With the fourth annual Great North Music & Arts Festival just a week away (tickets here), we’re happy to unveil the first installment of our “Road to Great North” interview series, featuring the up-and-coming Philadelphia jamchronica band, Tweed. I first met the guys from Tweed at this summer’s Backwoods Pondfest in Peru, NY, where they were scheduled to perform the late-night set at 1:30 on Friday. During Spiritual Rez’s preceding set the heavens opened up and torrential rain obliterated the crowd in a completely unsheltered field. When the clock struck 1 and the rain continued to pour, I started to worry under a jam-packed shelter that Tweed’s set would be called off.
Sure enough, once I reached Tweed’s stage completely drenched from head to toe, Jon, Dan, AJ and Joe were cautiously setting up their equipment amidst waning rain. At 1:30, the band’s true character shined as they took the stage seemingly oblivious of the rain to rock out for a determined crowd of soaked fans. To make matters even better, the band’s Backwoods Pondfest set was just as wet as the setting they performed in.
Great North couldn’t be a better festival for Tweed to showcase their talents. The band’s shows are powered by high energy performances that weld electronic, jam, and classic rock elements, so with a lineup peppered by jamtronica acts like the Disco Biscuits and G-Nome Project as well as classic electronic performers like Space Jesus and Cut Chemist, Tweed’s energy and sound will be incredibly well received by this summer’s Mooslings. The guys have a new album coming out on September 30th, so make sure to catch their performance at Great North before downloading the album at the end of the month. In the meantime, meet Tweed.
Sound Fix: Hey AJ, Joe, Dan and Jon – first off, just wanted to thank you guys for participating in our Road to Great North interview series. To kick things off, fill us in on what’s going on for Tweed before and after Great North.
Joe: We have a crazy tour leading up to Great North, hitting Pittsburgh, Chicago, Kalamazoo, St. Louis, Columbus, Rochester, Buffalo, and Manchester. It’s pretty much 8 hour drives almost every day, really ambitious.
Dan: After eight shows in the nine days leading up to Great North, we’ll be playing Snug Harbor in New Paltz to close out the run. We have two days to sleep at home before we hit another run, playing Annapolis, Pink Moon Festival, Lancaster, Bridgeport, and New York City. I’m excited to play close to home at the Chameleon Club with our friends Humandala and Native Maize on September 16th. We have two NYC shows upcoming, a free one Sep 18 outside at Central Park Bandshell as part of The UN’s Vigil for Ecology and Peace and October 13th at American Beauty, so be sure to take advantage of this Fall weather. We’re currently available and taking offers for New Year’s Eve.
SF: Is this your first time hitting Great North? Tell us about the festival and what you guys have planned for the weekend.
Joe: This is actually our second time hitting Great North and we’re really excited to return. Last year was beautiful and we had The Hornitz sit in during our set. It got funky. I wouldn’t be surprised if we called on some friends to sit in with us this year too. We are lucky to have carved Friday night off in our schedule to hang out before our set Saturday!
SF: Besides Tweed’s, what are three other sets you’re looking forward to at Great North?
Joe: The Disco Biscuits, Earphunk plays Daft Punk, and The Indobox.
Dan: The Biscuits, Earphunk, and Cut Chemist. Last year they brought out legend Mike D on the tables and it was out of this world. I’m always stoked to see vinyl DJs in the mix.
Jon: I’m really excited to see our friends from across the ocean, G-Nome Project, and I have to agree with Dan that it’s gonna be awesome to see Cut Chemist showcasing some old school DJ skills. I’m also really looking forward to seeing the Supersillyus Life Band in action.
AJ: I’m pumped to see our homies G-Nome Project, Manifested, and Teddy Midnight throw down.
SF: When and where did you decide to get together as a band and take this outfit to the next level? Tell us about the origins of Tweed.
AJ: It was serendipity that brought us together. We all met while we were students at the University of Delaware and there was a strong connection between us from the beginning since we shared similar musical tastes. I actually met Joe at a Disco Biscuits show and we were eager to make music together from that moment. Tweed’s first show was Halloween 2010 and later Dan stepped in to replace our original bass player in 2013.
Joe: We took this full-time in January 2016, when we had the momentum and an opportunity, I knew it was time to double-down.
SF: What is “jamchronica,” and how would you describe your sound?
Jon: I like to think of our sound as chronically evolving and changing; incorporating bits and pieces from various genres and styles as we move through songs. We incorporate grooves and musical tricks from funk to metal, disco, and house. The term “jamchronica” plays off the progressive sound style we like to implement while paying homage to the jam and electronica scenes which have played such an important role in influencing our style.
