With Disc Jam’s Halloween Horror Camp 2 approaching this weekend, we had the opportunity to bounce some questions off Mark Potter, founder and drummer of one of the festival’s featured acts, Chromatropic. We’ve had the pleasure of catching this up-and-coming Brooklyn jam band a few times this year – once at Disc Jam, once at Great North, and once at the Brooklyn Bowl. One thing I noticed from this progression of experiences with Chromatropic is each performance not only displayed a tighter sound with elevated precision, but also an accumulating volume of attendees and followers. The band’s unique fusion of funk, dance music, and self-ascribed “organic neo-psychedelia” has established Chromatropic as a versatile band with a novel sound that stands out within a growing community of jam bands.
Based in Brooklyn, Chromatropic is comprised of Mark Potter (drums), Danny Caridi (keys), Moses Margel (bass), Andrew Carton (guitar), and Clay ‘Calamari’ Doggett (lights). Sound Fix is also based in Brooklyn, so we’ve naturally spent a good deal of time documenting, analyzing, and familiarizing ourselves with Brooklyn music scene. During this process, we interviewed two bands, Teddy Midnight and Space Bacon, who both identified Chromatropic as a core member of the “Brooklyn Jam Syndicate,” which is a group comprised of Teddy Midnight, Space Bacon, Chromatropic, and Cousin Earth. Through frequent collaboration, co-billed shows, and shared rehearsals, the Brooklyn Jam Syndicate has made strives in pioneering and crafting the direction of the blossoming Brooklyn jam scene. In this conversation with Mark, we cover everything from Chromatropic’s plans and costume ideas for Halloween Horror Camp to their upcoming album. The Horror Camp is officially sold out, but you can get more information about future performances on Chromatropic’s Facebook page.
Sound Fix: Hey Mark, thanks for taking some time to answer some here ahead of the weekend’s festivities. To start things off, what concert or festival would you consider the biggest or most memorable moment for the band this year?
Mark Potter: 2016 was so exciting for us. We played some sold-out shows at Brooklyn Bowl, plus we got to rock on the main stages at Great North and Disc Jam, all legendary venues for us. If you had told us three years ago that we’d be playing these spots we might not have believed you!
SF: Looking ahead to the weekend, we’ll be at Disc Jam’s Halloween Horror Camp in Massachusetts, where you’re sharing a bill with lespecial, Roots of Creation, Congo Sanchez, and more to celebrate Halloween. What does Chromatropic have in store for its set?
MP: The horror camp is going to be a banger! Some very very talented artists on this lineup. Props to Tony and his crew for going with an eclectic mix of bands and DJs. So many events these days are just stacked, and we can honestly can say if we weren’t playing Halloween Horror Camp we’d go anyway! For our set, we have some festive treats in store, but you’ll have to be there to hear them!
SF: What will the band be dressed as this weekend for Halloween?
MP: When it came to costumes we kicked around a lot of ideas: the bad dojo from Karate Kid, hobos, but neither of them materialized. Hopefully people will dig what we chose, (no clues though)!
SF: How would you describe your sound to someone new to Chromatropic?
MP: It’s interesting, we get asked this a lot and it’s a tough one to answer. The main thing that we’re based on as a band is contrast. At the be
ginning there was musical friction between us so we worked hard to use that to our advantage. There’s love and appreciation for the excitement of electronic music; it’s repetitive and mesmerizing and grows fluidly. There’s also a love and appreciation for instrumental fusion; it’s organic and complex, sometimes abrasive and opposes itself constantly. Once we started mixing these two worlds we found they actually had way more in common than we realized. They’re precise and rhythmic, the tones can be smooth and grooved out or intricate and syncopated. I guess this is a long winded way of saying we’re bringing the fusion back to dance music. Trying to be the band you’d take your record-collecting uncle to, even though you like the untz!
SF: Every band does it differently, so tell us about how you create new music as a group?
MP: Creating music is a lengthy process for us. We write phrases, parts and pieces – sort of like a tool box of musical element – then we work to arrange them in a musical way. We work a lot with harmonies and devision. We slice and dice and mangle things a lot and get it to a place we feel (sort of) comfortable playing it live. Then over the next few weeks and months it really starts to take shape. It’s important for us to see how people react to parts and sections because it often shapes the way we adjust the songs, so keep being honest with us!
SF: To conclude, is there anything else you’d like to share that we didn’t cover here?
MP: We’re so stoked to release our new album Abundance on November 11th. We have a tour in the works to support the CD and we can’t wait to share it!