Dopapod is a band that can make me dance even when I don't feel like dancing. They are exploding on the scene and their audience is growing by the second. Listening to music is one way I thrive in this world and Dopapod songs find their way on to my playlists daily. Since they turn me on so much I thought I would find out for the Huffington Post readers what turns on their keyboard player Eli Winderman.
TW: What is your big why for doing what you do?
EW: Now that I'm years into my career, I've found that my motivation for doing this is pretty evenly split between self-gratification and making others happy. Being able to make a crowd dance and have fun is one of the feelings I hope to never take for granted. At the same time, accomplishing personal goals and developing my skills is a very rewarding feeling. It's the main driving force in my life and it's like an ongoing sculpture that I focus my efforts on day in and day out. I do this because it's what I've always wanted to do my entire life (besides a couple delusional years when I thought I would be a professional basketball player). Music has always called my name even as a young child.
TW: I am grateful that you followed your dreams of becoming a musician instead of a basketball player because I get to be one of those lucky audience members that you make dance. So... what's a big obstacle you've faced in your life and how did you overcome it?
EW: The biggest obstacle I've faced in my life is probably my stutter. I grew up with a pretty bad speech blockage that over the years I've been able to work around. Growing up it was much worse than now, but it still affects me sometimes. What's interesting about it is that I very rarely stutter when I'm performing on stage. I think that may be one of the reasons I ended up following the path to becoming a musician. There's not too much talking necessary and I can express myself without having to worry about the stutter.
TW: Wow! I've spoken to you many times and I never knew you had a stutter. It's really amazing how something you might see as a negative thing has turned into such a miracle for you. It was one of the things that brought you to music. Beautiful. OK, what was one golden piece of advice you received from someone that changed your life?
EW: I suppose the biggest advice I've received is to not have a Plan B. I don't actually recall who told this to me and it's possible that I learned from example from people but... Whatever you want to do with your life, it will only be easier to fall back on a plan B if you have one in the first place. It's all or nothing and you need to jump off the cliff without a harness so the speak. Having the courage to do that is what helps put you in the right mindset for success. You'll do whatever you have to do to succeed.
TW: Yes! Probably one of the scariest things to do, but it's how dreams become a reality. You seem like a pretty happy dude. So what do you like to do for fun on and off the road?
EW: For fun I love writing and playing music obviously. I write music in the van to pass the time. It's a satisfying feeling to work on a composition over time and see it take life. I also love basketball, disc golf, hiking, and watching basically anything on HBO. I also enjoy reading when I find a book that sparks my interest as well as scrolling through Reddit and Facebook on my phone (which I admit I probably do too much. I wouldn't be surprised if there was smart phone rehab in a few years). I do so much traveling for work, but I love to travel for pleasure too. It's such a different experience when there is no schedule put in place for the adventure. On tour, we tend to have strict schedules of where to be and when. It can take some of the spontaneity out of it all. At least on gig days.
TW: Ha! I know a bunch of people I would have an intervention when it comes to phone addiction. What do you do for self-care when you're on the road? Off the road?
EW: I try to sleep, stretch, exercise as much as possible. Sitting in the van for hours on end every day can do a number on the body. Even just a simple 3 or 4 minute routine at rest stops makes all the difference in the world. Most of the hotels we stay at have pools and exercise rooms which I try to use whenever we don't have to wake up too early. I also try to practice while on tour. It's easy to overlook practicing when you're already playing so much music, but it really helps bring out more creative ideas when you're constantly pushing yourself to be better.
TW: Totally. Its truly is amazing how taking those couple of minutes to stretch whether you work at a desk or are a touring musician make all the difference in the world. Thank you for sharing that. The next question is my favorite one to ask. What are you grateful for in your life right now?
EW: I'm grateful for my health and the health of my family and friends. I'm grateful that I'm able to do what I love as my job. There's really no simpler way to put it. I get to spend time with my best friends every day while simultaneously working on our art. I'm grateful for the opportunity to meet so many cool people that inspire me all over the country. I'm also very grateful to work in an environment where I get to see other bands and artists perform all the time. I'm grateful that I have a supportive family that has always been behind me 100% as well as an incredible team working with the band. It feels like a big family where we're all in it to win it. I'm grateful to be part of the coolest music scene out there where people are open to many genres, styles, and most importantly improvisation.
TW: So much to be grateful for. You rock! Anything else you'd like to share? (there are no rules here)
EW: I just wanted to share my excitement for our new record coming out called Never Odd or Even. We're releasing it on 11/11/2014. We're pretty thrilled to share it with the world, so we are going to give it away for free to anyone that wants to listen! Folks can even sign up at our website in advance to get it - so we'll send them a download link for the CD the day it comes out. We also have a ton of live soundboard recordings from shows that you can download right here.
And since we never really stop touring, we hit the nation hard this fall all the way through New Year's Eve. I hope people who have never heard of us - maybe reading this article about us for the first time - will come and give Dopapod a listen.
As I've mentioned, we are tethered to a touring life that is mostly spent traveling in a van to these clubs, theaters and festivals. It makes it all worthwhile when we get on stage to play our music, and looking out in the crowd at all the smiling faces enjoying the music.
TW: I'm excited for all of that too especially downloading your album for free. You are so generous. Thank you for sharing a piece of you with the Huffington Post readers. See you on the road!