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Clean getaway: Aron Magner of the Disco Biscuits talks space opera, second Biscoland festival, and reaching new heights on the “Why We Dance” tour

The Disco Biscuits performing at College Street Music Hall in New Haven, Connecticut, on March 14th, 2024.
Tara Gracer / @TaraGracerFoto
The Disco Biscuits performing at College Street Music Hall in New Haven, Connecticut, on March 14th, 2024.

To hear the fully produced piece, including samples of the Disco Biscuits tracks referred to in the text below, hit the play button above.

This is Josh Landes and you’re listening up WAMC. Coming up this hour, a special conversation with keyboardist Aron Magner of the Disco Biscuits.

The trance fusion pioneers are in the middle of one of their biggest tours in their 30-year history ahead of the second Biscoland festival in Upstate New York this July.

“Fans responding and encouraging us, it gives us more confidence to continue to do what we're doing without too much, you know, thinking involved. And we just kind of did it, and it was one of those- It became the bubble of positivity tour, and that's kind of a hyperbole for the time that we were having, but it really describes well exactly the time that we were having. And, you know, it just kept on getting better.”

We’ll talk with Aron Magner about the Biscuits’ “Why We Dance” tour, their new space opera “Revolution In Motion,” and much more.

Since we last checked in with the Disco Biscuits in early 2023, the band has engaged its warp drive and set off on some of its most focused, engaged activity in its almost 30-year history. The Biscuits celebrated a triumphant Icelandic debut last May, inaugurated their new Biscoland festival deep in Upstate New York in October, and released their first studio album since 2011, “Revolution In Motion,” this March. After over 70 performances in 2023, the band’s “Why We Dance Tour” kicked off in January and continues into the summer.

MAGNER: It was our best tour in our 30-year career, perhaps with the exception of the very first tour when we were wide-eyed and traveling the country for the first time and spreading our gospel on every single bar of soapbox that would allow us. But this particular tour was really the culmination of those 30 years- But really what it was was a celebration of the last couple of years of intensive work that we did to kind of take this band up a notch.”

Keyboardist Aron Magner plays in the Biscuits alongside guitarist Jon Gutwillig, bassist Marc Brownstein, and drummer Allen Aucoin.

MAGNER: I think the content that we had to play with for this tour is really the catalyst for what enabled us to have a lot of creative output, a lot of new jumping off points for the improvisation. The band was having a lot of fun exploring this new material, and clearly, the fans were reacting positively- Not just to the improvisation, but to the material as well. So, you were talking about a feedback loop before- That's exactly what it's supposed to be. So, fans responding and encouraging us, it gives us more confidence to continue to do what we're doing without too much, you know, thinking involved. And we just kind of did it, and it was one of those- It became the bubble of positivity tour, and that's kind of a hyperbole for the time that we were having, but it really describes well exactly the time that we were having. And, you know, it just kept on getting better. Even the first part of the ‘Why We Dance Tour,’ which began in January and concluded in mid-March, the very first day of that tour, which was in Lake Tahoe, was an incredible show. And I can't ever remember day one of a run, yet alone day one of the tour, being an incredible show. It's usually, that's where you get your sea legs and everything like that. And then we were playing two nights at this venue in Tahoe, night one was incredible. Comeback night two, also incredible. And I was like, wow, this is going to be a fun tour.”

Night three of the tour saw the Biscuits level San Francisco with a monster version of one of their most beloved jam vehicles, “Mindless Dribble.” Take a listen to the Disco Biscuits live at the Fillmore on January 27th, 2024, and then we’ll get back to Magner.

