Elijah Jones and Wes Hoffman, two of the musicians in the five-piece band The Constellations, are touring machines. Not only are they playing the entire Warped Tour, but their hip-hop, rock n roll band spends a majority of the year traveling from city-to-city playing shows. In an interview at the Pomona Warped Tour, the reveal their secret to this fast paced lifestyle: a sense of humor and alcohol.
What do you find yourself doing in between shows?
Wes: We actually went to a national park when we were in Colorado. When we’re out east we go to bars.
Elijah: The country is so beautiful out here.
Warped is an amazing opportunity to see the country, as grueling as it may be.
Elijah: Yeah, I mean, we’ve been on 7 week tours before. They usually don’t involve a 10 pm load out and at 8 am load in, and we are usually driving ourselves.
Do they still decide the set time just hours before the doors open?
Wes: Yeah, man. No one knows when they are going to play until late in the day.
Elijah: It’s a circus, man.
You guys have a very unique sound. What influences the music you make?
Elijah: I’ve been listening to a lot of folk for this new record. It’s kind of my thing.
Wes: We’re from the south, so a lot of blues, soul, and hip-hop.
Elijah: Every great American music has come from the south.
I’ve caught some great blues bands lately that absolutely reignited my interest. There are some amazing things coming out of blues today.
Elijah: Absolutely. That’s where rock n’ roll started.
What other bands here are you into?
Wes: Champagne Champagne is the shit! I saw them for the first time in Salt Lake City and we’re going to try to work together.
Elijah: The same bands who play on our stage are the ones who we’ve bonded with the most.
Wes: The Green is great as well. It’s weird to see three people in a band who can all sing lead vocals. And I love reggae, so it’s good to see some reggae out there.
Yeah, the diversity here at Warped Tour is really eclectic now.
Wes: I would like to see some of these bands play other stages, if only to confuse some of the kids.
So, the set times are decided daily, but your stage is always the same?
Elijah: Yep. So it’s a little controlled chaos.
Wes: Isn’t that an oxymoron?
Elijah: I mean, there are 90 bands on this tour. If that’s not chaotic I don’t know what is.
Wes: I love our stage. I’ve tried to wander off and check out some other stages, but our stage has a good energy.
All bands have their own unique energy, don’t they?
Wes: Totally! I think that’s what the crowd responds to most.
Elijah: I’m a big fan of melody and lyrics. It’s nice to actually know what you’re saying.
Tell me about your new record.
Elijah: “Do it for Free”! It cover a couple different aspects. The little man being trampled on, being looked over. It’s a statement about politics and how we function as a band. The artist is the last person to see any kind of financial gain from what we do. You can either be really bitter about it or say “fuck it” and do it for the love of it. We’re not necessarily giving an answer to the problem, we’re just pointing out that there is an issue.
Wes: It’s an issue in America. The people that are the salt of the earth trample on the people who serve your food and they continue to get trampled on while the rich get richer. At some point in time we need to figure out that the majority of us are getting fucked. There are more of us than there are of them, so let’s take this shit back. Burn it down.
Be it folk or hip-hop or punk, the message of the counter culture is immortal.
Elijah: Don’t get us wrong, we like to have a good time. Oh, we definitely like to have a good time, but we also party with our eyes open.
How hard do you think it is for artists to make money from their creations today?
Wes: Well, to this younger crowd walking around, I would say that your dollar is your vote, you know? If you’re sick of Justin Bieber and the Top 40, then buy a record you believe in. That goes back to “Do it for Free.”
Elijah: We’ll do it regardless. Do it for the art.
I think that’s what we’re seeing a return to now that music production utensils have become so easily accessible. Anyone can sit down and make a track or-
Elijah: Or a dubstep remix of “Tip Toe Through the Garden”
Wes: We’re actually working on a cover of that.
[Everyone bursts out laughing. Elijah starts singing “Tip Toe Through the Garden.]
What amazing things do you have in store for the rest of your Warped Tour dates?
Elijah: We’re just going to keep hammering it. We have 30 minute sets and a whole mountain of music to go through.
Wes: We would really like to help promote some of the other bands on our stage. We’re talking to a couple of the guys and we’re thinking of doing collaborations where we have them up on stage with us.
What are your dream collaborations?
Wes: I want Cee Lo and Tom Waits.
Elijah: A cover of “If Drinking Don’t Kill Me” by George Jones.
Wes: Stevie Wonder!
Elijah: Ray Charles!
Wes: I don’t know, man. Anyone. Whatever.
When did “Do it for Free” come out?
Wes: We did a CD release in Atlanta, then woke up hungover as shit and packed for Warped Tour.
Elijah: So Warped Tour is our summer-long, album release party.
Do you have any videos coming out for this new album?
Wes: We have a video coming out called “Side by Side,” which is a ballad. We’ve also got “After Party” coming out, which is a debaucherous mess. It starts in church and ends in hell. They should be out in a couple weeks.
Any plans after Warped Tour?
Elijah: Yeah, we’ll have something in store.
Wes: In 2010 we played over 300 shows. Last year we were pushing 200. This year is the same way.
Where can people find your music?
Wes: Anywhere and everywhere!
Elijah: What is the website, man?
Wes: Oh, um www.theconstellationsmusic.com
Elijah: Our website has links to our facebook and instagram and everything.
Have you gotten some good instagram shots while on tour so far?
Elijah: Yeah, actually, Fuse TV just published one of them. It was at an after party in Vegas.
Wes: I was not aware of that.
Elijah: Yeah, it was some Irish themed party with accordions and girls wearing those big dresses, dancing and spinning around. I took a picture of that and they published it.
Sounds like Warped treats you very well.
Wes: We are treated exceptionally here.
Elijah: We love musicians and we love hanging out with musicians. We love seeing where other people are coming from and if we can sneak a conscious word in there where we can, awesome. Warped is the perfect place to get 100 bands together. You’ve got to see eye to eye with someone.
Wes: There is definitely a sense of comradely between all of the musicians and crew.
Elijah: We picked up a couple of stragglers along the way. They were stranded, their van broke down, so we helped them out. The show must go on.
Anything you want to say to your fans?
We love you and thank you for supporting our music.