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Brooklyn, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Brooklyn, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Rock Jam


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Sprocket Played The Craziest Phish After-Party"

Brooklyn’s Sprocket played what must have been New York’s craziest Phish after party after the Saturday gig. A packed out Spin in Manhattan was an essential pit stop on the way home from Randall’s Island as the quartet raged through their best set yet.

We look up to Phish as paving the path that we ultimately want to travel down, so seeing them do what they do so well, and in our own backyard, is always an inspiring,” said bassists Dan Haller. Phish played three nights at Randall’s Island, so this was a huge opportunity for the band to play to an enthused group of similarly-minded people.

The energy was fantastic. I think one of the best things about Phish is that people leave their shows feeling energized. So when a room full of people who have just been pumped full of positive energy show up for a Sprocket show, it’s going to be a damn good time for everyone,” said Haller.

The band, best known for their face-melting guitars and quirky song-writing, impressed many out-of-towners at the gig. Patrons I spoke with came from Atlanta, Denver and, presumably, everywhere in between.

I think it’s important for Phish-heads to hear Sprocket because we embrace the same principles of music. I think at our core, Sprocket (and Phish) believe in freedom of expression, and find that freedom readily in musical composition and improvisation. It’s what makes each show special, both for those playing and those dancing. We’ve grown up getting those special experiences from Phish and many other bands, and that’s what we’re trying to deliver to those we are lucky enough to call fans of our music.”

While the Phish after-show wasn’t recorded, you can head over to Sprocket’s YouTube account to download some shows and hear some tunes. Their full-length debut, Tropical Bushwick, is also available in iTunes and on YouTube. - Dubera.com

"Long Live Jambands: Three Types (and 16 Examples) Of Bands Keeping The Jam Torch Burning"

Sprocket. New York City — once a hotbed of jam culture — has seemingly moved on from incubating jambands of note. Enter Sprocket. I’m not gonna lie, some of their songs from Tropical Bushwick make me cringe. They are that obviously gunning for jamband acceptance. If these guys could step aside, take in some of the non-jamband influence that is all around them in NYC, the talent is there to steer the energy of that great city into the next great Big Apple jamband. Don’t believe me? Check out their track on the playlist below and fasten your seatbelt. - thebarnpresents.com

"In Gear: Sprocket Rising"

Rootsy improvisational acts and song-stretching livetronica groups crowd marquees these days, leaving a bewildered chunk of the jam band fan base out in the cold. Sure, a raucous mandolin solo gets the blood flowing every now and then. Sure, the infinite melding of computers, synthesizers and traditional instruments sounds lovely. But what of rock? Where are disciples of that old time religion supposed to go when Appalachian hullaballoo grows tiresome, when prolonged beats test the last frayed nerve? One could settle for prog or funk-based chimeras, ignoring the true sanctuary beckoning in the form of Sprocket, the up-and-coming answer to many a desperate prayer.

Sprocket is an unabashed throwback to the classic jamband. Imbued with the playfulness of early Phish, the Brooklyn-based quartet emphasizes fun, diving headlong into bouncy covers of Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome” and the Beatles’ “Ob-la-di-ob-la-da.” But don’t be fooled. The Sprocket sound goes beyond sweet fluff. A helping of New York City grit balances the band’s humorous side, ensuring equal measures of happy-go-lucky pluckiness and faintly punkish barroom soul. Originals like “Womp” and “The Glen” exhibit this satisfying duality, infusing light-hearted whimsy with raw electric power.

Founded in 2011, Sprocket has made its mark in the Big Apple, performing at numerous area clubs and bars. The Bitter End hosts an ongoing Sprocket residency, a spirited and successful run by all accounts.

Sprocket sat down to discuss a range of topics, including the recording of the band’s highly anticipated debut album, due to drop on March 1st.

What’s Sprocket’s collective mission and musical outlook? (If, in fact, you share one.)

Thomas Tompkins (guitar): I believe the band’s collective mission is to make the best music we possibly can that we believe in. My personal mission and outlook is to create something beautiful yet ugly, raunchy yet smooth. Live music has always been a huge part of my life, and anyone else who’s into live music knows what it’s like to reach a Zen-like sate of blissful happiness derived from sound. It’s interesting that we humans are programmed to enjoy vibrations of air, and through the interactions of different wavelengths we may perceive consonance, dissonance, ecstasy… a plethora of emotions. Music is my sacred safe place and my musical outlook is to be able to convey and share different things music makes us all feel with as little restriction between my brain and the guitar as possible. Easier said than done, of course, but that’s what I’m after.