MAGNER: Now I'm seeing consistency that the Disco Biscuits have never had before, and something that seems to be repeatable enough that it wasn't just a fluke, like, wow, that was a really good show. You know, jam bands, you have good tours, good shows, but you know, not every one is up there. And we were just knocking them down- I mean, talk about touchdowns all day, it was like that throughout the entire tour, and it really gave us the confidence and the positivity to continue to explore with an open mind. What’s also kind of neat, and I was just having this conversation earlier, we have been a band for 30 years now. And some of those years were more arduous than others, but there's like a je ne sais quoi about being in a band for 30 years, in an improvisational band where you're communicating on a level that you just don't have the ability to communicate with unless you've been praying with somebody for 30 years. And most bands can't make it five yet alone 30, so we're kind of like just beginning to tap in and explore this ability to communicate together on this 30-year lifespan, and just really having an incredible amount of fun with that. And it's just, positivity begets positivity, and one foot in front of the other, and next thing we know, we have the most successful tour that we've had our entire careers. So, it felt good.”

Over the course of the “Why We Dance” tour – named after the penultimate track on “Revolution In Motion” – the Biscuits have woven together staples of their catalogue with material from the new album and an increasing pool of new songs so far unattached to any studio release.

The Disco Biscuits celebrated the delivery of their long-anticipated space opera with a special, sold-out show at Webster Hall in New York City on March 29th, the day of the album’s release.

MAGNER: The community is going gaga over what's happening right now. They've been kind of like, waiting for this, and what is amazing- And any Biscuits fan out there that is listening, just thank you so much for your support over the years and the decades to allow us to get to this point. Like I said, there's that feedback loop- They're incredibly excited, they're also giving us this crazy confidence. We were debuting songs from this album that just got released at the end of March, we were debuting those songs six months, 12 months ago, well before they were stage ready. They were kind of just demos off the studio floor, but because of the response that the fan base was giving us to this new music, it allowed us to continue to refine and continue to perform those songs and get them to a point where we felt completely confident with how the songs were progressing. Think about it- Most other bands, you kind of need to very strategically plan when you're going to put in a new song, and you have to surround it by songs that everybody else knows, and kind of just slip it in there and hope that you can repeat that enough times that the new song becomes an old song eventually. This, the fans were loving it right off the bat, and that gave us the confidence to continue to do what we were doing. Like, we knew that we were on the right path. Now that said, I knew we were on the right path since the second that I heard the plot to the space opera. I was like, oh, this is so cool. I am in. I bought all in. Just getting an opportunity to write music to an established story really made for such an easy process to begin to write on a blank canvas, but already having the characters that you're writing about and the story that we're writing about.

WAMC: Well, that's a good opportunity to ask about the Webster Hall record release show for “Revolution In Motion.” I was lucky enough to be there, and it was a really- It was an incredible night for any number of reasons, but I'm fascinated to hear about what it was like heading into that concert where, I'm imagining for the first time in a long time, there wasn't any suspense over what was going to be presented. But I'm fascinated in what conversations there were in pacing, in delivery, and really telling the story as a singular entity- And you guys opened the show with a 25-minute mesmerizing, patient version of “Shocked,” the opener to the space opera. How much conversation went into how you were going to dole out this material, and what it meant to really present it as one piece?

Well, I mean, it's interesting you say that. We went back and forth on this for a year and a half, well before the album was completed. How were we going to present this space opera? It's a very detailed storyline, with wonderful character arcs and subplots and everything like that. So, we did put a lot of thought into what how are we going to present this. Like, it's one thing to have all this information to write the songs to and that might even be enough. But the story is just like so good that we really wanted to be able to have an ability to kind of like display that. So, the first thing that we did was, we hired Blunt Action, who's an animation company, and they helped us bring four chapters. So, we lumped three to four songs into each chapter, and then each video of those four chapters would kind of like tell that synopsis of those individual songs. And we released four of them, and it does tell the story pretty well, and we did repurpose some of those animations for the video screen behind us. But we were going back and forth- Okay, are we going to hire actors? Are we going to tell the story completely in animation? Are we going to have a narrator? We ran through all of these options, and the idea that we came up with was, listen, this is an album release party, and it's also a Disco Biscuits concert. So yes, you're right, it's one of the very few Disco Biscuits concerts where everybody knows what the setlist is going to be in advance from opening to ending, and we wanted it to be at Disco Biscuits performance first and foremost, and we didn't want all these other elements of bringing up actors or crazy productions to kind of distract from that. So, we kind of think that we left the door open for a more precise, story-oriented performance of the space opera sometime in the future. As for now, that record release party, we really wanted to display the songs, the ability to springboard off of any point in the song, including before the song even starts, like you were saying at the beginning of the show, and just kind of have an epic Disco Biscuits performance, that all falls under the umbrella of some of the storyline and let the fans go as deep down the rabbit hole as they want to go before doing some other performance in the future where we really get into the weeds of the story.

