Schema Things brings a melting pot of style to form a dialed in mix of heavy jamtronica. Forming a little over a year ago they have dialed in on a solid sound. Amongst the 4 piece there is a diverse background of musical style, it’s hard to resist the urge to dance! Here we talk; inception, making it work and a new EP on the way.
How did Schema Things breach the Denver music scene?
Danny: Me and George had a band, Wabakinoset, that was ending and immediately Ben was there. We brought him in and we had played with Matt before and wanted to bring him in. George had a bunch of new songs and all of us were taking it to the next level. 2/8/2019, George’s birthday is the anniversary of the band.
George: Yeah! You guys are all welcome! We’ve done around 20 shows, but we’ve done all of these other little things.
Matt: House parties, parking lots, little gigs. We played Denver Jamtronica Solutions LLC. That was what really led to the inception of a new group
What is Denver Jamtronica Solutions LLC?
George: You know in baseball you have your major league and your triple As and stuff this was like our farm team. Within that we found who could come up to the majors.
Danny: Ben and Matt were obvious choices.
Matt: It’s crazy. We came together and were like damn this is such a good sound. We finally found it. This connection that we’ve wanted, what we’ve been looking for. We’ve all been in bands for 10 years+. So we were like oh shit, this fits so natural. I was just listening to our first show, and it’s terrible in comparison to what we are playing now. When we were playing it I was thinking this is so good, this is the best show ever but where we are now it is just so much more dialed.
Danny: The style of playing is what we all liked. We love how quick it was. Quick jamtronica.
Ben: We’re the fastest band in the west!
All of you guys come from different band backgrounds but also from around the country. Do you think that those influences play a part in the melting pot of your jam?
Matt: We are a microcosm of what’s happening in Denver. We are all transplants finding this unique resonance here that just fits for our lifestyles. We all have our own influences. I’m a classically trained pianist from Wyoming. So my sound is weirdly piano and country at the same time.
Danny: Matt has the classical which fits really well with the dance music influence. The house and techno are a huge influence.
Matt: Rave days really helped that end, spending many mornings in dark warehouses.
Danny: That kind of along with the jam band, Phish, Grateful Dead vibes.
Matt: We are a melting pot, Ben is the craziest one to me because he’s not a traditional vein jambander. Me, Danny, and George are Bisco fam. Ben had never even seen them. We were already a full blown band and Ben hadn’t seen any Disco Biscuit shows. It’s like ‘how does this work?!’
Ben: Yeah, I’ve been in jazz trios, jazz quartets which I think is where a lot of the jamming comes from. Also, some funk groups as well. I was also in some metal bands. I was in a proggressive rock band that toured a bit for a couple years. So I think that’s where a lot of the heavier stuff came in. So the jamming plus the heavier, boom Schema Things.
Danny: The jamming, heavy metal and trance right?
Ben: Yep I’ve always been into Sandstorm and all that. Elementary school days. Having airsoft wars, dude! Strobe lights plus airsoft plus techno music blasting. I saw a picture of George, from like 12 years ago in a metal band or something with long hair. Speak a little bit on that.
George: When I was in high school I was in a prog metal band that covered a lot of dream theater and Rush and stuff like that. That is where a lot of it comes from.
Danny: I was listening to Rush right before this!
Matt: Interesting. Danny is all over the map. I’ll never figure out the Dantanachips. He’s the ace in the hole.
Of the music available to the public what song(s) do you think really embodies what Schema Things is all about? Also, memorable jams that come to mind.
George: For me “Cunaxa”, but I know my roommate Greg who has been to a bunch of our shows, “Overfloweth” so I think it really depends on who you ask.
Ben: I’d say “Cunaxa” and “March to the Interior” are the two. “Cunaxa” is kinda that proggy metaly feel mixed with that swing vibe mixed with that straight fat untz.
Danny: In terms of listening I’d say Schema Sounds Vol. II. that’s our highest quality, live at Summit Music Hall.
Matt: Which we’re going to release the full live video for Summit Music Hall 11/8/19. Ben’s our videographer. He puts mad work into it and makes that happen.
Danny: That show is probably our best. We don’t put anything up if it’s not up to quality. The last one we put up was a compilation of stuff.
George: The stuff we did with Camera Jams is good too but we got really really drunk so if you want to see what it’s like when we get really drunk you can check that out.
Ben: Yeah it kind of progresses.
Danny: Camera Jams represent!
