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Published: 2015/07/14
by Sam D'Arcangelo

Marc Brownstein Returns to Camp

Credit: Brett Osinoff

Fans of the Disco Biscuits might not be ecstatic about the band’s light touring schedule as of late, but—for the past few years at least—their annual Camp Bisco retreat has always been a given. That is, until 2014, when the festival was forced to take a hiatus due to issues with its longtime home in upstate New York. Fortunately for the Biscuitverse, Camp Bisco is ready to make a triumphant return at a brand new site—Scranton, PA’s Montage Mountain. I sat down with bassist Marc Brownstein at Electric Forest to discuss the new festival grounds, what’s in store for the reignited Camp Bisco, the future of the Disco Biscuits, whether or not he’s been writing music and much more.

How are you guys feeling as we approach the first Camp Bisco since last year’s hiatus?

Camp Bisco means the world to us, so having to take a year off is always really a painful thing. Even though we know that every five or six years we need extra time to make some changes in order to make it better, and keep it within the vision of what we want Camp Bisco to be. That’s where we got to be with Camp Bisco. It needed some time off, and we needed to make some changes and a lot of changes got made. We’re just so unbelievably excited, coming down the homestretch here. It’s going to be awesome. Tickets are selling really, really well. We just went up to the site last week, and it’s going to be magic.

What kind of changes are you talking about?

We moved the site. That changes everything. Once we leave New York State, everything changes. The new site has a lot more infrastructure than ILCC, where we’ve been doing it for the last five years. It’s at a ski mountain, and also, there’s a water park at the mountain, and there’s a lodge at the water park, which would be the ski lodge in the winter. It’s a huge lodge area, where there’s going to be an indoor disco. We don’t have to have a silent disco, and we can keep the music pumping because it’s indoors. I was like, “Whoa! There’s a Ben & Jerry’s here?” There’s a Ben & Jerry’s store. There’s going to be a Ben & Jerry’s store at Camp Bisco. I thought that was really awesome.

We’re playing in an amphitheater at the festival, so it’s a different kind of a stage for us. When we looked at the site, we were like “This is going to be a lot different. This is going to be cool.” It’s such an awesome amphitheater, and the people that built it also built a handful of amphitheaters around the Northeast that are prime. They’re just ridiculously gorgeous, well sculpted theaters. Invariably, it’s going to rain, and you have an indoor-outdoor situation. The hotels are close by, and there’s shuttles running back and forth from the hotels. So if you’re the kind of person that wants to camp, then great. But if you aren’t there’s more options. There’s more infrastructure and ultimately it’s going to be a better experience. That’s how I feel.

You’re playing with Electron here at Electric Forest. How has that project really evolved since you brought it back last year?

The thing about Electron is that everybody in Electron has a lot going on in their own world. There’s a lot of momentum with Electron. Tommy has a lot of momentum with Joe Russo’s Almost Dead and American Babies. Mike has a lot of momentum with Lotus. We bring it all together and it just seems like it clicks really well every time this particular lineup plays. So when we came back and we brought Mike [Greenfield] into the fold—because Joe [Russo] was never available—it felt natural. Electron was always my favorite side project and it was exciting to me that there was another option. It was so great with Joe, and it was exciting that we could slip Mike in, and it would also feel really natural to me. Mike is one of the only drummers who truly gets what everybody’s doing in this scene. He’s been there to watch the Biscuits, and other bands in the Biscuits scene, like the New Deal and Sound Tribe. He’s seen what we have been doing all these years. He’s played with us and he’s played our songs a lot over the years, so it’s a really natural fit.

What’s been great about Electron is that we’re getting a chance to take it out and play on bigger stages. It’s unique for a band that doesn’t tour. For a band that doesn’t go out and play 25 shows around the country in little clubs, it’s unique to have an opportunity to come out and play at Electric Forest, and Gathering of the Vibes and Hulaween and Jam Cruise. And that’s just because everybody knows everybody in the band. The promoters are able to look at the lineup and be like “Well, let’s do that. These guys all have a lot of fans. They’re all legit guys.” So that’s a unique position we’re in. But we’ve been playing it for 15 years, so it’s not like we didn’t pay our Electron dues. I love playing in this band. I’m excited for tonight. They put us in the jamband slot.

As for the Disco Biscuits, obviously you guys are going to play Camp Bisco and you guys had your shows in Colorado. Can we expect any tour dates coming up for the Disco Biscuits outside of the summer festival season?

Well, North Coast and Phases of the Moon are on the books. And then Dominican Holidaze is on the books. That’s really what we have on the books right now. Is shit going to happen? For sure. There’s a bunch of stuff that’s about to either be confirmed or be announced, but right now when I look at the schedule all I see is North Coast, Phases of the Moon, Dominican Holidaze and Camp Bisco. Fortunately for us, that’s perfect for us. That’s the perfect amount. I think there’s some opportunities to play some shows in the fall that we’re kicking around. Things that might pop up sometime in October. I hope we’re going to do some stuff in October and November before coming around for New Year’s.

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