Interview by Scott Preston
The Macpodz are an electrified jazz quintet from Ann Arbor, Michigan. In the traditions of Miles Davis and Frank Zappa, this ensemble pushes the boundaries of rock, jazz and fusion music. Drummer Griffin Bastian and percussionist Nick Ayers drive the rhythm behind bassist Brennan Andes, keyboardist Jesse Clayton and trumpeter Ross Huff. The band coined the term “Disco Bebop” at their first gig in early 2006, after playing a four on the floor roller rink remix of the Charlie Parker tune, “Dewey Square.”
The Macpodz self released their debut album, Genius Food for Super Heroes, on January 2, 2007. Described as lush, daring and incredibly solid, the music has been well received by jazz lovers and those who just love to dance. “The crowd dances, bobs and claps unfazed when the music veered into odd meter,” said James Manheim of the Ann Arbor Observer.
The band is currently on a Spring 2008 tour in support of their newest release; Orcastrate with many dates scheduled throughout the Midwest and Northeast.
Cincy Groove: It seems you guys are always on the road, how many shows did you play last year?
Nick Ayers: I really couldn’t even tell you, probably around 150. Most of the touring was done in the midwest.
Cincy Groove: I see that The Macpodz are hosting their own festival this year. What made you have it in Ohio as opposed to Michigan?
Nick Ayers: Ohio has been really good to us and supportive of the scene. Ohio knows how to rock.
Cincy Groove: How long have the Macpodz been together?
Nick Ayers: We have been together just over 2 years.
Cincy Groove: Are you having any other bands playig with you at Camp Macpodz?
Nick Ayers: Its really kind of a recent development. As far as I know its just us playing right now. We will probably play 3 sets. We may bring in some DJ’s.
Cincy Groove: What do you like to do when you are not performing?
Nick Ayers: Music has been pretty much my life for a while. There’s only one of us that still has a day job. We are for the most part gigging all the time.
Cincy Groove: What was your day job before you started touring full time?
Nick Ayers: I used to teach electronic music and music production to high school aged students at a teen center in Ann Arbor, MI.
Cincy Groove: Who are some of the bands influences?
Nick Ayers: We have some Zappa type compositions. A lot of people will compare us to Miles Davis and the fusion stuff he was doing. We just try to get the people grooving. When people start to move they tend to forget about a lot of stuff that is holding them back.
Cincy Groove: Did you have fun playing hookahville last year?
Nick Ayers: It was a blast. We rolled in at like 6 in the morning. We had to set up and check in at 9 am because we were the first ones to play Saturday morning at 12. We all felt blessed and honored to be a part of the festival. The Wailers played right after us and we got to chat with them backstage. It really was a dream come true. ekoostik hookah has been really good to us as well. We just played a show with them in Toledo.
The Macpodz are:
Nick Ayers- Percussion, Flute and Vox
Brennan Andes- Bass and Vox
Jesse Clayton- Keys
Griffin Bastian- Drums
Ross Huff- Trumpet, Flugelhorn and Vox
Upcoming Macpodz tour dates:
for complete show details visit: http://www.themacpodz.com
April 3, 2008 Founders Pub Grand Rapids, MI
April 4, 2008 Mickey Finn’s Toledo, OH
April 5, 2008 HASH BASH BLIND PIG Ann Arbor, MI
April 17, 2008 Village Idiot Maumee, OH
April 23, 2008 The Khyber Philadelphia, PA
April 24, 2008 The Stone Church Newmarket, NH
April 25, 2008 Higher Ground Burlington, VT
April 26, 2008 Sully’s Pub Hartford, CT
April 27, 2008 The Big Easy Portland, ME
April 30, 2008 Sullivan’s Hall New York City, New York
May 1, 2008 The Saint Ashbury Park, New Jersey
May 2, 2008 The Wheelhouse Narragansett, RI
May 3, 2008 Red Square Albany, NY
May 14, 2008 Uncle Festers Bloomington, IN
May 15, 2008 Scarlet & Grey Cafe Columbus, OH
May 16, 2008 Stanley’s Pub Cincinnati, OH
May 17, 2008 Nelson Ledges Garrettsville, OH
May 23, 2008 Hookahville Music Festival Thornville, OH
May 25, 2008 Summer Camp Music Festival Chillicothe, IL
June 5, 2008 WAKARUSA MUSIC FESTIVAL Lawrence, KS