Red Rocks season is in full swing, highlighting some of the best and most entertaining acts anyone would care to see. We’ve already made it up for a few notable shows, but the best outdoor venue in America still has so much in store, including a showing from Colorado-based folk outfit Elephant Revival.

We’re planning on being in those legendary stands this Sunday, but before we head out there, we thought it would be great to get to know this homegrown band a little bit better. So, we fired off a few choice questions to Daniel Rodriguez, who sings, and plays bass, banjo, and guitar.

TMN: Thanks for taking some time to sit down with us ahead of your first ever headlining show at Red Rocks. Let’s talk about that for a second. As a Colorado-based band, what does this mean to you guys?

ER: It truly is a great honor to be headlining Red Rocks. As a Colorado-based band, it means that the people who have been with us since the beginning can share in this experience with us. To have this world-class and incredibly epic venue in our backyard is a true gift. To be connected as we are to the Colorado music community—coming up through the jams and small venues, to now headlining Red Rocks—sure means a lot!

TMN: This performance closes out a pretty hefty tour in support of your recently released album, Petals. How has the reception been so far?

ER: The reception of our new material and all of the new sounds has been great. It's funny because when Bonnie picks up the cello, Charlie gets on the pedal steel, and I get on a drum, our fans become exposed to a sound that we have never produced live before. On tour, we found a balance of playing material off of our past records as well as off the new record. Intertwining both really helped people to welcome in the new. Mostly, I think people are mesmerized by how many instruments Bonnie can play. And then she sings, and how could that ever not be well received?

TMN: The album is phenomenal, by the way. The procession from start-to- finish was beautifully crafted. Did you write the album with a solid storyline in mind, or is this more so a collection of songs arranged in a specific order?

ER: Many folks have pointed out that they feel this is a conceptual album—that each song is one part of a larger story that the whole album tells. I'm shocked to realize that it does seem like a conceptualized album, because that's not what we set out to do. We just picked the songs that we and our producer were most excited about. Though it wasn't a conscious thing, perhaps it is a mystical thing that it came out sounding so cohesive.

TMN: In a world of singles, playlists, and short musical attention spans, how did you maintain focus to put together an extremely cohesive piece? 

ER: I think it was easy for us because we love albums. We all love listening to albums from front to back. It seems, at least to me, that a lot of our fans share that same love for albums. Another contributing factor is that we are always writing. There's a backlog of many songs that have never been heard, and many, many new songs that are itching to be finished. Because there are so many, choosing more than a dozen that sound cohesive is not so hard. The hardest thing is considering which songs to leave off. 

TMN: We’re based in Colorado, so it’s always great to see home state acts experience success. Talk to us about your roots here? How did you guys come together and how has living in this state fostered your development as a band?

ER:  Colorado seemed like a great middle point where we could all move to and start working on music. Except for Bridget Law who is the only Colorado native. But everybody else moved here from other places of upbringing under the auspices that this was the new frontier. It all had a sense of starting from scratch. The band really grew out of the Nederland jam and local pick scene. We could work on our chops at local picks where people from Leftover Salmon, String Cheese Incident, and Yonder Mountain String Band might also be. So in a lot of ways, those guys were our mentors. The fact that they were so intertwined in the community helped us dream as big as they were dreaming and helped us see the nuts and bolts of it all. There are so many lovers of music here in Colorado and so many great venues and bands that music has become one of the biggest cultural aspects of Colorado. This makes us feel so very welcome and very much at home.

TMN: You guys are based in Nederland, which is a great little mountain town just west of Boulder, for those who aren’t familiar with it. Do you feel like immersed in nature helped influence your sound?

ER: I think, wherever you are writing music, the spirit of place has a profound influence on what you are writing. It also has influence on how the music will sound. A lot of our material has been written here in the Colorado Rockies above Boulder. So yes, the incredible pine trees, the aspen groves, the extreme weather, the brisk mountain streams, and the howling winter winds…all the facets of nature up and around Nederland has had a great influence on our experience, which then seeps into our writing.

TMN: You seem to draw on a few different genres in your music. Who are some of your biggest influences? 

ER: When we first started as a band, our biggest influence was ThaMuseMeant.They don't play anymore and it may be tough to find their records. If you can find them, I highly recommend picking one up. They were a band that featured both male and female vocals, male and female writing, and their sound was intoxicating. We strongly identified with that sound and actually had one of the members of that band produce our first two records—David Tiller.

TMN: What does the rest of 2016 look like for you guys?

ER: 2016 is filled with a bunch of surprises that we can't announce just yet. Other than that, marinating in the inspiration, playing shows, and taking in the dynamic seasons.

TMN: At the end of each interview, we like to ask a few non-music questions for fun. Since we’re both Coloradans, these are all focused on the Centennial State. If you could spend a week camping anywhere in Colorado, where would you set up at?

ER: Probably in the mountains above Buena Vista, so that you can get proper forest time and then head down to the hot springs. Seems like a great week to me!

TMN: Favorite spot for green chile?

ER: I'd have to say the chile starts getting better the further south you go in Colorado. Must be a climate thing. Though up north in Longmont, there is a little family-owned mom and pop shop called El Taquito that has really, really good green chile.

TMN: Best brewery?

ER:  This is a tough question to answer because there are so many great breweries here in Colorado. But I will name the Mountain Sun and The Southern Sun because they have always made great beer from the cauldron straight to your pint glass, and they have always nourished the local music scene.

TMN: What’s one thing you wished the rest of the world knew about Colorado?

ER:  That there is this amazing event happening at an amazing venue called Red Rocks on May 22.

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