Jam band Elmwood has made it big faster than Ke$ha gets rid of her hangovers. Saxophonist Derek Haight and drummer Donnie Marple of the talented quartet of progressive rockers wanted to get their message out before the Bonnaroo Festival begins.
State Press: You’ve toured with O.A.R. and Tea Leaf Green, and this summer you’ll be playing with Blues Traveler, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Band of Horses, and the side stage for Dave Matthews Band. You guys started out kind of small as a Nashville hometown band. What was the progression like to the sort of status that you have now?
Derek Haight: It happened pretty fast. We were actually only together for about two months when we got with a major booking agent. Our first tour was in January 2009. When we got together, it was literally two or three months [before big things started happening].
SP: Do you guys have any plans or hopes for future collaborations with other artists, whether it’s on a record or on tour?
DH: We really like to play with as many people as possible. If there’s anyone who would like to play with us, we would probably play with them.
SP: You guys just played the Mountain Jam Festival last week. There must be some sort of a variation in feeling when you play to a large audience versus doing a smaller gig. What’s your preference, the smaller shows or the huge festivals? What’s the difference for you guys?
DH: We love playing for as many people as possible. It does reach the realm of intimidation when we reach a very large audience, but it doesn’t really matter. We’ll play for one person, and we’ll play for 3,000 people. It’s more about just getting our point across.
SP: Let’s talk about the live album that you guys have released. How does recording a live album differ from an album recorded in a studio?
DH: We consider ourselves [to be] much more of a live band, actually. You get a full concert experience [when you] see us live. Part of our sound is being live.
SP: For three days in March, you guys donated all profits from your merchandise to the Red Cross to help earthquake victims in Haiti and Chile, which is really respectable. Do you feel like bands that reach out to charities have any impact on their fans doing the same?
DH: Most definitely, there’s no question. I think all of us are inspired by some of our favorite bands that also do that a lot as well.
SP: Aside from touring, what’s next for you guys?
DH: We never know. We’re looking at maybe going into the studio. We’re touring all the time. We’re also looking for great sponsors that we would like to have for our studio.
Donnie Marple: I’d just like to add that I want to thank all of our fans for their continued support of our music.