Angelo Miliano (piano): When an audience member screams “Melt my face!” I hope we can achieve that for that one fan. For me, it’s always been about finding the story within a song and sharing that. In addition, creating music that I not only enjoy listening to, but enjoy sharing and have the best time playing.

Lately fans have noticed a tightening, an increased cohesiveness. Is Sprocket becoming more disciplined, more connected?

Dan Haller (bass/vocals): I think what people are responding to is the fact we are realizing that we really love the music we’re making and that makes us want to put more time into getting even better. We have always loved to play music individually, but I don’t think that any of us have ever been in a band where we love the group effort so much. It makes us want to fit in an extra rehearsal on a random weeknight, or go to the studio to hang out instead of going to a bar on Friday night. We just love playing the music we’re playing and hopefully that shines through to the crowd. Connectedness is also something you cannot fake. It takes hours upon hours spent jamming with each other to develop the trust necessary to play the music that we’re making. So if people are recognizing that we’re tighter, I think it’s because we’ve been putting in the time to get there.

Nathan Rosler (drums): Every day we play as a band we become more in sync with the music, with each other, with our own instruments. Having our own to studio to play in whenever we feel the urge certainly helps, and now having a residency at the Bitter End, where we have 3 plus hours of stage time once or twice a month, has truly been paramount in the evolution of Sprocket. Playing 45 minute sets and other venues just didn’t give us the ability to really stretch our legs and take tunes for a walk. Now we have that and couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

Let’s talk about the band’s residency at the Bitter End. What prompted the long run at the club? Has it been memorable?

Thomas Tompkins: Our first show at the Bitter End came on a whim. The booking agent there reached out to us about playing the club. We played the bar Wicked Willy’s, located right down the block from the Bitter End, and were told to turn down, which is complete and utter nonsense if you ask me. Anyways, that’s how we got our first show at the Bitter End. We discussed the residency with them after. In NYC, the typical show for your no-name band is 45-minute “one and done” sets, which doesn’t really cater to what we’re trying to do very well. The Bitter End was willing to give us the time we so desperately wanted and needed on stage to continue moving forward. It’s one thing to practice in our studio where communication is generally very easy between us, but in the live setting it’s an entirely different beast.

I understand Sprocket has been hard at work in the studio, meticulously crafting its first album. Will you briefly describe Tropical Bushwick ?

Thomas Tompkins: We sure have been! Tropical Bushwick is a place both real and fake. It started off as a tongue-in-cheek thing. Our old rehearsal studio, much like our new one but not nearly as cool, is right off Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn. You see some crazy shit over there every now and then, and Tropical Bushwick almost sounds like a nice place, but it’s really not..but it is. The songs on the album are all related in some way, which I can’t divulge at this time, but some of the artwork which will be included in the album will give some idea of what’s in store.

Dan Haller: The album has been a great accomplishment for us. We sat down as a band at the end of 2013 to recognize that it had been a great year for us. We came a long way and while we embraced the progress we’d made, we looked to push even harder to get to where we wanted to go as a band. So we asked ourselves what we wanted to accomplish in 2014 and made a list of goals for the year. Recording an album was the first thing on the list and we began doing it on January 1st. So it’s incredibly satisfying to sit here, not two months into the year, and say that we’ve already accomplished one of the big goals for the year.

Nathan Rosler: Tropical Bushwick is a fantasy world in which all things Sprocket live. Not to say it’s a concept album, but we really enjoy the possibility of all our songs having some kind of unified thread. I believe the world we started to create with Tropical Bushwick is just that.

Angelo Miliano: Tropical Bushwick is a fictitious place in the fictitious Sprocket world that we hope to create. There are other places, and as we grow, hopefully that world grows with us, too.

When should we expect a full-scale Sprocket tour?

Dan Haller: We’re shooting for late summer/early fall. Touring is another one of our goals for 2014 and as long as we keep pushing the way that we have been so far this year, it’s going to happen. It takes a lot of work for a band to break into new cities and fan bases, so we’re looking for all the help we can get and have gotten some great responses so far. Hopefully this year will see Sprocket taking the stage at a few festivals over the summer, and then we will hit the road when schools are getting back in session. We’re ambitious but we work hard, so we feel like we can accomplish pretty much anything we set as our goals. - Jambands.com

"Blips Update: Sprocket Releases Tropical Bushwick"

Back in November, we introduced JamBase readers to Sprocket as one of our favorite up and coming bands. We expected to see big things from the Brooklyn-based jam band this year, but little did we know in just a few short months they would knock out their debut full-length album Tropical Bushwick start to finish. The debut provides a snapshot of nine Sprocket original staples including standout tracks "Headway" and "Cube."