Here's a taste of The Disco Biscuits’ record release show at Webster Hall in New York City back on March 29th- An absolutely electric rendition of the anthemic “Who’s In Charge.”

Now, you also took the opportunity to- I have to ask about the keytar solo. Was this something lingering in the back of your mind over the years that you've always wanted to do? Did this come up at the last minute? Walk us through what led to this triumphant moment where you step out from behind the keys and blast out a solo with a keytar strapped proudly across your chest.

I would love to! So, it stems from one of the songs of the space opera called “Spaga’s Last Stand,” and in that part of the story, of the space opera story, the Disco Biscuits are in a venue underneath Times Square and that's why we don't get frozen like the rest of the citizens of Manhattan up above on the surface. And the concert’s over, and I go up and I see the craziness that's going down on the surface. I go down, I tell the band briefly what's going on and that I have a plan. And the band is completely confused by this, but they don't really know what else to do. I grabbed a keytar, right, and the band goes okay, and Allen grabs his drumsticks and Marc his bass and Jon has guitar, and they follow me up the stairs to save the day- And whatever plan I had ends up getting foiled, and that's actually how we get beamed up into the alien spaceship with our instruments, which is a pivotal part of the story because we eventually play our instruments to the aliens, and that's how we win them over. And then we have a song called “The Deal” where we cut a deal with them to let the frozen be free, and so that basically is the premise, that’s “Spaga’s Last Stand,” grab your instruments, go up, uh oh, we got beamed up into the spaceship. And so that instrument that I grabbed, in the animation at least, is a keytar. So, we thought it'd be kind of cool to kind of display that live. And also, why wouldn't any keyboard player want to take full advantage when their band comes to them and says, hey, do you want to get a keytar and rip a keytar solo? I mean, usually, that is not something that is suggested by the band. Usually that's strictly a keyboard player suggestion. So, I took full advantage of that.

Here's Magner stepping forward, keytar in hand to deliver a scorching solo on “Spaga’s Last Stand” at Webster Hall, a song he also sings on the Disco Biscuits’ new album “Revolution In Motion.”

When it comes to sitting back and listening to the record- It's been out now for about a month, you've obviously been deeply enmeshed in this material for months and months and months. What's it like now sitting back and listening to the final product now that you've actually gotten this 70-plus minute space opera into studio form?

You know, what's interesting is, like, and I have said this a lot recently, a record is simply that. It's a record of a moment in time, right? So, when I go back and listen to this- Number one, I've listened to these songs before they came out thousands of times each, constantly, from the writing of it to the mixing of it to the overdubs over on it, a ridiculous amount of time. So, at this point, it really does feel like a relic of the very recent past, right? And, that's kind of why I'm excited to put a stake in the ground there and kind of say this chapter, if you will, is over, and I'm ready to go full tilt into the next chapter.

What's so exciting about what you just said is that the fan base has not only had the opportunity to digest these album tracks over the last couple years, but we're also hearing this brand-new spurt of energy that’s powered songs that feel like they're instant Disco Biscuits classics. “Fire Will Exchange” I feel like is an unmissable song to experience in 2024, you have this collection of instrumentals built up from the last few years like “Evolve” and “M1”-

Yeah, yeah.

 -tracks people really love. What is the next evolution going to be of this set of songs that are sort of out there in this limbo between studio projects and in and around the space opera material?

