Camp Counselor Carmel Interviews Rob Chafin of The Werks

The Werks would be returning. This will be the band’s 5th consecutive Memorial Day Weekend appearance at Three Sisters Park, so it’s clear they enjoy the festival and we SCampers enjoy them. I spent some time chatting with drummer Rob Chafin about creating music, his thoughts on festivals, and what he enjoys about Summer Camp… enjoy! CARMEL: For those who aren’t familiar, give me an overview of The Werks, its members, and how you would describe your sound. ROB: We got Chris Houser on guitar and vocals, Dino Dimitrouleas on bass and vocals, Dan Shaw on keyboards and vocals, and myself on drums, vocals, and samples. Our goal is to be a little bit of everything, so you really get “the works.” We go anywhere from rock and roll to funk to electronic jams to bluegrass, and everywhere in between, all tied together with improv. We like to jump all over the place and offer a musical buffet, so to speak. You guys seem very comfortable with experimentation. How does The Werks usually approach improvisation during a live show? Well the true key to improv is being able to listen and be aware more than anything else. So you listen to the other members and then build off of their ideas. When we are in an open jam, I’m having a musical conversation with three of the best musicians out there, and it is very important to listen and expand on what each member adds to the mix. [caption id="attachment_21314" align="alignright" width="300"]werks Photo by Chris Monaghan[/caption] It seems like you guys are constantly on the road, how has playing live influenced how you create music? Since the beginning of The Werks we’ve always been a live band, you know, we cut our teeth playing live shows. We are currently in the studio right now doing a twelve track album and we seem more focused than ever. We are really proud of it because it will definitely be one of our best albums yet. It’s kind of a whole new ballgame where we are experimenting with three and four part vocal harmonies and a lot of different styles. We are really trying to make an album that flows together too like how Pink Floyd used to do things. It’s exciting for us, especially right now. But to answer your question, you know all these years of improvising has definitely had it’s effect. Some of these songs we wrote a couple years ago and they are about to be on this new album but have changed so much. They’ve been road tested over time. Then there are some that we haven’t even played live, so I guess it’s a mix of everything. What made you guys decide to host your own festival, The Werk Out? Well we’ve always been kind of connoisseurs of festivals, so to speak (laughs). It’s always been about getting all of our friends together in the same place and co-creating together. That’s where the essence of any festival starts, a party for your friends! Being the Festival Director, it’s definitely a lot of work all year round, but it’s all worth it once you see that first smile in the crowd. We have an amazing team that we have assembled over the years and they absolutely kill it! We are really excited for The Werk Out this year. It’s definitely going to be the biggest year yet. Our second announcement on March 30th is going to be huge. We can’t wait to share the rest of this lineup, it is going to get people really excited, that’s for sure. You guys definitely seem at home at fests, why is that? What is it about The Werks that connects with a festival audience? The thing about festivals is that they’re typically very eclectic because the lineups usually consist of a cornucopia of different acts. The Werks are definitely a very eclectic band and because we jump around from genre to genre, the open-minded festival crowd usually finds something they like in our set. We have been playing fests for so long that it really does feel like home. It’s definitely the type of band that we are. Lets talk about night sets versus day sets at a festival, The Werks has managed to master both of these settings. Why is that? Which do you prefer? Night sets all the way! You know the show production, the lights and everything, adds an exclamation point to the music. Because of that I think most bands would prefer to play at night. You know day time sets are fun too… but obviously everyone likes to play under the lights (laughs). We are working now with Alex “Herm” Schneider. He has been in the jam scene for a long time and has worked with a lot of our friends, including Future Rock. He is definitely a pro LD through and through and he absolutely kills it. He just started with us on our winter tour and we are really excited to have him be part of our team. This will be The Werks 5th time playing Summer Camp, what’s your favorite part about this festival? Summer Camp is definitely one of our favorite festivals out there and is a huge part of The Werks’ history. We are always excited to get back. It really has a “family” atmosphere and it’s really cool to see that, especially for a large festival. They seem to invite a lot of the same artists back every year which is really cool and it is great to be a part of that. People are always really excited to go back to Summer Camp every year with their whole group of friends. I can tell just by being there for the last 6 years in a row that they’ve established a really cool community, and I am definitely honored to be a part of the magic!]]>