New York City residents might know Sprocket for their ongoing weekend residency at the Bitter End, which we assume has the venue seriously questioning their tables and chairs policy as hardly anyone could possibly sit down during one of the jams that have been emerging from the famed stage in front of the bricks. Fans of Phish and traditional guitar/bass/keys/drums jam band lineups should consider giving Sprocket a serious listen.

We caught up with the band to get a closer look into all things Sprocket.

Ryan Dembinsky: Can you describe how the band formed and how you all met?

Sprocket: Dan (Haller), Nate (Rosler) and Tom (Tompkins) had been playing together in a different band, and after that band broke up they felt like there was a deep musical connection. Sharing the same views on writing and performing music, we decided to continue on. At first it was pretty casual, but as we played more and more, it quickly became an obsession. Eventually, we felt like progress (especially harmonically) was not moving along as fast as we'd have liked, so we went about trying to find a fourth member that would round out our sonic capabilities.

Ryan Dembinsky: It seems like the addition of keys represented a real inflection point in the progress of the band. How has the addition of Angelo (Miliano) helped you guys evolve?

Sprocket: Incorporating the keyboards allowed us to expand our musical palate both harmonically and creatively. We felt like as a three-piece we weren't able to open up as much harmonically and were relying too much on rhythm. There was a time that, as a three- piece, we considered calling ourselves "The Meatpocket Groove Machine" because we thought that our best stuff was when we would all play a part of the rhythm section. But in order to fully realize Sprocket, we knew we needed another harmonic contributor.

Ryan Dembinsky: I find it’s less and less common to find bands these days who openly confess to being a jam band, but you guys seem to be totally on board with it. Is everyone in the band a longtime member of the so-called jam scene?

Sprocket: We think of ourselves as a rock band, but we like to improvise on stage and in the studio. We certainly embrace the ethos that is found in the jam band scene (freedom of musical expression), but "jam band" is a really broad genre. Some of the greatest rock bands of all time were technically jam bands on stage (Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Etc.). We like to think that we're a classic rock band in that vein. We write and play composed music, but embrace the freedom that we find when jamming.

But to answer your question, all of us have been participating in the jam band scene in one way or another since the moment we each discovered it existed.

Ryan Dembinsky: So you guys cranked this album out in short order, but it’s clearly very complex music. How much work went into the process? Was this mostly a DIY effort or did you have an engineer on board?

Sprocket: Luckily, Angelo is a very experienced engineer and we were able to do this album completely DIY in 49 days start to finish. We had been writing and working on the material for months, until we were happy with the versions of our songs that would be going on the album. Then, we laid out a plan of attack to record in which we took a month off of gigging so we could focus on recording. We stuck to our schedule and two months later, we had Tropical Bushwick.

Ryan Dembinsky: So give us the blow by blow. What goes on at a typical Sprocket practice?

Sprocket: We try to focus on learning new music as much as possible. We have a whiteboard in our room where we keep track of the next few songs we are trying to learn at all times. Currently, we only have one black marker, but we are looking to expand our color palate soon. We usually warm up by jamming a bit, either on a groove that any one of us starts, or on a song structure or fragment that one of us had been thinking of/working on. Then, we'll talk about what we want to get done, like specific songs we want to work on. Usually there will be a show coming up that we want to debut certain songs at, so we will focus on trying to get that music stage-ready. The rest of the time we're in the studio, we're working on our tightness, general vocal work and improvisation.

We all love coming to rehearsal, so it really doesn't feel like "work" even though we really do work very hard at what we're doing. We also like to laugh and mess around on stuff that will never see the light of day, so it wouldn't be totally out of the question to hear us break into a random "Born On The Bayou." At one rehearsal, we spent the whole time coming up with what ice cream truck songs would sound like if they were written by The Grateful Dead.

Ryan Dembinsky: For Tom, in terms of your guitar playing and music writing, you have a very unmistakable Trey influence. What are some of the most important things you’ve learned from him as a guitarist?

Tom Tompkins: I first started playing music as a trombonist, but picked up a guitar because of Trey, when I was 10-years-old. In my formative years I listened to early '90s Phish constantly (in fact, I had the band's New Year's show from 1993 at the Worcester Centrum in my walkman at all times). The ferocity and raw emotion I felt coming from his guitar was the best thing I had ever heard, and that quickly became the "right" attitude to have on guitar. In terms of songwriting, I love his early fugues and how he would have a common passing tone through his chord progressions (like in "Esther" or "Lizards"). That's been a direct influence on my songwriting style. I like to think that I have taken these ideas that I've learned from him and applied them (I hope) in new ways. But I also love and am heavily influenced by guitarists like Grant Green, David Gilmour and Jimi Hendrix. It's all about raw expressive power. - Jambase.com