I mean, there's been discussion of doing some space opera spinoffs. There's one song called “Times Square” which features a fictitious group of misfits called the Bellevue Wrecking Crew, and we thought about doing a spinoff of the Bellevue Wrecking Crew. They only appear in one song of the space opera, but you know, that could kind of bring us to a whole other story and backstory. So, we've been playing around with that. Again, these new songs that have come out since the space opera – “Fire Will Exchange and “Dino Baby” and, you know, whatever the other ones are even called – those will eventually be recorded and released, either as singles or as an album. Or even, you know, we're getting together, me, Jon, and [Disco Biscuits lyricist] Joey [Friedman] are getting together this weekend for four days for our next writing session, and it's a blank canvas right now, which I love. Sometimes I get a little fearful of having a blank canvas and not having a beginning point to kind of like attach to things on to, but I also really like the empty canvas, and you do anything from there, and let's see what sticks and what we want to continue moving forward with. So hopefully, by the next time we talk, we're going to have a plethora of new songs. I don't know whether these five or six songs that came out since the album was released are going to be the next album, or whether the songs we're going to write this weekend are going to be the next album. Whatever it is, the fact that we have this conveyor belt system of writing material now, and we don't put any pressure on ourselves, but we've been really lucky that every time we do get together, because, you know, it takes some planning and scheduling, and Joey is coming in from Colorado, and all of us are freeing up our calendars away from our families so that we can have these crazy 12-, 14-hour days. But, you know, we have something where every time we get together, we end up with a song or the beginning of a song or the potential of what's going to be a song when we get together for another two or three times. And it's just been so rewarding to know that half the battle to getting more content that we're proud of is simply showing up with an open mind- And that's the first step to ensure that we have more material. And now that we have the confidence in ourselves that we can do this on a reasonably fast basis- I don't think anybody is ever rushing anything, but we're never scratching our heads. And that's just going to, you know, again, positivity begetting positivity begetting good contents and the whole thing. So, we're, we're excited, we really are. It feels like we've cracked a code, at least for us, that had been holding us back all these years. Oh, God, everybody lives in different states, it's so hard to get the band together so that we could write or so that we could record, and now we're playing with the handicaps, if you will, that exist just in modern, everyday life, and we're able to figure out how to do the things that we thought were hard obstacles before, and now we're just resilient enough to be able to figure out how to do it and be confident with that.

Here's the Disco Biscuits performing their new track “No Recollection” at the House of Blues in Boston on March 16th, 2024.

In the second half of WAMC’s interview with Disco Biscuits keyboardist Aron Magner, we’ll hear him discuss his newfound love of dropping samples into the band’s live sets, learning to stop worrying and love major key jamming, the second Biscoland, and more. 

Welcome back to WAMC’s special interview with keyboardist Aron Magner of the Disco Biscuits. I’m Josh Landes. We just heard a bit of the band’s sole performance of “Magellan” in 2024 so far from their March 14th show in New Haven, Connecticut, at the College Street Music Hall. In the next part of my conversation with Magner, he explains how sampling has become a crucial tool in his arsenal, one of the darker chapters of the Biscuits’ history, and the upcoming second Biscoland festival in July. Before we get to that, here’s a taste of another new song in the Biscuits’ quiver- “Ring The Doorbell Twice,” performed at the State Theatre in Portland, Maine, on March 16th, 2024.

Another story in 2024 with the Disco Biscuits involves your use of samples and sampling, where suddenly in the midst of a song people know and love, you're throwing on garnishes that we’ve never experienced before- Throwing a little bit of “Jolene” onto “Morph Dusseldorf” in Albany, for example, or putting in cuts of “Red Red Wine” into “Magellan” in New Haven. I’m fascinated- Talk to us about your process in going through what has to be a pretty expansive set of samples, how you're choosing them for the songs, what it brings for you as a performer, and what you're hoping the audience is getting out of it.