Matt: Yeah some more news. We are about to record an EP this weekend with Camera Jams. We were trying to get the hours in before but now we really gotta knock it out.
Ben: Yeaaah getin in the stu!
That is super exciting! So how is Camera Jams involved?
George: This last one was 3 weeks ago with Schema Things but in the past DJS LLC worked with Camera Jams.
Ben: Danny and George are the founders [DJS LLC]
George: Yeah, I’m the Chief Visionary Officer and Danny is the Head of Product.
Matt: It all happened at Camera Jams. We were like we should do wook weddings. That was when it all started. Actually all of the credit goes to Logan Firth at Camera Jams because if he hadn’t put 4 random musicians in a room we would have never had Denver Jamtronica Solutions LLC and said we should do wook weddings and then things happened.
Danny: But yeah, Logan is helping us record and it will be the first material released that’s not at a live show.
Matt: Which we gotta figure out how we are going to make it different from what it sounds like at a show.
George: We’ve gotta take the Tom Hamilton approach. You cut out the jams and you just have solo sections. Like Brother’s Past’s albums.
Ben: 16 bars. Out.
Matt: “This Feeling’s Called Goodbye” is like the best jam band album ever.Tommy Hamilton produced it. Like we should all listen to it this week and send it to Logan and say this is what a jam band album should sound like.
George: Tom, produced the Biscuits’ album, Otherwise Law Abiding Citizens, which adheres to that principle. Where you have the composition really tight and all your arpeggiators set up to a click but the jam section is kind of removed and there is a solos section instead so that way its not exactly what you see at a show but it’s enough for you to get it.
Danny: It’s like a polished version. Dressed down, simplified.
Have you all had any memorable sit ins?
George: I think one of our most memorable sit ins is when we played with the drummer Alan from the Disco Biscuits. That was pretty dope.
Matt: I tell ya if we’re gonna have a sit in we’re gonna do it proper.
George: There was also a time where we had a show and Ben had just gotten out of the hospital like a week earlier.
Matt: We had to have some guest drummers. Ben played one song, then we had 3 other drummers play.
Danny: That was at our show with Space Bacon.
George: The one song we played with Ben was 18 minutes long! So it’s like we were trying to give him a break but he’s playing all of these intense intervals.
Ben: Dude it felt good!! I couldn’t stop.
Danny: It was the best jam of the night.
Matt: So that was helpful that our friends bailed us out in a time of need but typically with a sit-in the person needs to be way better than we are.
Danny: They’ve gotta add in something beneficial.
Matt: You will never hear horns in Schema Things.
Danny: A lot of people want to add a lot of notes and the thing I like about Schema Things is that every note is intentional. They complement what someone else is doing. It’s not just ‘look at what I can do’. It’s an effort to get the crowd to dance more!
Ben: It takes a lot of patience.
Matt: And that’s what we’ve figured out from our music a year ago. We have the formula more dialed in. George helped us a bunch with that. George made a powerpoint on how to jam. Ever since that there has really been a flow starting with the drums and bass. As long as we let the sound build in the right order it sounds cohesive. Otherwise, like what Danny was saying it’s a lot of soloing but if we set each other up and make this new thing with a format to it, then people can dance inside that new format and that’s improv. We’re now figuring out how to make the improv sound cleaner and more as if it’s composed.
Ben: It’s like cooking a turkey. Slow roast. Then when you pull it out and eat it, it’s like when we’re peaking in a jam.
Danny: The peak is when all of us are peaking and not just one of us is. The whole band at the same time.
Ben: Move as a unit.
What is this unknown future bringing up for you all? Is there a method to the madness?
Danny: Now, we have time to really dial in at the studio and make the sound as good as we can.
Matt: Good time to practice and really get to know your instruments. I’m taking lessons from Magner. Aron Magner (Disco Biscuits) is teaching me how to really move our unit forward. This is a crazy time to be alive, so we just got to embrace it. I think every member of the team should take a lesson from one of the members of the Biscuits.
George: I have one on Friday.
Matt: Wooo, Brownstein special!
George: I’m pretty excited. And this is probably the first time I’ve written new songs in almost a year. So having time has definitely helped.
How can we support you right now?
Matt: We have T-Shirts for sale and buying our music on Bandcamp.
Danny: Listen to our recordings. Let us know how the audio is sounding on the listeners end.
Matt: Get excited about Red Rocks in a couple years!
George: Also, stay inside so that we can have concerts sooner!
Danny: If not I’ll have to find a warehouse for us to have a rave ;p