Rubblebucket is the name of a band that you have to say out loud.  The next person you see, I dare you, just go up to them and say, "Rubblebucket!"  The band's name is fun to say, and seems to excellently encompass the attitude and sound of the band it represents.  Rubblebucket is a eight-piece based in Brooklyn and they are coming to the Bluebird this Friday with Reptar.  Two great band names.  I talked to Kalmia Traver, lead singer and saxiphone player for Rubblebucket about touring, music-making and what she thinks about Denver.  Rubblebucket just released a new EP, Oversaturated, and started touring last week, criss-crossing the country with a few dates in the Midwest and our neck of the woods and then ending with a long east coast stretch.

Traver has been touring and playing music since she graduated from the University of Vermont five years ago where she studied music and joined the reggae band John Brown's Body.  What started as a side project, Rubblebucket was initially a collaboration between Traver and her partner Alex Toth and now is an eight-person ensemble with a full range of instruments that including decent horn section.  The band makes fun, energetic music and are known to dress up, get painted and dance.

Rubblebucket will be playing with Reptar at the Bluebird Theater this Friday September 14.  Doors are at 8 PM and the show starts at 9 PM; ages 16 and up are welcome.  Read more about the show on the Bluebird's website here.

CE:  So the tour is starting in Vermont, and you went to college in Vermont, right?
KT:  Yes.  It's a different college.  There's a lot of small little colleges out there.  My friend is a Math teacher at the college we are going to be playing at but, no I went to the University of Vermont which is a big state university.

CE:  What is it like touring with so many instruments?  There's a lot of things listed on your Facebook page.
KT:  Well it's a lot of people that play the instruments, too.  The instruments all stay in the trailer, and they're really heavy -- we have to lad them in and out every night.  But I mean the guys are great, the guys who are musicians.  There are eight of us but we've been together, this exact line-up, for almost two years now.

CE:  Since there is so many of people and instruments, is it hard to keep track of it all?
KT:  Alex lost his trumpet one time at a show, and another time our old guitar player like when he was loading the trailer just left his guitar out on the street.  And we drove away and it was gone forever - so sad.

CE:  But I'm guessing you don't let that hold you back because you'd rather be playing with all the instruments?
KT:  Yeah I love it, it's fun.  When I'm working on my own music at home, I need a big pallet.  I have a bunch of instruments of my own that I use when I'm recording music.

CE:  So you guys were in Denver back in April, and will be back [this] week.  Do you like playing in Denver, or Colorado in general?
KT:  Yeah, actually we were in Denver just last month, too.  We flew out there for a little street festival, Old South Pearl.  Denver, I like it.  It's an interesting mix; I've seen a lot of social scenes around the country and Denver has a lot of good, really awesome music lovers.

CE:  How long have you been playing music, and what's your musical background?
KT:  I have been playing my whole life, since I was a little girl.  I've always sang everywhere I went.  I didn't join chorus when I was in school, because it seemed silly to me and I really wanted to play sax.  But I was a singer as soon as I could talk.  I would walk around my yard and hum to the flowers and make little melodies.  In college, always in my hardest moments I would climb to the top of this tree and sing to myself.  It has always been the way I calm myself down.  I studied music in college, and I've been touring ever since, I feel like thats where I've learned my biggest lessons about music.  Just being thrown into it, and being on the road.  Having to work with people on the fly.

CE:  How does the creative process work with all the band members in Rubblebucket and it being a full-time job?  Your touring and releasing albums back-to-back, it seems.
KT:  We've done a lot writing on the road.  The way the song comes out is basically we throw them into the mix and play them live.  Everyone gets a feel for their certain parts, or changes them however they want to and that's how we get new songs together.  And that's almost always true but we've also experimented with writing in the studio, or for the studio, and that's how our single "Oversaturated" came about.  We started out with a little scrap and then our base player Jordan wrote something and Alex arranged it and we recorded it from scratch in the studio.  And I think that's an exciting process for us that we are looking forward to exploring more.

CE:  Do you think it's easier to write new songs while you're touring or harder?
KT:  Harder.  Definitely.  Absolutely.  [Touring] makes it easier to play and rehearse, but the actual writing almost always happens away from the band, away from everything, on a laptop in my room or with Alex.  People have a concept of [touring] as being zen/peace time or you're doing this big road trip.  There almost zero down-time; maybe you'll have twenty minutes, but it's so split up and you never have time to dig into anything creative except for short little projects.  I learned that the hard way over time.  It's better to structure your time so you have a big chunk of it after the tour where you can just be creative and not worry about driving all around the world with bands and people.

CE:  Rubblebucket wasn't a stranger to the summer festival scene - how did you like it?
KT:  It was so fun.  This was my favorite festival summer so far, and we have been playing festivals for years, and the bigger they get, the more fun it is.  I'm excited for [our upcoming spot playing at] Hardly, Strictly Bluegrass; I've heard very good things from reliable sources.  But we played Bonnaroo this year and High Sierra; those were two of the best festival experiences for me.  It's so amazing to be brushing shoulders with artists who I really admire and share the stage with them.  And I also think the festival spirit of everyone wearing glitter and facepaint . . . I really liked that.  I took the opportunity this summer to paint everyone's faces whereever I went and it was so fun.  Unfortunately now that fall is rolling around I'm thinking it may be inappropriate to go around with glitter all over my body, but I might try to keep it going.

CE:  My last question had a little something to do with dressing up and facepaint.  I'm really excited about Halloween coming up, and I thought I'd ask if you had any thoughts about your costume this year.
KT:  I don't know why, but for some reason it always trips me up.  I get dressed up every night, and whenever Halloween rolls around . . . actually having to go out of the way and find a cool costume seems so hard. . . In the past I've always had really great Halloween costumes and loved it, but when you're on the road all of your possessions have to be so highly organized so throwing in a Cleopatra wig or some leiderhosen -- all of a sudden you have so much more stuff you have to deal with.  That's not me saying I'm not going to do it.  Last year I wore this shirt and painted my whole body the same color as the shirt and Alex went as just a girl.  We'll throw it together at the last minute.

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