Q&A: EP3 Bassist Patrick Scalambrino on Covering Rage Against the Machine, Ghosts, and the Art of Crush
EP3 is a band that takes its name from a position in the cosmos: Eight Planets Past Pluto. To be more specific, the moniker could be Atlanta, Georgia. But based on the futuristic sounds EP3 pumps out, there's an intergalactic audience being targeted that may or may not have heard of Earth, let alone Georgia. The band is a four-piece electro-jam outfit that has earned some buzz in the dizzying world of Disco Biscuits and dubstep. The four have played all across the country since they came together in 2007 and are now wrapping up a fall tour in support of their recently released LP, EP3D. Tonight, the cosmic circus rolls into the Funky Buddha in Boca. On his way down our long state, bassist Patrick Scalambrino was kind enough to chat with us about topics such as Disco Biscuits sit-ins, the supernatural, and crushing face.
County Grind: I saw the video on your MySpace page of Barber of the Disco Biscuits sitting in with you. How did that come about?
Patrick Scalambrino: One of our close friends in Atlanta held an event called Dubocracy. It was a three-day, inside music event. Jon [Barber] said he was down [to sit in with us], and that's how it all started. Actually, that's the first of two jam sessions with Jon Barber. It was sort of crazy not to only be a part of an epic event, but to also close the show out whilst Mr. Barber is onstage shredding with us... it def was an epic night.
What did he have to say about your band?
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On that occasion, I really didn't get to talk to him about it. A few months later, we had another opportunity to have Jon sit in with us. The Disco Biscuits were playing the Tabernacle, and Underlying Themes Records, our label, management, and promotional company, got a chance to host the late night. Upon arrival, I was talking with Jon, and he mentioned he'd love to sit in with us again, so I said "sure." His only stipulation was he wanted to cover a Rage Against the Machine song so he could sing. After we had a laugh about it, we returned to the stage to crush everyone's face. After the performance, Jon came up to me and asked what I thought. Jokingly, I said "Well, to be honest, I think you're tone deaf or your guitar was out of tune." He looked at me like "Huh?", then I preceded to say, "Of course it was amazing. You're Jon Barber from the Biscuits. You always crush." With a smile and a pound, I left the VIP to go mingle.
Has EP3 spent a lot of time on the road?
It used to be that EP3 would go anywhere any day to play a show. Right around July, I decided that we should actually take a fall tour just like every real band I know. So I started routing and making what is known as cold calls to basically every venue I saw bands our size playing. EP3's fall tour started with Rootwire Music Festival and continued throughout the Midwest before heading to Colorado. Basically, [long] story short, we are on our second-to-last show of a three-month, 56-date tour that ends with us playing Halloween in Northern Georgia.
How is the touring experience? Are you feeling burnt out at all?
For me, being on tour is all I've ever wanted to do. It's a little strenuous at times, but I've been learning a whole lot of new things and really trying to focus on how to keep this momentum going, whilst being able to take care of those involved. As for the other guys, I can't really speak for them, but we all get along pretty well. And seeing them crush, night in and night out, to me says they're loving it. We are playing in front of new audiences and in places only because of what we do. We're very lucky to have had this experience.
How has the turnout been? Does a bigger crowd usually make for a better show, or have you had some ragers with few to witness?
Turnouts have been really, really good considering we fell short [on] the promoting. As for "Does more people mean better show?" that's not true at all. Our shows are based off of the crowd's energy. On that note, we've def had a couple of bangers. Our first time to Colorado saw us playing to 500-plus at Cervantes in Denver. Also, in September, at the Bad Manor in Athens, 700-plus came to get down and party. Now when you're playing to that size of a crowd, it's really easy to get caught up in the energy that everyone is giving off. Whether or not it's a better all-around show, I'm not certain. I base my playing off of that feeling. Now, on the other hand, one night in the middle of Memphis, at Newby's, only 30 people came to the show, but there was something about that night. We crushed it, and I felt the same feeling and energy as those big show[s].
You released a record recently. How was the experience of trying to capture your band's energy in the studio?
Being able to go into a studio and create music is probably one if the most incredible things a gigging musician can do. Working with DJ:C3 in the Underlying Themes studio made it really easy to capture that live feel and sound that our live shows are full of.
Do you think the jams will turn spooky in Boca on account of it being so close to Halloween?
Normally our jams have been very dark and mysterious. I think we pride ourselves in this darker sound. Although, being so close to Halloween, we might try to get even more dark and really take it out there.
Do you believe in ghosts?
Whether you call it ghosts, angels, or demons, I believe there is some sort of spiritual realm that I can't explain. I've def seen things and experienced supernatural events that I still can't wrap my brain around. I know that in our scene of music, people take psychedelic drugs to induce some of these out-of-body, supernatural hauntings. I'm not talking about those situations. I've def experienced the spiritual realm firsthand. I'm not saying there's a heaven or a hell, and you have to live right to go to heaven, and if you don't, you go to hell. I'm just saying, it would be hard for me to believe that there isn't some sort of afterlife; that your spirit just dies and that's it, it's all over. If that's the case, then what am I trying to achieve now if all we do is die?
EP3, with DuBBle James. 9 p.m. Friday, October 29, at Funky Buddha, 2621 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton. Tickets cost $5. Show is 18 and up. Click here.
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