This weekend Denver’s own Octopus Nebula opened up for 303 transplant Signal Path. The two bands made the Bluebird Theater take flight on Saturday, delivering psychedelic instrumental hymns with booty shaking basslines. The duo of bands have been turning out dance parties of epic proportion all over their home turf as of late; the Bluebird show was the last in the front range stint of their tour. From here they go onto higher grounds. We caught up with members of both bands on where they’ve been, what they are currently bringing to the Denver music scene and what we have to look forward to in the future.
From Robin Bloch (Guitar+Samples for O Neb)
303: What was the music like when the Octopus Nebula was conceived?
Bloch: It was improv-etherial-ambient jamming, especially with regards to the bass, guitar, keyboards and drums; a kind of Pink Floyd/Phish style.
303: What’s it like today?
Bloch: As the music evolved we all got laptops, started making stuff of our own and and mixing it in with the band’s stuff using prerecorded tracks, vocal samples, and drum tracks which defined our sound and added structure to our songs.
303:What groups/musicians do you look to for inspiration?
Bloch: Shpongle, STS9, Phish and Floyd.
303: When you don’t have a gig, where do you hang?
303: What’s the song “Robin Your Mind” all about?
Bloch: “Robin Your Mind” is a song I wrote for myself, by myself, and in my mind. It is just something that stuck in my brain so I created using down-pitched Sanskrit vocal samples.
303: Do you ever order delivery for practice? What do you get?
Bloch: Yeah, we order pizza or Mexican carry-away. Pasquini’s is pretty good.
303: Plans to close out the year?
Bloch: We’re going to have a lot of fun in Breck with Signal Path. We’re doing a little mountain run to build up to it: Crested Butte on th 29th, Telluride on the 30th and Breckenridge for New Year’s Eve.
303: Anything else you’d like to share with your fans?
Bloch: Check out our Facebook page for a link to a free download from our latest album Through the Next Door. Also excited for 2012 and getting ready for festival season…
From Damon Metzner (Drummer from Signal Path)
303: Do you guys have other jobs besides SP?
Metzner: When not on the road Ryan composes music for various projects on top of a little freelance web design, Matt spot gigs around Montana, and I’m the Marketing Director for the Larimer Lounge in Denver.
303: Describe your sound when you started in Missoula, MT?
Metzner: From the end of 2001 till 2007 Signal Path was a five piece live band. We were trained jazz and rock musicians interpreting what we were hearing from different parts of the electronic scene that we really liked. In the beginning, we were really influenced by electronic musicians from the late ’90s to early 2000s. We tried our best to create lush soundscapes, melodies, and dance beats organically on stage. At that time the software that producers were using live was nowhere near what it is today.
303: Describe your sound now.
Metzner: We’ve all talked about this; I think that these days Signal Path sounds a lot like what we thought we sounded like in 2001-2005. Ha. I’m asked this question pretty frequently, and we combine a lot of different elements from around the electronic scene. We’re also a trio right now as opposed to a five- piece band… I like to say we play extremely melodic EDM with a lot of hiphop/glitchhop influence. Ryan Burnett writes almost all the music for Signal Path in his studio, and so when we come together live we incorporate that production into the sets in a way where we can improvise. We’re all involved in the arranging process, and there’s a whole lot of laptop/human interaction. We currently have it set up with two laptops linked together and have the freedom to loop sections of any song for as long as we are feeling it. This allows us to be spontaneous throughout the set… even with the computers running. It’s pretty challenging, but it keeps it fresh.
303: What made you decide to relocate to the Denver?
Metzner: Ryan is from the Denver area and moved back here from Missoula when Signal Path took a bit of a hiatus after 2005-6. When SP really started working again in 2009, I was living in Portland… Ryan and I were both working jobs and then flying out on the weekends for shows… It was absolutely exhausting to work that way, and it was a lot easier for me to move here than for Ryan to bring his family up to PDX. Plus the music scene is absolutely blowing up around the front range, not to mention I really missed the mountain vibe, and seeing some sun ain’t too shabby either… HA
303: What made you decide to get back together?
Metzner: I think there were two main reasons why we got the machine up and rolling again. At least for me, one was that we were getting hit up by fans pretty frequently asking why we weren’t touring, and the other is that I was absolutely missing performing this music live. It was incredibly inspiring to be able to start this up again in a way where there was little pressure. We were able to fly out and play music simply for the love of performing. Which is an element that can diminish over time… or at least get complicated when you’re constantly on the road and there are tons of people involved. This was a way to get back to that period of just having fun again. I know it sounds weird, but when you turn a passion into a job, it’s possible for something to get lost. When we started doing this again in 2009 (and even today), there was a sense of weightlessness to it all that I hadn’t felt in years.
303: Where do you guys like to hang out in Denver?
Metzner: I’m a big fan of patio beers. I live in the Cap Hill area, so there’s plenty of that. It’s impossible not mention the Larimer Lounge (of course), and all the music venues in the area. There’s an amazing music scene here and we’re all really lucky to be able to take advantage of that.
303: When did you pick up your bassist, Matt Shumacher?
Metzner: Actually, I believe Matt’s first gig with Signal Path was in 2005 at a festival in California… Maybe 2006, so he’s been a part of this team for a long time. When Ryan and I started doing this as a duo in 2009, we really wanted him to be involved so he’s been with us again since late 2009.
303: Where is he from?
Metzner: Shoe lives in Butte, America but is joining our crew down here in colorful Colorado after he returns from a month long trip to Cambodia.
303: How does he add to the dynamic of Signal Path?
Metzner: Shoe is first and foremost a beast of a bass player and musician. He not only adds a live element that is absolutely crushing, he brings a musical sensibility that simply can’t be overlooked. We count on him a great deal to bring his style to the SP sound and I think you could ask anyone who has seen the band live and they’ll tell you what he’s capable of.
303: You say you’ve been working/will be working in the studio, any teasers for our readers?
Metzner: Ryan is in the studio working on getting things together for the last in four albums (our quadrILLogy) we’re releasing this year. We’ve released a free new EP on the first day of each new season throughout 2011. The next one comes out on the first day of winter on December 22.
We also have a lot planned for 2012, so stay tuned!!
303: Plans for NYE?
Metzner: NYE is going to be amazing. Our lighting and sound engineer, Jason Bruton, who’s really the fourth member of this project is working on something absolutely sick for the NYE show in Breckenridge at Three20South. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.
303: Anything else you’d like to tell your local patrons?
Metzner: All of our music is available for free at our website. Enjoy!