diverse sound that covers a number of genres comes from the diversity of the four band members. Composed of Eli Winderman (keys and vocals), Rob Compa (guitar and vocals), Chuck Jones (bass), and Neal “Fro” Evans (drums), the band collectively took a hiatus for all of 2018 to refresh and recenter and are now back and better than ever! With a new album out, a new tour on the way, and an upcoming performance at Resonance Music & Arts Festival, the band has been busy and has a lot in store for the remainder of the year! Festival Squad was lucky enough to talk to Dopapod’s drummer, Neal “Fro” Evans, about the bands beginnings, hiatus, and upcoming shows!

Festival Squad: Thank you for taking time to talk with Festival Squad about some exciting things going on for you guys! To start lets talk about where you guys got your start. In 2007 you four came together at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. What brought you guys together and are you all from the area?

Neal Evans: Were all actually from different areas. I’m from Colorado, Chuck is from LA, Eli is from Philly, and Rob is from Rochester, NY! Just like anyone else that attends Berklee we all loved playing music so we all got together! I was the last person to join the band so I don’t know all the specific details of how everything came together. The band originally started off as a two piece with Eli and Mikey Curubba, the drummer from Turkuaz, then Rob came on followed by Chuck then I was added on percussion shortly after. We all toured for a while as Dopapod and at the same time me, Mikey, and Eli all played in Turkuaz. Eventually we made some splits and I took over drums for Dopapod and Mikey went to Turkuaz and both band took off full time! 

FS: You guys mix a number of genres and sounds into your music and live performances. As a drummer who has been some of your biggest influences and where did you get your start? 

NE: Me personally, I’ve always been a heavy metal guy growing up. I also did jazz band in high school and stuff like that. All of the early bands I was in and created were all thrash metal and punk rock. I think having that intensity is a big part of what I bring to the table here. It meshes in an interesting way with Eli and Rob! They are more into funk and soul. Rob is the only guy that is really into actual jam bands and Eli is a Soulive and Medeski Martin & Wood kind of dude. Then Chuck is also into more punk rock and edgy stuff. That kinda makes a heavy rhythm section over the thoughtful,  melodic, and harmonic world of Eli and Rob.

Dopapod (Rob Compa, Eli Winderman, Chuck Jones, Neal Evans)

FS: After years of touring and releasing music you guys took a planned hiatus in 2018 to refresh and recenter as a band. How did you spend your time away from the band to refresh? Why was this important to you guys as a band? 

NE: I definitely just overall think it’s important to be able to take a break from anything you are heavily invested in for a long period of time. Just take a step back and be able to open yourself up to different influences and other things that can be apart of your life. For me I have a lot of other bands that I play with so it gave me some time to do a little more with them. Both of those bands have new albums coming out this year! 

FS: What are your other two bands? 

NE: One of them is Mom & Dad, who is also playing this year at Resonance on Sunday! I’m also apart of another one called Elephant Wrecking Ball! Both of those bands have been around as long as Dopapod but because all the members are apart of other bands and tours we don’t get to do a lot together. It was nice getting a chunk of time over that year to do some stuff. 

NE: Also touring and being in the van constantly is great but it also takes it out of you. It sometimes can just lead to you forgetting about the rest of the aspects of life that exist. Not even the ones that are important but just other sources of fulfillment and other ways to spend our time. It was refreshing! Now that we’re back we’re even more excited to play shows. Not that we weren’t excited before but now we have a stronger and brighter attitude about performing! 

FS: You guys have played a number of big festivals over the years and this year for your return you performed at this years Peach Fest and The Werk Out Music & Arts Festival. What were some stand out moments for you and how was it celebrating the tenth anniversary of The Werk Out? 

NE: We love The Werk Out and all The Werks guys! They’re all our deep homies! We just feel very welcomed back by the fan base there. We love that festival because it’s pretty much all bands. Not that there’s anything wrong with the EDM world it just creates a different experience for people. I have a huge amount of respect for EDM producers but there’s something about the magical and collaborative thing of being on stage with other musicians that drew me to music festivals in the first place. I always love being apart of that environment at The Werk Out!

FS: The next and last festival for you guys this year is Resonance Music & Arts Festival. You guys have played at Resonance a number of times now and have seen it grow over the years. What is it about Resonance that keeps you guys coming back? What do you think of the move to Cooper’s Lake?

NE: I’ve never been to Cooper’s Lake so I’m excited to see the new space! It’s funny to me because every time I’ve been to The Werk Out or Resonance it has always been at Legend Valley so I sometimes confuse memories between the two. It’s a similar thing tho, lots of talented bands but Resonance also has a handful of DJs and producers adding the other aspect of the festival scene to it. This year’s lineup is stacked! There are a ton of good bands there this year and so many friends! I’m definitely excited to hang out with everybody and just be back in that groove! 

FS: After Resonance Music & Arts Festival you guys kick off your Emit Time Tour supporting your latest studio album. Can you tell me a little more about this album? How is it different from previous albums? 

NE: I think that the main difference between this album and all of our other albums is that this one has a theme throughout it. The majority of the songs are dealing with time based ideas. That continuity of content throughout the album is new. Also, the other thing that couldn’t have been foreseen is that as an artist you create your work and as a band you make an album and there’s always something that you wish you did differently or wish that something was recorded differently. With this album I think everyone is extremely satisfied with all the performances on this record and how everything turned out. This is one were definitely a little more proud of! We love all of our other albums but there’s something about this one that felt the best. 

Dopapod – Emit Time

FS: Resonance is your last music festival for the year then you guys move on to your own headlining Emit Time Tour. You have two shows in early October in Denver then you really hit the road in late November for a month of shows. Are there any locations that you’re a little more excited for? What did you miss most about being on the road and performing? 

NE: I’m super excited for the Denver shows because I’m from Colorado! The Ogden Theatre was one of the first venues I would go to. I saw a lot of insane metal shows there all the time! I think that venue has kind of shifted away from that scene but it’s very exciting for me to be able to go play there. The two nights in Boston is kind of a hometown show because that’s where we all came together! Those shows will be a lot of fun, I love the venue and two night runs are always great! We have a number of bands opening for us on this tour and it’s really cool because all of these bands have fantastic drummers, and other musicians to, but I’m excited to see the drummers perform. I’ll be doing a lot of practice until them! 

FS: Awesome! Thanks again for taking some time to chat with us! I can’t wait to see you guys at Resonance and hopefully at another stop or two on your tour! 




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