"Jambase Blips "Under the Radar Acts: Deap Vally and Sprocket""

It feels like a rare feat these days that a jamband turns up on our new music radar, but it’s always exciting when one does. Sprocket is a New York City-based jamband just ascending out of their Arlene’s Grocery era with a lineup comprised of crack shots on guitar, bass, keys and drums. The band does what few jambands in recent years have been able to do successfully, which is to seamlessly weave in between a lot of different styles. Most jambands these days do one thing well - typically playing funk or live electronica - but Sprocket does many. The band clearly has Phish roots and it’s evident in that their music includes funky grooves, anthemic major key hang gliders, non-boring progressive acrobatics, memorable lead melodies and thoughtful / quirky covers. - Jambase.com

"Sprocket Likes To Rock It"

New York City jam foursome Sprocket has only existed for a few years, but the group has already built up a devoted fan base in the area due to a steady flow of well-received area gigs, primarily late night affairs at Greenwich Village mainstay The Bitter End. Drawing inspiration from influences as varied as Phish and Super Mario Brothers, the band has developed a pleasant mix of originals, covers, and always intriguing improvisation, and they seem to improve with every gig.

Last month, the group dropped their debut album entitled Tropical Bushwick, sourcing material culled from marathon practice sessions and relentless songwriting for a collection of tunes that bodes well for the group’s future. The album opens with “Cube,” a rollicking instrumental excursion that kicks off with a roiling piano-laden call to action before veering towards shimmering distortion, and winding back at the resplendence of the intro replete with wistful lead guitar and progression reminiscent of both Rift-era Phish and Anchor Drops-era Umphrey’s, a triumphant opening to a tortuous musical journey.

“Bad Jones” follows with an ominous bass line soon giving way to a sordid tale of love gone sour. Growling metal vocals underscore slithering leads and deceptively blissful instrumentation. Soaring guitar and searing organ squelch punctuate the tune’s lyrics of regret: “You told me once that you’re no good, and I never blamed you like I should.” The subsequent title track is a tongue-in-cheek nod to the group’s gritty home base of Bushwick, a decidedly non-tropical environs. Familiar tempos and themes reign in the lengthy instrumental section to pleasing effect, briefly dipping into mellower territory before dropping back into the verse and peaking with a waltz-esque coda.

Another bass intro lurches into the upbeat bad weather lamentation, “Trucks,” which follows in suit with the album’s seeming motif of darkness interspersed with glee, the sunshine washing away the tribulations of urban malaise. ”Project 61″ continues the theme of bliss, riffing on luminescence and taking the listener on a journey from ambient style jams to more carefully orchestrated staccato funk and back again, culminating in a tasty finish. ”Wagon Tale” departs from the style of the first half of the album for a yearning wayfarer country ballad, with detours into surf rock bridges while still retaining the jammy flavor of the album at large.

“Headway” starts off relatively tepid, but redeems itself just past the midway point with perhaps the most inspired solo of the album. The tune, like the majority of the band’s canon, seems especially apt to thrive in a live setting. Betraying the anticipated outlaw country of its namesake, “Man In Black” returns to the rockabilly flavor hinted at earlier in the album for a swinging tale of a wild west barroom scofflaw. The slow burner “Red Light” punctuates the solid collection with a universally relatable story of a vicious cycle, forgoing lengthy jams and wrapping up succinctly with fading cymbals.

The album is available now on iTunes.

Check out some tunes on the band’s SoundCloud and catch them live at The Bitter End on April 19th. - Sensible Reason


"Tropical Bushwick" released March 1st, 2014



Sprocket has been bringing their special brand of improvisational rock music to stages around the Northeast since 2013.  Embodying the spirit of classic rock while drawing from a modern sound palate, Sprocket continues to generate a unique party atmosphere everywhere they go.

The band has been featured and reviewed on notable publications such as Jambase, Jambands, Dubera, SensibleReason, Upstate Live, NYSMusic and TheBarnPresents, all of which can be found on the band's website:http://www.sprocket.nyc/

Recently, the band has continued to build up their fanbase and presence in the live music scene. transitioning from residencies at The Bitter End and The Knitting Factory to rocking the stages at Brooklyn Bowl and Webster Hall along with ventures to Boston, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and even a sold-out GD50 after-party at the Hard Rock in Chicago. The band has been broadcast on FM and internet streams during special live in-studio performances, and most recently they had the honor of performing an acoustic set at the Relix office in Manhattan.

The band keeps on pushing forward together as musicians and friends, who have become brothers in sound. The fun has just begun.

Band Members