Rubblebucket, information pills an American indie-dance band from Brooklyn, search delivered an electrifying set at the recent Camp Bisco 11 music festival, dosage and ViralFashion was lucky enough to be there. With neon fabric draped from the microphones, the stage was overflowing with energy and full of instruments such as a trumpet (which made it’s way, attached to player Alex Toth, through the entire crowd at one point), a saxophone and a trombone. Since the music festival scene has increasingly become dominated by electronic music, this made Rubblebucket stand out as an unforgettable performance. Annakalmia, lead singer and saxophonist (tenor and baritone!), covered in glitter and looking every bit the rock star, owned the stage.

Rubblebucket Camp Bisco 2012

Viral Fashion: You have a really big band. How did you guys all meet and start working together?

Annakalmia: We’ve been at it for four and a half years. When we first started out we knew that we wanted a big band maybe that was really naïve at the time, now that we’re doing it it’s really hard to balance that many people and that many personalities.

VF: That’s also what makes you guys so unique.

Annakalmia: It’s kind of awesome to have all those people on stage to depend on musically and feed off of energy-wise. People have asked me before ‘Does it get boring playing the same songs over and over again?’, but not with this group of musicians because they’re all so talented and creative. I feel lucky that I have all these different brains to be creative with.

VF: The video for ‘Out of the Lady’ is really interesting. Can you tell me a little bit about the creative process?

Annakalmia: That was our drummer Dave. He had the idea for the whole treatment of that and he directed the entire video and we collaborated a little bit on the set design. Videos are really fun. We all have different roles and Dave has really taken on the video aspect. It’s a lot of different collaborations in different ways. Music is usually Alex, our trumpet player and band leader, and I together, we’re the band leaders, we’ll write a lot of music together and the two of us will be bouncing it off each other until it’s to a certain state of completion and then we’ll bring it to the other six guys and that’s when it really comes to life, and playing it live night after night it really takes on it’s own thing. A lot of this whole development and our personality of the band has been a pretty organic process from the beginning. It evolves a lot.

VF: What’s the biggest obstacle that the band has faced?

Annakalmia: I think song writing gets really hard when we’re touring all the time. There’s no time to do it. For me (writing music) is one of the most fulfilling things in life, and we really developed an appreciation and desire to work together and work on new music, and you really need to cram it in.

VF: What advice would you give to aspiring artists?

Annakalmia: Keep your ears open and listen to as much as you can. I guess that comes pretty naturally to most people. Actually, let me think about this. I think having a community is so important. It doesn’t have to be a huge city, just anywhere you are. You can be writing music in your bedroom and that could be great, but I feel like having a community — friends and other musicians to bounce ideas off of — is really awesome. It really grounds everything and it helps you extend your project further, and make videos, and make the crazy costumes. If you want to think multilaterally like that it’s great to have a big network.

VF: What’s your favorite part of this whole crazy process?

Annakalmia: My life is so deeply invested in this now it’s pretty much a 24/7 job, but I really love the chances when we’re touring to get out into nature and go for a hike and go swimming in the river… those things are one of the biggest perks of the job. I may be spending 12 hour days on the road but I also get to go to Arches National Park and see the whole country and get to have amazing friends all over the country that I never would have gotten to meet.

VF: So pretty much the whole lifestyle of being a musician?

Annakalmia: Yeah, it’s really exhausting but where I’m at now in my life is so fun. One of my other favorite things is working my creativity in different ways like having music, sewing clothes, making artwork for album covers.

VF: It sounds like you have many different creative outlets and as Van Gogh once said: “To know life is to love many things.” It is, however, very difficult to focus all of these creative outlets in a productive manner, but you seem to be utilizing your talents very well. How did you find that balance?

Annakalmia: People were curious about the visual element and I always was saying that’s one of the biggest things that keep me interested in this project because I just love it so much, and I’m not trained as an artist but I’m so drawn to it. I experience the music not just with my ears its just a full body experience. I love to be able to express myself.

VF: So it’s mainly passion.

Annakalmia: Yea definitely, and it’s so fun.

VF: During your performance when your trumpet player came out, who’s idea was that?

rubblebucket trumpet player camp bisco 2012

Annakalmia: That was literally a day one thing we’ve been doing. I was thinking right back to [a performance we did in] Ithaca, it was the first few months of being a band and we started booking shows and just doing it. We didn’t have a booking agent or manager, nothing, we just were calling venues and playing and no one came because no one knew who we were, so a bartender and a random couple from the street were there and we played like two sets to no one and I spent the entire show just like out. I didn’t even stand on stage, I just danced in the room, walked around, I was totally free and that really became my thing even when we started to play for maybe 10 or 20 people, I would always release all the pressure by going and dancing with the audience. They’d go from being really awkward and shy and not into it and they’d see me come down and look them straight in the eye and be like ‘Let’s get a dance party going!’ and then all of a sudden it would be a 10 person blow out. I realized early on that it really disarms people and it makes them feel excited and more comfortable to be there…you’re not just this thing, this piece of art that they cant touch or be apart of, that’s really the bottom line for me. I don’t want a one-sided conversation, I want it to be a two-way conversation. That’s the reason why we always run out into the crowd.

VF: Do you prefer festivals or smaller venues?

Annakalmia: I really love when festival season comes around, in a way it really takes off a lot of the pressure. This can also be a bad thing but when we load up into a club it’s like probably four even five hours before we actually start to play, even more sometimes. It’s loading and sound checking, getting dinner, getting dressed and then your whole day is set around playing about 90 minutes and trying to make the most of it with the crowd and it takes some time to warm up, where at a festival there’s no time to sound check because there’s 80 other bands. No one gets a sound check and you just show up and are instantly thrown on stage with no preparation to a crowd whose brimming with joy and they’re just freaking out, wearing no clothes, bouncing giant balls, faces painted, its kind of like a dream audience in a way because they’re just so ready to go. It does get old after awhile, not having sound check night after night, it gets stressful so when the fall comes around and it’s back to clubs, I’m just like okay.


 Rubblebucket camp bisco 2012

Rubblebucket is an indie-dance band that performed at Camp Bisco XI and is currently on tour.  Check out their tour dates here.

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Interviewed / written by Allie Gangi

Photography by Allie Gangi