Tweed’s music can be described just as the fiber they’re dedicated to: a catalogue of material woven into one colorful work that has a tendency of keeping us warm when utilized. Okay, maybe their uses are a tad bit different—you’d most likely be stripping off your tweed jacket or chucking that souvenir Scottish cap across the venue trying to cool down from the kind of heat Tweed’s music cooks up.
AJ DiBiase (guitar), Jon Tomczak (synth & keys), Joe Vela (drums), and Dan McDonald (bass) work together as a rhythmic Rumpelstiltskin, spinning their grooves into intergalactic gold. Wielding their respective wheels, improvisational jams are woven with funk breakdowns, and their trademark Tweed is flossed right before the crowd’s eyes.
Road tripping from their birthplace of University of Delaware, Tweed started their break into the bill at the late Blockley Pourhouse in Philadelphia. Since, the funk quartet has committed themselves to building Tweed, the jam scene encompassing, and their festival SENSORiUM all within the hub of brotherly love. To them Philadelphia is not only home, but the mothership of the East Coast—scattered with cities in each direction. Take it from the guys who are just coming off a seriously stacked tour.
When I spoke with Tweed they were wrapping up twenty-five shows in the matter of five and a half weeks—including ten shows with Israel’s G-Nome Project, and still amidst their own curated 8×10 residency in Baltimore.
“Pigeons Playing Ping Pong did this same residency four years ago. Turkuaz did the same residency four years ago…so it’s a huge nod of faith and confidence [to us] from Abigail, who runs The 8×10 and is a curator of music herself,” Vela said.
The bustling Spring schedule is more of a vacation from the studio for Tweed. Recently signed to Philly’s Creep Records, they’ve been working on their new album under the label since last year.
“We were just hustling to get it out by April, but we felt like well we shouldn’t be rushing it towards the end of the process,” DiBaise said.
Although it may come as a “speedbump” to the completion of the album, the tour has helped them reshape their material—giving them a chance explore and capture what is meant to be laid out on the track—because “everyone has a little different vision for what [they] want for a song.”
“Every time we go to the studio it feels one step forward two steps back,” Vela explained. “We’re kind of at 75% right now, and that last 25% probably takes the most amount of time—finishing songs, putting on the final touches, and dialing in sounds. It’s a learning process…and we want to do it the right way because you only get one chance to release an album. These songs are just a snapshot moment in time, but they are hopefully going to live out for at least a few years to come.”
Moves is being recorded at Brooksound Productions, the same solar-powered studio as their first EP, The Chunky Life. Throughout their process Tweed has called on the help of local friends, including Jesse Miller of Lotus, “who’s feedback and guidance has pushed [the band] towards [their] finish line.”
So far 2018 holds a big tour and big album, which can only mean one other thing: turning up the heat on SENSORiUM.
SENSORiUM is Tweed’s vision of a Philadelphia day festival. Their first endeavor into the event last year was a wild success, and they’re “shooting for way bigger in every aspect.” Their new location, The Ukie Club in Northern Liberties, is set to hold a capacity of three thousand partiers, but that’s not where the vision stops.
“We want to grow the festival,” Tomczak explained, “but in the future instead of just growing that one [Philadelphia] event, I would rather see this expand into a traveling show. We can throw SENSORiUM parties across the country in different cities, and we can do this multiple times a year [with these] events.”
Some ideas include a Winter Wonderland, and a “SKATESORiUM” Roller Disco.
You didn’t think I parted this discussion without asking about their notorious Bag and Tag, did you?
Johnny Brenda’s staff and attendees got more than what they bargained for in Tweed’s April show. It all started 10 years ago when Tomczak shaved his head and then never cut (or brushed it again), forming what some would consider 10-point dreadlocks. Fast forward another 10 years to the show, where Tomczak and his “trustee personal lumberjack” had planned an unforgettable goodbye.
Only those actually at that late April show may know the true magic behind this story.
Tomczak’s mother was in the crowd that night. In regards to the locs, she held a common mom opinion: her affection only reached as far as the fact that they were attached to a son she loves. As this was discovered by the crowd, Mama Tomczak was ushered to the stage, and—having no prior knowledge of the stunt—she was given the honor of cutting off the last one.
Also be on the lookout for the SENSORiUM lineup drop and updates as the summer rolls on!