Good question. So, yeah, I mean, number one, like all things that we were talking about earlier, the more times that you do something, the better you become at it, the easier it becomes, the faster it becomes, right? So, it never felt like a chore for me on tour. I also never really put too much pressure on myself for making sure that I had different and unique samples every night. I did have a running list that I have for myself that has different ideas, and falling asleep at night, I'm like, oh, God, the David Lee Roth song will be great, and I'll put it on the list. Some of them aren't great, some of them are silly ideas as I'm falling asleep, some of them end up doing great. But for your listeners out there, what I'm basically doing is taking the songs that we all know and love, or even some obscure songs, and I'm using an AI program called Moises, and I'm able to extract the different elements of a song using AI incredibly quickly. So, I put the song in, I tell the AI what instrument I'm looking for to extract, and it will do it pretty well. And then I'll basically take that track, and I'll put it into Ableton, and I'll find the section of the song that is the ear worm, right, or that has a good rhythmic sensibility, or that has a fun harmonic sensibility, maybe one that relates to a Disco Biscuit song- Oh, wow, the chord changes of “7-11” are the same chord changes to this Shaggy song. And that will kind of help me connect the dots. And what I was first doing was letting the band know, like, hey, this is the idea, this is where I think it's going to go, maybe we'll practice it, and maybe we won't. And it got to the point – and I think that this has to do with trust and trust in each other – where I would kind of have a concept of like, oh, this could be fun. Sometimes rap samples will be able to go over anything as long as it's in a tempo range, a lot of times the samples that have more of a melody has to be constricted to something that makes sense harmonically or at least to be able to pitch transpose it to the key of the song that we're in. But I got really good at being able to do that on the fly and not have to tell the band in advance so that everybody can kind of still be in their zone, and then it comes in at the right time, in the right key, and that just kind of like opens up this little door, this little window. Maybe it like legitimizes the jam a little bit more, sometimes it puts us more into the space of an EDM act just by putting a sample in there. So, everything just like feels good, and it's new and it's different and it doesn't mean it's going to be a permanent addition and Disco Biscuits in 2035 is going to have samples all over the place. But for this tour, at least, and probably randomly in the next tour, it's been a lot of fun.

Here's Magner throwing the chorus of Dolly Parton’s immortal ode “Jolene” into the Disco Biscuits classic “Morph Dusseldorf” at Empire Live in Albany on March 15th, 2024.

In Portland, Maine, during the “Basis For A Day” you guys played there, you throw in this “Sidewindah” sample, a track by Gorgon City, that feels like it just sort of elevates the excitement and the build up to this whole other level. I'm interested- What's the vibe on stage when that's happening? Because the crowd was going wild- Does that influence the momentum or the direction of a jam like that?

Of course, of course. I mean, anytime the energy begins to change- Energy down, typically not like a good thing, you know, but then when that energy changes, it's palpable on stage, too, right? And the opposite, which is what we're always trying to achieve, is when the energy level goes up, it just kind of comes and recycles to the band, and then the band gives more energy out to the audience, and the audience receives it and gives more back to the band. I mean, you know, we've been talking about this for 30 years with improvisational music, this symbiotic relationship between audience and band. And that was just another example of it.

This is Magner dropping a sample from Gorgon City’s “Sidewindah” into a performance of the Disco Biscuits’ “Basis For A Day” in Portland, Maine this March.

This has been such a prolific year for you guys. You've really packed so many shows into the first half of 2024, and we're barely hitting festival season proper-


When you look back over it so far, are there any moments that stand out to you from the tour or from these bigger shows that that really sort of feel like things that you're going to file away in the Aaron Magner Disco Biscuits scrapbook?

Things I'm going to file away in the Aron Magner scrapbook- Oh, man, am I at the point in my life where I need to begin scrapbooking?

It probably can't hurt, right?