SF: What bands or musicians have influenced the development of your music?
Joe: I think modern jam bands that fuse multiple genres like The Disco Biscuits, Lotus, STS9, and Umphrey’s McGee have had the biggest influence on Tweed, but music from all genres constantly inspires me. We listen to a lot of indie rock and electronic music on the road. Bands like Hot Chip, The Juan Maclean, Todd Terje & The Olsens, even Daft Punk have always influenced me. I love the constant seemingly simple grooves around 100-110 BPM. I also like songs that tell stories.
SF: Shifting away from the music for just one question here: individually, what is your favorite city, movie and song?
Joe: Tough call on favorite city, but I have to say Philadelphia, otherwise I wouldn’t live here. Close seconds are Asheville, Denver, Austin, Brooklyn, and St. Louis. Favorite Movie: Shawshank Redemption. I’m not the type of person to play a song over and over again. I like picking music based on my mood…my favorite bands to listen to at the moment are probably Turkuaz and Vulfpeck.
Dan: Los Angeles. Samsara. “As Needed” by Beirut or “Breezin’” by George Benson. I just watched AJ’s favorite music video and it’s amazing.
Jon: I also have to give my favorite city to our hometown, Philadelphia, but there’s so many places I haven’t seen yet. St. Louis comes close for me, too. The St. Louis City Museum might be my favorite place in the world. Pan’s Labyrinth is definitely up there for favorite movies. In Brudge and Seven Psychopaths have been a couple of my favorites lately too. I love Martin McDonagh’s ability to blend humor, drama, and action so seamlessly in his work. Cherub’s “Doses and Mimosas” is one of my all time favorite feel-good jams, but “Them Changes” by Thundercat has been one of my go to grooves recently.
AJ: Ah, it’s so hard to pick favorites! Philly wins favorite city. Shutter Island is up there as one of my favorite movies. Favorite song is always changing, but right now my go-to is “Go Back” by Cookies. Joe didn’t mention his favorite song, but I can say with 100% certainty that it’s “Unleash the Dragon” by Sisqó.
Joe: He’s right, it’s either that or “Ride Wit Me” by Nelly.
SF: You’ve had an incredibly busy summer touring and performing festivals. What have been a few of your favorite moments of the season so far?
Joe: Probably our late night One Hit Wonders set at F.A.R.M. Fest and the whole tour leading up to Great Outdoors Jam Festival in Florida. Everyday was a blast in the Southeast, we drove from springs to springs staying cool in the blistering heat.
SF: We first met at Backwoods Pondfest. That’s one of my personal favorite festivals, and I had a blast at your late night set. Tell us about your experience at Pondfest. How would you describe the event to someone who’s never been?
Joe: Our set was wet. Instruments and rain don’t mix, so it was nerve-racking to start, but we had sufficient coverage and everyone was there to party, including us. We had a fun time for sure. That festival is a homie-fest. It’s a tight knit community of musicians and artists and everyone there is so talented. It was an honor to be in the company of such talented acts that day, no one missed a beat.
SF: Every group does it differently, so what is the process you take as a band to produce a new song?
AJ: There’s no exact formula for writing new material, but generally one of us will compose a piece then bring it to the table and let everyone else get their fingerprints on it. It could be just a couple parts, a fully composed song, or anything in between.
Dan: Every practice is an opportunity to work on new material and review performances to rework things for our fans. We all trade off taking the driver’s seat on new material to make it come out sounding authentically “Tweed.” A lot of patience goes into this process and it’s never guaranteed that the work we put in results in something we even want to utilize.
SF: Speaking of new songs, what new music is in the works that you can report on?
Jon: We’re all constantly thinking of new ideas and working on new tunes. Right now we’re working on narrowing our focus and fine tuning some ideas that we’ve been batting around. We’ve been traveling constantly this year, and we’re really looking forward to taking some time off this winter and putting the finishing touches on a bunch of new songs.
Joe: I can say we have at least three new songs and a couple of older tracks that we are getting album-ready for 2017. I really love the direction we are going with the new tracks. We debuted one called “Creature of Habit” last weekend and the crowd response was great.
SF: We like to end our interviews with an open forum. Is there anything you’d like that share that we didn’t cover in this Q&A?
Joe: I’d like the to world to know that these guys are genuinely my best friends and we have a blast touring the country and making music. I’m betting we are some of the most determined, persistent, and consistent (and nicest) musicians out there. Our album is coming out September 30, and we have decided to self release it, so please show some support and buy it, listen to it, and share it with your funky friends when finally it comes out.