Interview by Scott Preston
Thirteen years after playing their first note together in Philadelphia, PA, The Disco Biscuits continue to make mind bending, genre defying music. With their fifth studio album on the way, the band’s first since 2002, the Biscuits once again look to redefine what it means to be a live band living in a studio setting. The product of three years in the hole with Philadelphia hip-hop duo Don Cheegro and Dirty Harry, along with some close guidance from the UK electronic duo of Simon Posford and Benji Vaughn (Twisted Records UK), will once again satisfy fans of the band in a way they have never heard before – a quality many have come to find synonymous with the band’s releases and performances through the years.
The hosts of Camp Bisco, one of the country’s largest and longest running electronic music festivals, the Biscuits have continued to bring a myriad of talent to the scene in recent years, including: Snoop Dogg, Thievery Corporation, DJ Shadow, MSTRKRFT, The Roots, Infected Mushroom, STS9 (Sound Tribe Sector Nine), Shpongle, Younger Brother, Alex Paterson (The Orb), and many, many more. Camp Bisco, which has found a home at upstate New York’s Indian Lookout Country Club, attracted nearly 8000 concert-goers a night for three nights in July 2008. With the eighth installment of the festival set to blast off in July 2009, Camp Bisco veterans and first-timers can count on a fresh, one-of-a-kind, party that’s not to be missed.
Cincy Groove: So I understand you have a studio album coming out pretty soon?
Aron Magner: Yeah pretty soon, there’s no street date for the release yet, but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. That light, mind you, has been visible for the last year. We keep inching closer and closer and we are almost there.
Cincy Groove: Is there a title for the new album?
Aron Magner: We have a bunch of titles that we are throwing around, we haven’t decided on anything definite yet.
Cincy Groove: Were there any special guests on this album?
Aron Magner: Yes, but not in the traditional sense. For instance when we were in California recording Senor Boombox, we were in this great studio called Fantasy Studios in Oakland. Carlos Santana was recording in the studio right next to us. We aren’t buddy buddy with Carlos so we felt it wasn’t appropriate to ask Carlos to be on the record. But we did put his percussion player on Jigsaw Earth and that was great.
There are a lot of other musicians on this album, but they got on the album very organically. Tom Hamilton played some guitar on the cd. It wasn’t like we approached him ahead of time and asked him to play this particular solo. He just walked into the studio one day and we kind of said “Hey do you want to strap a guitar on?”. We have our own studio here in Philly, so there are people walking in and out all the time. A lot of people lended their talents because that’s what we do, play music.
Cincy Groove: Have there been any highlights for the band this past year?
Aron Magner: I think the highlight of the past year has happened in the last month. We took a four month hiatus at the end of the year. We were actually a little nervous coming back from the break. We were wondering if it was going to be one of those things where we forget how to play together. We got back together the week before we went to Jamaica. Which was really the first time we had even played together in the past four months. I think I called out Overture to play as the first song, because we all know how to play Home Again (laughing). Everybody was trying to get their feet wet again.
Starting with those Jamaica shows we played with a sense of confidence, security, maturity and really playing deliberately. Then we got back to the states and immediately went right back into the studio to prepare for New Years. We played 5 nights at the Nokia Theater in New York City. We got on that stage and just owned it. In my opinion we played some of the best shows we have ever played in our careers. That’s very re-invigorating looking forward to going back out on the road which is going to be one of the most lengthy tours we have done in a while.
Cincy Groove: What would you attribute to the longevity of the band?
Aron Magner: Sometimes I think we are here for a purpose. We are still growing, there’s still more music to be made, and more that the band has to say. I can only speak for myself, but that’s what keeps me going with the band. I mean we are a rock band that has been together for 14 years. It has its ups and downs , its inner dynamics, and turmoil. In the end you do it for the love of the music. I feel like the story of The Disco Biscuits hasn’t been fully told yet. We haven’t even come close to the end of that story.
Cincy Groove: How was it having Snoop Dogg play at the last Camp Bisco?
Aron Magner: It was a blast, I mean Snoop Dogg played our fucking festival! We did get to hang with him for a bit. First off, Snoop is unbelievably polite. He really put Camp Bisco on the map. We had already been building something really special up to that point, but by having Snoop there I feel it legitimized Camp Bisco.
Cincy Groove: I know its still early, but how are plans going for this years Camp Bisco?
Aron Magner: We are working on the lineup right now. Nothing has been announced yet. But it will take place in July.
Cincy Groove: How do you think the bands writing/recording process has changed since the first album?
Aron Magner: Well every record has a different recording process. You can try to repeat something, but the energy, the vibe is always going to be different. Every one of our albums had a different approach whether we were conscious of it or not. This new album certainly had the most unique approach being that we are doing it in our own studio over the course of three years.
The Disco Biscuits:
Allen Aucoin (Drums)
Marc Brownstein (Bass, Vocals)
Jon Gutwillig (Guitar, Vocals)
Aron Magner (Keyboards, Vocals)
The Disco Biscuits – “World Is Spinning”
Upcoming Disco Biscuits tour dates:
for more info on shows visit – http://discobiscuits.com
Jan 16 2009 Calvin Theatre Northampton, Massachusetts
Jan 17 2009 Calvin Theatre Northampton, Massachusetts
Jan 18 2009 Town Ballroom Buffalo, New York
Jan 21 2009 Newport Music Hall Columbus, Ohio
Jan 22 2009 Magestic Theatre Madison, Wisconsin
Jan 23 2009 First Avenue Minneapolis, Minnesota
Jan 24 2009 Congress Theater Chicago, Illinois
Jan 25 2009 Canopy Club Urbana, Illinois
Jan 28 2009 Headliners Music Hall Louisville, Kentucky
Jan 29 2009 Cannery Ballroom Nashville, Tennessee
Jan 30 2009 The Valarium Knoxville, Tennessee
Jan 31 2009 Tabernacle Atlanta, Georgia
Feb 3 2009 Jupiter Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Feb 4 2009 Lyric Theatre Oxford, Mississippi
Feb 5 2009 Cain’s Ballroom Tulsa, Oklahoma
Feb 6 2009 La Zona Rosa Austin, Texas
Feb 7 2009 House of Blues Houston, Texas
Feb 8 2009 House of Blues Dallas, Texas
Feb 13 2009 Ogden Theatre Denver, Colorado
Feb 14 2009 Ogden Theatre Denver, Colorado
Feb 15 2009 Liberty Hall Lawrence, Kansas
Feb 26 2009 Higher Ground Burlington, Vermont
Feb 27 2009 Higher Ground Burlington, Vermont
Feb 28 2009 House of Blues Boston, Massachusetts
Mar 1 2009 Ram’s Head Live 20 Market Place, Maryland
Mar 4 2009 The National Richmond, Virginia
Mar 5 2009 The NorVa Norfolk, Virginia
Mar 6 2009 Music Hall Charleston, South Carolina
Mar 8 2009 Langerado Miami, Florida