Papadosio talks festivals, eco-consciousness, Asheville

by Noor Al-Sibai – Staff Writer – [email protected]
Between touring across the nation, playing countless festivals and putting on their own festival, 2012 is already a big year for Papadosio.
Their resume is impressive—they have played alongside big-name electronica acts like Pretty Lights, Emancipator, Big Gigantic and the Avett Brothers at a number of large summer festivals like Wakarusa, All Good and High Sierra. They have toured almost non-stop across the country. They put on their own festival, Rootwire, for the third year running. Not bad for a band who has only released three studio albums.
Papadosio’s crowning achievement is their Rootwire festival. Held in Columbus, Ohio from Aug. 16-19, the festival featured bands with a similar musical philosophy to Papadosio’s own—one of love rather than greed.

Papadosio jams on the Electric Stage despite the rain at LAAFF on Sunday. The band returns to Asheville on Oct. 12 during their T.E.T.I.O.S album release tour.

One of the founding tenants of the festival was a growing dissatisfaction with the structure of other festivals, said Sam Brouse, keyboardist and vocalist.
“A lot of festivals have this straight hierarchy of importance when it comes to the bands playing,” said the 23-year-old Clevelander. “We wanted to get away from that, and to do so while trying to minimize our impact on the earth.”
A commitment to their fans drove the band to create their own festival.
“It’s about making people happy,” said Brouse. “A lot of musicians and artists don’t take responsibility for their impact on their fans. We wanted to move away from that. Musicians onstage have to have responsibility.  The least we can do is to help people be more aware.”
The festival attracted 3,500 people this summer.
“Most of our advertising is done by word-of-mouth,” Brouse said. “That’s how we like it.”
Eco-consciousness is an important part of the way Papadosio tours.
“We’re conscious of our carbon footprint,” Brouse said. “We’re trying not to just be a bunch of guys screwing around on the road, wasting gas and releasing fumes into the air.”
Their New Age leanings are apparent in their musical aesthetic as well. Their latest album, “To End the Illusion of Separation,” highlights not only their awareness of environmental issues, but also their beliefs in the power of love, kindness and the mystic. According to the press release announcing the album, each track has a corresponding piece of art created by various artists to enhance the experience of the album.
“It’s about being honest in our songwriting,” Brouse said. “We talk about our struggles with spirituality and being conscious of our impact on the earth.”
Part of staying honest is remaining true to their fan base up North, Brouse said. Although they now call Asheville home, all of the members of Papadosio are from Ohio.
“For us, it’s all about the people in Ohio,” Brouse said.
John Spurlock, who came to UNC Asheville from Lancaster, Pa., knows the feeling of splitting time between the North and the South.
“It’s cool that they stay true to their Ohio fans while calling Asheville home,” said the music technology student. “Even if your roots are in a place less beautiful than here, it’s important to respect them.”
The band calls both Asheville and Ohio home.
“We love living down here,” Brouse said. “We have a studio we built in our house in Leicester. But we still go up North and honor our fans from Ohio particularly. Without them, we wouldn’t be here now.”

Papadosio’s album release tour runs through late December.

Mike Evans, a Cincinnati, Ohio, native, musician and Valet Gourmet dispatcher, said he respects Papadosio for catering to their fans in Ohio.
“I feel like so many bands move to cities like Asheville and try to distance themselves from their original fan base,” Evans said. “I really like that they give equal time to their fans in Ohio as well as their fans down here.”
“I’m really looking forward to seeing Papadosio,” said the 23-year-old. “Last year was my first at LAAFF, and I think they could only improve my experience at the festival.”
The band squeezed in their LAAFF performance between a canceled show in Catawba, Va., and a festival set in Minnesota on Friday. Their current tour is based on the recent release of “To End the Illusion of Separation.”  They will be back in Asheville playing at the Orange Peel on Oct. 12.

Anthony Thogmartin of Papadosio thanks LAAFF crowd.