Rubblebucket Q & A with singer and saxophone player Kalmia Traver


There is one heck of a protest going down in the country right now fueled by a DIY attitude and a zealous desire for change.  If you put a soundtrack to the energy in the country what would it sound like?  Some may feel Tom Morello strumming them towards a new world.  While for others it’s something older with twangs of Dylan and Richie Havens.  In my mind its more upbeat and constructive it seems to have the heaviness of bass mixed with an uplifting horn section.  It’s got multiple voices and many heartbeats.  To me it seems that Rubblebucket, a band that lives and breathes a DIY lifestyle plays a fitting soundtrack to tone of our current movement.   A few weeks ago BOMS sent off an email to Rubblebucket’s publicist with a several questions for this eclectic band.

Here are Rubblebucket’s singer and saxophone player Kalmia Traver’s answers.

BOMS: How would you describe the type of music you are creating – dance rock, new wave, artsy pop – something else?

KT: short answer: Psychedelic Pop

long answer: Ecstatic psychedelic dance art-pop with horns and sweaty action and lots of dancing so come it’s going to be great!!

BOMS: What can one expect when coming out to see a Rubblebucket show?

KT: See above? (haha) No really… I think we all pride ourselves in being some very hard-working members of show business. We love to play live and feel the energy that comes off whoever’s in the room. We kind of live for those magical moments when a bunch of stuffed-up post-workday self-conscious people suddenly become transformed into hyper joyous dancing sirens. We all lift each other up!

BOMS: Rubblebucket seems to thrive in an upbeat sounding area.  “Came Out Of a Lady” and “Silly Feathers” are hard not to enjoy with a smile.  Your rhythms, horns and muti-layered songs drive the listener to movement.  What pushes you towards the light vs. darker side of music?

KT: This question probably has a lot of different answers, depending on which band member you ask. I will tell you my answer (Kalmia): I’ve almost never used music as a force of dark in my life. I know that many people let it plunge them deeper into their emotional lows, or have experienced it as a community which houses and enables their insecurities. But I’ve almost always been lifted up by music. Playing it and listening to it. Not always in a an annoying, cheery way, sometimes I cry, but it’s always expanded me, and pushed me forward. That’s just the reality for me, and I’m so thankful for it.

BOMS: You’ve recorded “Came Out Of a Lady” several times on different albums – have you perfected it yet or will you give it another go?

KT: The first time we recorded it was for a web series called “Masters from their day” The idea was to get bands who are good at the instruments, and record and completely mix one song in one day, in the way of the old greats. The producers wanted a new song, so we chose came out of a lady. It was only a month old, and we were really excited about it – felt it had a lot of potential. So of course that recording has got a lot of special vibe, and we also ended up using it for our music video. The new one (on Omega La La) is Eric Broucek’s take. I love them both, and probably couldn’t choose one over the other. I think that song’s done for now, but I sometimes think about going back and re-recording the song Violet Rays. It’s a beauty, and it’s evolved a lot since we first recorded it.


BOMS: How much are you influenced by musicians from today vs. Musicians from an earlier era?

KT: With some of the most amazing emerging bands that I love these days, I can hear their ears hearing old music that’s influenced me too. It’s crazy to be making music in the middle of this information-availability explosion. I get so overwhelmed sometimes, that I just shut down. But I think the truest answer to this question has to be that we all owe huge tribute to musicians of bygone eras. Lots of our sound is based on rhythmic fundamentals that flow throught the blood of humanity, and have been unveiled and discovered and expanded on through the years of pre-recorded and recorded music by awesome visionaries. Sometimes I feel all this music that’s been created in the world is a giant playground and, with our contemporaries, we are just little kids running around, all digging, playing and exploring side by side.

BOMS: So with 3 albums tucked under your belts how has Rubblebucket evolved as a band since the first?

KT: We’ve finally settled on a line-up, and we all get along with each other, for the most part. That’s pretty huge. We’ve been always following our ears and our ears have definitely been leading us somewhere. It’s a place of art and grind, synesthesia, and rolling out the carpet for people, so we can all get our free on together.

BOMS: You’ve played hundreds of shows– could you pick and describe a favorite and why?

KT: Playing at Higher Ground in Burlington, VT is always a benchmark. That is one of our biggest homes, and has some of the most loving fans, and we’re friends with everyone who works there. I think every time I’ve played there I’ve left saying “that was the best show to date”.  We’ve also had some amazing ones with very low attendance

BOMS: You’re a substantial band at 8 pieces deep already, but if you could invite any musician(s) to join you in the band (alive or dead) who would you pick, and why?

KT: First I immediately thought Moondog, but that’s just because I’ve always wanted to meet him and to collaborate with him in any way would be a dream come true. I think we could share some mutual fun with George Clinton, if he came up with us just doing his thing. We’ve got some mutual colors.

BOMS: Do you feel more comfortable playing in a live setting or in the studio?  And why is there a comfort level difference – if there is one?

KT: There are extreme pressures in both. The studio is warm, bright, smells great, and I can sip as much tea as slowly as I want. But in the end, something amazing has to come out, and I have to be happy with it FOREVER. I find myself going in and out of bouts of hilarity when we’re having fun, and then nervous heart palpitations, if something isn’t feeling right, or communication is blocked in some way. The stage and the road are very hard on the body. But the liberation is exhilarating. It is possible to get into a comfortable rhythm, but takes a lot more effort and organization (WHERE are my raisins and keys and left boot??). However, we get to play all these live shows where it’s really about “leaving it all on the stage”. I have permission every night to have a public spaz attack. Talk about emotional release!!

BOMS: If you believe music evolves over time – where do you see the Rubblebucket sound going 5 years from now?

KT: I think in a way we’ve finally made it to our sonic home, after 3 albums. Not to say that we won’t keep evolving, because that’s in our nature. Five years is a lot of time, so I suppose it’s hard to predict specifics. We’re always listening, bopping around, joking and absorbing. I think our music does have some settling to do. I can imagine softer deeper tones, and more evolved lyrics.

BOMS: What inspires you away from music – art, food, play?

KT: Absolutely. And also sex.

Rubblebucket is on tour in US through mid-November for more information visit here

Posted on by jake Posted in The Beat

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