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An interview with BoomBox at Summercamp




One hour after Ana Sia annihilated fans at the Starshine Stage on Saturday, BoomBox drew a sizable crowd of people ready for some serious jamming. At 6 p.m. the sun was still shining strong and the heat was nearly unbearable. A few people kept the crowd cool by spritzing water from spray bottles across the sea of people- a simple act of festival kindness that goes a long, long way.

With only two band members (producer/engineer/DJ/drummer Russ Randolph and producer/DJ/vocalist/guitarist Zion Rock Godchaux), BoomBox offered a unique blend of psychedelic rock and electronica, like a guitar-centralized, slightly-relaxed Garganta or a less-spacey, more-groovy Papadosio. Later that evening, the band performed a late night DJ set in the Soulshine Vibe Tent. I caught up with Russ Randolph during set-up for that show to ask a few questions about their heavy touring schedule and upcoming events.

DL: You guys just got to Summercamp today. Where were you earlier?
RR: Bella Vida. We literally drove five hours right after our set to get here. Well worth it, though.

DL: Where are you headed after your set tonight?
RR: We’re bustin’ ass home. We’ve got interview stuff back home on Monday. And rehearsals for upcoming Colorado shows. We’re doing Wakarusa Festival next weekend, too.

DL: Where’s that one at?
RR: Mullberry Mountain in Arkansas. The closest town is Ozark. If you’re not familiar with that one, it’s definitely one to check out, too.

DL: Oh. I’ve been out to Arkansas. I think it’s gorgeous out there. So, have you spent much time in the Midwest? You’re originally from the West Coast, right?
RR: He is. *nods at Zion* I grew up in Alabama. And we both reside in Alabama now.

DL: So what else do you guys having going on besides heavy summer touring?
RR: We just finished our new record. So we’re rushing back home to put the finishing touches on that.

DL: I'm covering Summercamp for Nuvo Newsweekly out of Indianapolis. Have you ever been to Indy?
RR: We have, actually. We’ve started playing a lot more in the Midwest recently. But you know, Ohio was kind of the first place that really opened up to us. Back in the day we had our first sort of real, true following in Ohio.

DL: Where at in Ohio? At festivals?
RR: Yea. At the Nelson Ledges Quarry Park.

DL: So, in Indianapolis we’re experiencing this meshing of the electronic and jam band scenes.
RR: It’s everywhere. It really, truly is the future.

DL: That’s what I’m curious about. Is it just an Indianapolis thing or are you seeing it cross-country in your touring?
RR: It’s everywhere. I think technology is so much more a part of peoples’ lives now. Even kids. There’s just this mass progression. And I think we all kinda dig hip hop; a little bit of this and that. We [BoomBox] obviously are playing beats and stuff. Everybody asks us- what do we think about what we’re doing. We still think we’re playing rock’n’roll. I mean, my instrument may be a macbook pro, but I still think of it as a guitar like any other musician would. And I think more and more people are…

DL: Yea. Open-minded people coming together and just a meshing of cultures.
RR: Well, you know. It’s like the way the electric guitar was in the 60’s. The technology is our electric guitar now.

DL: Have you guys played Summercamp before?
RR: This is our first time.

DL: This is my first time, too. And you’re doing a double set. How exciting is that?
RR: It’s really cool because we normally don’t do a DJ set. Like, we always do the full band, you know. With Zion playing the guitar and singing.

DL: So how is this different from what you did earlier today?
RR: With BoomBox, the band, we have albums. And in the live show, people are expecting to hear more of those songs. And this, we can do whatever the hell we wanna do. Play whatever tracks we want. Use the tracks that don’t fit into the band set.

DL: Like a big dance party?
RR: Yea. It’s just hanging out with the crowd in here, instead of having them standing in front of us. This… this is fun. [Being on stage] is still fun… but that’s our day job.

And with that, a herd of sound guys aggressively stepped in to finish setting up for the night show. I thanked Russ and Zion for finding a few minutes to chat with me and quickly excused myself.

There was an epic battle between two stages that demanded attention, anyways: moe.’s light show on the Moonshine stage vs. Umphrey’s fireworks at the Sunshine stage.

With bands leaving the festival just as soon as they get there and fans moving from stage to stage every hour, it seemed there was never a minute of downtime at Summercamp for anyone. As Cage The Elephant would say, ain’t no rest for the wicked.


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