[Interview] The Werks: Werkin', twerkin', and everything in between.


By Liz Turcotte March 15, 2016

The Werks are a solid jam band who have been playing together since 2005. No one can deny their talent, they were the most searched band within Jam Magazine in 2012, beating out Phish. Their fourth album, "Inside a Dream," was released late last year. We caught up with Rob Chafin (drums/vocals) and Dan Shaw (keyboard/vocals) last week to chat about their upcoming summer tour, adapting to a new band member and the new album.

Although the band has been playing together for over a decade, you guys rose to fame pretty quickly. What can you attribute to that success?

Rob: Obviously a large part of it has been the fans and friends. Everyone associated with the music scene has been so supportive from the beginning. Without them we would be nowhere. For example, when we first started coming to Atlanta we instantly found an Atlanta crew that has been supporting us, we’ve been pretty equipped down there because of it. We have a lot of hard Werkers in Atlanta We were blessed with such an amazing fan base and consider everyone friends of ours. We’re very blessed to be in the situation we’re in.

The Werks 1
The Werks 1

How you would describe the genre, psychedelic dance rock, essentially created by The Werks, to someone on the street.

Rob: A mixture of classic rock, straight up rock 'n' roll, blues, the dance sensibility of funk and electronic music and everything in between. The overarching “dance music” can be anything, mixed in with a lot of “jamming.” We try to bring all of that together. Some people compare us to Phish, some people compare us to STS9. It’s funny how we touch a {wide} variety of the jam scene.

The Werk Out Festival, great name by the way, was founded in 2010. How has it grown over the years? Is there anything new fans can expect this year?

Rob: This is our seventh year, we’re very excited. We’re grown exponentially from the beginning until now. It started out as a party with all of our friend's bands that we toured with on the road, all through the regions, and brought them all to one place. We’ve expanded from there to now we have people coming nationally and internationally, from all over the country and the world. It’s really cool because it started as something so small, and now looking at it where it is at today. We have still have a bunch of surprises. Stay tuned kids.

The Werkout Festival 2016
The Werkout Festival 2016

The band’s fourth album, "Inside a Dream," came out late last year. Tell us about putting out a full-length album these days and the work that goes into it.

Rob: A lot of things have changed in the music industry over the years. It used to be that bands would get record deals, record, and then sometimes tour because record sales were such a big part of the musician and band's income back in the day, pre-master days. But now after the master boom, people stopped buying albums and it shifted from album making to more live touring and live shows for the way for bands to make income. It’s almost as if albums nowadays are an expensive business charge in order to continue touring. We looked at it, with this album, as let’s do it the way they used to do it back in the classic rock era. Really dig deep and try to make a concept album, something you want to listen to start to finish. The "dream theme" is recurrent throughout the album, and it flows together with a dreamy feel. We wanted to put out something similar to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” Bands don’t really do that anymore, put out an album versus a collection of songs. This was something we were trying to bring back with “Inside a Dream.”

The first single off of the album “Drop” is super funky and dancetastic, what energized this inspirational song?

Dan: Drop is about a couple of different things. The main kind of theme is psychedelic influence. Numerous sleepless nights are what inspired the song due to certain psychedelic influences. That was one of the most driving forces more than anything else.

Rob: Maybe the quote of the song is “expanding your mind.” {pauses} You’re not like a Christian based publication are you? {We all shared a laugh}


The band’s bassist, Dino, decided to sit out the winter tour which led to Jake Goldberg stepping up to take his place. How has this affected the band’s dynamic?

Dan: Songs that we’ve been playing for a bit, with someone new there’s fresh perspective on the tunes. It’s been pushing us to revisit and reinvent playing songs we’ve been playing for a while. Jams been exciting and it’s always new and exciting to redefine your rolls and your position. A lot of fresh jams, a lot of new territory we’re expanding. Jake just being a different position, and different player in general, is forcing us in different directions which are fun, exploratory and experimental.

What are you most excited about for the rest of 2016?

Rob: Aside from the Werk Out Festival, we’re very excited to get back to Atlanta and the southeast in the spring. We’re looking forward to summer festival season across the country, all the way from California to Pennsylvania and in between. I love Summer Camp, it’s a favorite for a lot of people.

The Werks are taking the stage with Consider the Source and BIG Something at Terminal West this Friday, March 18. 

Get your tickets here.More info here.