It's true. It's true. I actually think about that, if like how many posters that I don't take from these concerts because I see hundreds of them, and there are T shirts I don't put into a time capsule box or something like that. But it is very cool when I see like my kids wearing like Disco Biscuits shirts as hand-me-downs. And like, that's exactly what it should be, you know? I don't know. This is a good- It's not just like a good time capsule year. I kind of feel like this is this is a stepping stone year, right? And, you know, like you mentioned, right, we're all 50 or close to 50- I'm the baby of the band, I’m 48. But we have like a different sense of urgency now. I don't know whether that's because we suddenly finally have the content and material that really is driving us forward, or whether it is an age thing, or whether it's, all of us are aligned for the first time in years, right? We've always been forward thinking as a band and individuals and stuff like that. But because of the fact that each of us have families and kids of different ages, everybody is in and out of how forward driven they are with this band, right? Especially pandemic years, everybody got scared, what the hell is happening? What's the point of life? Prior to the pandemic, different band members were kind of like exploring different areas of their talents and what they can do with their talents, and this is kind of the first time, the past year and a half, two years, where all four band members are on the same page, all forward driven, all supporting each other. There's been a lot of emotional growth individually and collectively with the band, and when there's a lot of emotional maturity, it leads for the ability to have more opportunities of creativity or just being able to be [laughs] more positive than we were in the past. And with that positivity comes all the other potential that comes with it.

Yeah, I wanted to ask you about that- I was thinking about, there’s sort of the infamous moment 14 years ago with the “Planet Anthem” release show, which was sort of a controversial moment in the band's history, and one that led to what seemed like a lot of internal soul searching about the trajectory of the band. Was that hanging over you guys at all heading into this other big album release show where you really put your chips on the table and bet on yourselves with new material? Was there anything left from that experience heading into that album release show in March?

I mean, it's interesting, right? The “Planet Anthem” release show did not go as planned, and we definitely spoke about that when trying to figure out how we were going to portray this this album release party. At the end of the day, I think the biggest difference is that when we did the album release party in 2011, or whatever it was for “Planet Anthem,” nobody had heard the songs yet, you know? I don't even think the business model, releasing singles and waterfalling the singles to become an EP, and eventually the EP becomes an album, and you just continue to build on that, I don't even think that that was a model yet. It was just kind of like, hey, we've been working in secret, and we're going to let you know that we have an album that's coming out, and here's the date that you could kind of come see the album live, and it just sort of backfired on us. The fans were unfamiliar with it, they didn't get a chance to sit with the material, make their own judgments, listen to it again, and I think that that was the antithesis of how we released this album, right? Even the official releases, there was, “Who's In Charge” and “Shocked” and “Wormhole, there was four or five songs that we released from this 14-song album a year before the album came out, right, just to kind of like, you know, the carrot on the string a little bit. And the fans became familiar with it both through that as well as by playing the songs in concert. These songs were all debuted in concert well, before the album came out. So, you know, talk about a Grateful Dead model, right? “Touch of Grey” was debuted in like 1982 or something crazy like that, and it wasn’t until ’87 that that became the hit that it became. So that was kind of the model, deliberately or not. We were basically excited to play this material. We were proud of it, we wanted to do something different on stage. Jon was really starting to get down on playing too many songs in a row that made him feel too nostalgic, so having like this new, just having new, something new, it felt good, and it wanted us to continue moving forward with it.

This year, the Disco Biscuits’ summer festival Biscoland will run from July 4th through the 6th in Lafayette, New York at Wonderland Forest. Here’s the band winding their way through an explosive performance of “Bombs” at the debut Biscoland in October 2023.

We're speaking ahead of Biscoland volume two- It's another sort of landmark moment in what's proving to be a very long year for you guys, is this three-night festival, an expansion from last fall's two-night event. Talk to me about this- Heading into the second installation, what did you learn from the first one, what are you hoping to accomplish with the second one, and what should fans look forward to?

