Papadosio's Rob McConnell Asks: If Livetronica Isn't Music, "Then What the Hell Is This Shit?"

"I tell people we're a new psychedelic rock band." 
"I tell people we're a new psychedelic rock band."

"Livetronica" is the worst name for a musical sub-genre since "emo" or "rock 'n' roll."

This ridiculous term is meant to denote psychedelic jam band hippie rock that has been augmented with the technorganic delights of the future. That is, synthesizers, computers, and combinations thereof.

See also
- Keller Williams on Creating a One Man Jam Band: "I Couldn't Afford Humans. That's Where the Gear Came In"

Lucky for flagship livetronickers, Papadosio, their airtight chops and prog-intricate compositions very quickly steal the spotlight from crappy blog jargon. After the jump, check out our conversation with Papadosio bassist Rob McConnell. 

New Times: We had never heard of "livetronica" before. What is your relationship to that term?

Rob McConnell: We're all players when it comes down to it. You see a lot of things hyped as "live electronica," and then it's a DJ. We have four-part vocal harmonies. Sampling. Crazy loud effects. "Livetronica" takes what we do and pigeon holes us. I tell people we're a new psychedelic rock band.

We spoke with Keller Williams recently...

He's awesome. I've been seeing him for years. He's a really humble dude. Definitely an early inspiration. A lot of those guys. Him, String Cheese.

We talked about whether or not rock bands need a digital component to be fresh. He said no. What do you think?

You can definitely make analog rock that is fresh. We listen to a lot of Fleet Foxes. It might not be completely fresh, but they're coming up with beautiful arrangements. We play with a lot of really good bands, like Deaf Scene. They're instrumental and they have a way of tying in melody and harmony with aggressiveness.


Generally speaking, the music industry is in the throes of an extended festival frenzy. But historically, there are certain demographics -- like the post-Phish jam band circuit -- for which festivals are the centerpiece. Did you come up in a festival setting?

I didnt really get into Phish and bands like that until I was a senior in high school. I went from punk to classic rock to everything.

Do you mostly play festivals?

Mostly in the Summer, we do festivals. And then when fall hits, we tour hard.

This whole fall has been an album release tour for T.E.T.I.O.S. We've been on the road since the end of August. We're heading out to Lawrence, Kansas, tonight, and then Boulder tomorrow.

There's a real strong bluegrass/psychedelic continginet out in Boulder, isn't there?

Oh yeah, man. This will be our eighth time out in Coloardo. It almost feels like going home. It's the first place we ever toured. And everyone is so involved with music there. The mainstream out there is what we do. We're in the Midwest right now, and it's hard to draw a lot of people out.

What's the gear breakdown as far as the band's digital components?

We use Ableton a lot. We record all of our albums, write all of our music, use it on stage. It's a big part of our sound.

If the Dead had this stuff available to them, they probably would have used it.

I've often thought about that. Jerry was messing around with weird stuff in the late '80s early '90s. The MIDI guitar thing.

A lot of people give us flack. "Oh, you're just running everything through a compouter." If you go to the '60s, when the Beatles were distorting their guitars, or Jimi Hendrix was using gnarly effects on his guitar, people were like, "This isn't music!"

Well, then what the hell is this shit?

Papadosio, presented by AURA Music Events, with special guest Greenhouse Lounge at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 7 at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $12 (before fees) through Ticketmaster.

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Culture Room

3045 N. Federal Highway
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33306


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