With Camp Bisco quickly approaching this Thursday, we thought it would be fitting to catch up with some talent featured on this summer’s lineup. Philadelphia’s Tweed is an up-and-coming jam outfit that seamlessly fuses elements of jazz, disco, and funk to deliver an improvised dance party with every performance. Comprised of AJ DiBiase (guitar / vocals), Joe Vela (drums), Jon Tomczak (synths), and Dan McDonald (bass), you can count on Tweed to bring a fun performance complete with intricate jams, high-energy, and crazy outfits to each outing.
This Saturday, Tweed takes the stage at 12:15pm sharp to kick the day off proper at the Above the Waves Stage at Camp Bisco. In addition, the band has curated and announced its third annual SENSORiUM Festival in Philadelphia, which takes place on Saturday August 24th at The Ukie Club on N. Franklin and Poplar Streets. In this interview, we caught up with drummer Joe Vela to talk about Camp, new music, SENSORiUM, and much more. Tickets to both Camp Bisco and SENSORiUM are still available: Camp Bisco tickets | SENSORiUM tickets
Sound Fix: Hey Joe, thanks for taking some time to catch up with us amidst a busy festival season. To kick things off, what’s in the works this summer for Tweed?
Joe Vela: So far our festival season has run smoothly, and we’re really excited for Camp Bisco this upcoming weekend. We’re excited for the rest of July and August after a lighter-than-usual schedule in May and June which we used to wrap up our upcoming full-length release. We’re working relentlessly on recording and mixing this new music as well as planning our Philly festival, SENSORiUM.
SF: You’re headed to Camp Bisco this weekend for a Saturday set. This is the band’s first Bisco, so what are you looking forward to, and what can we expect for July 20th?
JV: Camp Bisco has been a goal of ours since the inception of the band. It was my first festival when I was 17 and I have some amazing memories from Mariaville. We’re pumped to have a Saturday set time on the Waves stage this year. This festival season we are going big for every set, so you can expect some new covers, new music, and outrageous outfits. I’m also excited about the specialty cocktails backstage.
SF: Fill us in on about your upcoming album. Does it have a name yet?
JV: We’ve been hitting the studio hard the past few months and even called on a second engineer, Eric Bogacz, to put the finishing touches on a few tracks. We’re hoping to release the debut full-length album, “Moves,” in August or September, and we’ve called on some amazing talent to help make this album really special including Jesse Miller of Lotus, Anthony Thogmartin of Papadosio, Connor Hansell of Wax Future, Noah Selwyn of Agent Zero, and our producer Jeff “Mudd” Mahajan.
SF: Over the next 12 months, what are a few goals or milestones the band’s aiming to accomplish?
JV: I love shooting music videos and we’ll have a new one out for our second single, the title track from “Moves,” in September. We got dressed in monochromatic 80’s workout gear and choreographed some jazzercise dance moves. We probably bought $2,000 worth of props and got them shipped to Jon’s parent’s house–they thought we were starting a gym.
I’d also really like to play The Fillmore and Red Rocks in this upcoming year, as well as continue moving up the festival ranks. Bonnaroo has always been a goal of ours as well. We plan to collaborate with more musicians and build our SENSORiUM Festival into a multi-city event. We’re overdue to get back to Colorado too.
SF: Shifting gears to SENSORiUM – tell us a bit about the history of the festival!
JV: I would describe SENSORiUM as the best day ever. We started this event in 2017 with 550 attendees in West Philly and took a gamble moving to our current location in Northern Liberties last year, where we doubled in size. In our third year, we’re expecting around 2,000 attendees. We have an incredibly vibrant scene that comes out to share in our Philly end of summer celebration.
SF: How would you describe or characterize the theme with this year’s lineup? What separates SENSORiUM from the pack?
JV: This is a unique city-festival with not only a lineup of incredible music, but also artistic talent spanning two art galleries, food vendors, craft vendors, and performers from the region. This year we have 23 acts, including El Ten Eleven and Tobacco (of Black Moth Super Rainbow), as well as an indoor after-party with Wax Future, Beard o Bees (Jesse of Lotus), and my DJ project, Bad Leather. It’s an eclectic mix of indie rock, funk, hip-hop, electronic, and bass music. This year we are hoping to make a deeper connection to our mission to provide extra-sensory art installations and activations. I want to astonish people.
SF: What are two or three acts you’d recommend to attendees?
JV: Honestly, I hand-picked this entire lineup, so I’d personally recommend catching every single artist on this bill. If there is an act that you are not familiar with, go see them and I promise your ears will thank you.
SF: As you’ve mentioned, the festival returns to Philadelphia once again this summer. How would you describe the Philadelphia music scene, and in what direction is it headed?
JV: Philly has an incredible music scene for indie rock, funk, and hip-hop. Sometimes it’s hard to see clearly when you’re so immersed in something, but I think the intersection of those genres is a really good place to be at. That’s where I can say Tweed is going at least. I’d really like to see the club scene grow in Philly, so we can attract some of the international DJ talent that New York gets, but I’m not sure if there’s a venue holding that space yet. I’ve seen downtempo, dubstep, and drum and bass become more prevalent in this city, but it’s not really my scene. I’ve also seen a bunch of outdoor venues and rooftops host music this summer, including public spaces like Spruce Street Harbor Park and Cherry Street Pier. It’s great to see the city behind some of these art and music initiatives. Also, Philly’s music scene is very much intertwined with its art scene, and the fusion of the two has proved to be blissful combo. There are a ton of entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, promoters, and music/art collectives that are working together to heighten the vibe of this city and it’s an honor to be a cog in this machine.
SF: Thanks again, Joe!