Songwriter Profile: Papadosio - Expanding the Auditory Algorithm

To clarify the vast parameters that define the band Papadosio is a complex proposition. Broad cross-currents of prog-rock, electronic alchemy and organic instruments all coalesce in the widescreen musical spectrum and compelling songs that distinguish their latest release, Extras In A Movie.

Originally formed in Athens, OH, the members of the band now reside in and around Asheville, NC, but they are more likely to be on the road. The relentlessly touring aggregation might play up to 200 dates annually. Audience response is key: For the new project the band concentrated on writing concise, structured songs that serve as launching pads for extended improvisations. This dramatic interplay and inspired jamming are highlights of electrifying shows that have made them fan favorites on the festival circuit.

While each member of the band might work on song ideas singularly, they express that songwriting is a communal affair in which the penetrating and expressive lead melodies arrive late in the process. “Maybe some songwriters have a great line and write chords around it,” says Anthony Thogmartin. “For me, it has always been the last thing that happens. I wait for the song to tell me what it’s going to be and I figure it out from there.”

Rich vocal harmonies supplement the band’s sophisticated melodic approach. Their latest full-length is introduced with “The Last Leaf,” featuring intricate five-part harmonies. “That song originally was a poem that my dad sent me for my birthday,” says Sam Brouse. “When I read it I felt that it would lend itself to some type of an a cappella thing. I wanted to do an exercise in five part harmony, which I’d never done.”

Brouse continues, “I pounded out some chords and recorded them over myself and it stayed like that for over two years. There are five of us in the band. We each took turns in the studio singing over my original part one by one. It was really daunting to see if it was possible and it was the last thing we recorded. We did it in one day.” Adds his brother and band mate Billy Brouse, “I was the last one on it––no pressure there!”

Song titles are intriguingly esoteric: “Therian” was inspired by archeological cave paintings. While “Anima Mundi” translates as “spirit of the world.” Thogmartin notes that the band’s upcoming video is a visual representation of the concept. “It’s about this situation we find ourselves in where we are so detached from what life is.”

“The Wrong Nostalgia,” with its pointed line, “Who sold these assholes on the airwaves?,” is a treatise on the mercenary mercantile mechanisms of broadcasting. Says Sam Brouse, “I didn’t start writing that song intending it to be such a vent of frustration. I borrowed Anthony’s acoustic and electric guitars and was trying to get back into playing. And what came out was something from my subconscious of listening to the radio in the ‘90s and all of that alternative rock and grunge––it was very aggressive, and I was surprised what came out musically––being frustrated that whoever is in charge of putting music on the radio is not taking responsibility for what they are telling people to listen to.”

Not surprisingly, the band chooses to be independent. A crowd-funding campaign for their latest CD was fulfilled in less than 30 days, and overfunded by 20 percent. Sam Brouse says that they have periodically weighed the benefits and drawbacks to being on a major label. “Somewhere along the line it hit me that it sounded good to own everything forever and to be our own bosses.”

“You read horror stories about what happens to artists,” adds Thogmartin. “We want to reach a wider audience, but at the end of the day we do have the freedom to play where and when we want and to license wherever we want. To get the same kind of deal Kickstarter allowed us would have been an uphill battle with a relinquishing of rights. We reached out to our fan base and great people encouraged us to do what we do.”

Extras In A Movie, Papadosio’s self-produced fourth full-length studio album, was self-released Oct. 2.

Contact Angela Moreno, MSO PR