Interview: Carolina Chocolate Drops’ Dom Flemons
Things are looking up for those of us camping out here in the DMBC media tent. A pleasant breeze is blowing, someone just brought me a vodka and cranberry —which was actually meant for another journalist in a straw bowler hat— and I just got to talk to the eminent multi-instrumentalist and banjo extraordinaire, Dom Flemons from the Carolina Chocolate Drops, who had just wrapped up playing at the festival.
So, can you tell me a little bit about how your group developed that awesome sound I just heard?
This is kind of a new group. [These] are two new members here, Hubby Jenkins [mandolin, banjo] and Adam Matta [beatbox]. The original group was Rhiannon Giddens and myself. We started up after a thing called Black Banjo Gathering in 2005.
Well, your performance was amazing, how did it feel from stage?
It felt good. It was a quick set. Like I said, we’re still a new configuration [and] we haven’t done many festival shows yet. So, it was kind of new thing to have to pack it into a really short set.
How long did they give you?
It was 45 minutes. We’ve been doing [a lot of] 90-minute set shows. So it was kind of a new thing. But it felt good and the people seemed [happy.]
There was a lot of dancing going on…
That’s one of the main things [to] our music, it’s dance music. That’s a really big part of our set.
Are you going to be in town for the duration for the festival? When’s your next show?
Our next show is going to be Owensboro Kentucky. So unfortunately, we got to get back to Philly, jump on a plane, go to Nashville and drive over to Owensboro tomorrow for another festival called Romp. So that’s where we’re going to be next. Next day, we’re gong to drive back to Nashville [and] start recording on our next album.
Did you play any songs just now from your forthcoming album?
Yeah, we did one called “No Man’s Mama” and another one called “Rum Mountain.” I think that was it in the new set.
— Tamara deMent