Great questions out of you. Well, Biscoland is a Disco Biscuits-centric festival, right, which we've been doing our entire careers, right? It started with Camp Bisco 1999, and Camp Bisco used to be an 800-person festival in year one, we grew it to 1,600 in year two, and you know, all the way up to 25,000 then at its peak. Then pandemic and needing to reset and find new partners and find a new site and stuff like that. So, we kind of decided, rather than put all of our eggs into a Camp Bisco outfit, at least for this year, let's start a new festival. We've been hearing for years and years and years that our fans want a little bit more of a Disco Biscuit-centric festival and not have to be concerning ourselves with slathering on tons of acts because it's a huge festival and multiple stages and everything like that. So, it's definitely a little more homegrown, for lack of a better word, but the site is absolutely amazing. It's on private land, and it was built specifically for a festival. So, during the pandemic, when the promoter acquired the land, he kind of like, on his own, he partnered with some friends and converted however many crazy amounts of acres that this property is and converted it into a festival property. So, he himself was like clearing some lands, laid down $50,000 worth of gravel and grass seed and everything like that to convert it into this spot. And we were one of the first to play it, and kind of fell in love with this property. It had everything that we were looking for, it felt more like a smaller version of Camp Bisco where everything is easily walkable, there's still multiple stages, but they're not huge gigantic fields across from each other to get from stage to stage. So, everything just made complete sense, and we wanted to do a repeat of it for year two and see how we can begin to grow it

Here's another recent Disco Biscuits composition, “Fire Will Exchange,” as performed in New Haven this March.

Something about this new set of songs that's also fascinating are these big, major chord moments, these huge, swelling climaxes where- You know, some folks, when you think of the Disco Biscuits, you think of things as alien and serpentine as the “Caterpillar” riff or something like that. But now we have songs that start off menacing and minor key like “One Chance To Save The World” that ultimately blossom into these sort of triumphant musical moments. From your perspective, creatively, artistically, talk to me about that experience of growing into these big, sort of stadium-filling moments for the band.

You know, I just think it's kind of like trying on something new. There hasn't been anything deliberate there. We have talked as a band that we do tend to lean more minor. Maybe the jams are more fun for us, or maybe we just, that's the way we've been leaning, so that's what feels more comfortable for us. We certainly have major jams, but we've been deliberately trying to create different opportunities for ourselves musically, and one of those is knowing that we do tend to lean more minor, and what would happen if we try and lean more major? So, that doesn't mean completely change who we are, it doesn't mean play an entire show with major jams, though that could be a good idea- But it means sometimes we specifically say, hey, we're going to do this one in like a major, very, like, ethereal type of vibe. And that has definitely opened up lots of new opportunities for us. Though we are improvisational band with plenty of songs, we have been finding a lot of ground for when we talk about the flow of the set in advance, right? So, not to say that things are pre-planned as much as we insert different ideas that could end up being possibilities for ideas in a jam, and we talk about that before we get on stage.

Here's the climax of “One Chance To Save The World,” a track off the Disco Biscuits’ new studio album and space opera “Revolution In Motion” performed at Webster Hall in New York City on March 29th, 2024.

Now, it seems like the band is really living the dream right now. What else is on the docket as far as things you want to accomplish? I know you were just in Las Vegas for the Phish Sphere shows, that must have been a very special, inspiring experience-

It certainly was.

What's left on the Biscuits bucket list that you're excited to accomplish in the next 30 years of the band?

Exactly. Honestly, it's that. It's like, if this is still a band in 30 years, then we're still doing something right, right? You know, the fact that we've been a band for 30 years, we've already been doing something right. Very, very few bands get to be able to say that. So, listen at this point, like, yes, I have goals, dreams, aspirations, but I mainly am filled with gratitude that I'm able to continue to do what I love to do for a living with this project, which enables me to also get creative reward from playing in other projects. And I just want to keep on doing this and keep on being happy and keep on having creative moments, keep on having collaborative moments. I think that's one of the biggest takeaways for me of 2023 and 2024, is this new sense of collaboration that this band has, which, has obviously, you know, our band has collaborated in the past, but not to the extent that we've been leaning into it for the last couple of years of content creation. So as long as I'm happy and continuing to put out good content that I'm proud of, then whatever happens next, I welcome.

To wrap things up, here’s a soaring version of “Sister Judy's Soul Shack” by The Disco Biscuits performed in Portland, Maine in March.

You’ve been listening to WAMC’s special interview with keyboardist Aron Magner of the Disco Biscuits. The second installation of their Biscoland festival in Lafayette, New York runs from July 4th to July 6th.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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