The Dionysus Effect -Garage Rock With a Dip into Ska, and a Storied Journey-By: Liam Sweeny
Written by Staff on July 2, 2021
A new band is a seed. It can grow to create an incredible sound. It can grow to create
its own sound, indistinguishable from any other thing out there. And in some cases, it
creates that unique sound from the first sprout.
The Dionysus Effect has a unique sound. It came from the ground pumping out
tight, well-formed grooves. All they need to grow is a steady wining.
I sit with singer Christoph Paul and we discuss haunted MP3s.
RRX: The band name, The Dionysus Effect. Let’s pretend I’m too lazy to look up
the term. It’s 4:30am, so we don’t have to pretend that much. So, The Dionysus Effect,
what does it mean? And take us into the war room when you picked the name. Was it a
long deliberation, or did you all just know?
CP: Sean, our guitar player came up with the name at his studio. The name just felt
right. It’s that feeling you get at a good rock show you where you feel high on those
Dionysian energies. I love most music genres but rock n roll will always be the music of
Dionysus. It just made sense. We want rock fans to feel something when they hear our
songs, we want to bring that Dionysus Effect.
RRX: You have a song called “In Defense of Ska,” that plays on This is Ska Radio,
which plays out to 17 radio stations. It’s also the name of a book published by CLASH
Books. Is this a one-off, or are you naming other songs after books?
CP: It’s funny cause none of the band members are big ska fans. I told the author,
Aaron Carnes, that my rock band will record a catchy af ska song about his book if he
sold a certain number of books from the CLASH Books website. Well shit, he doubled
that number and the band agreed to record the song. We ended up loving the song.
Even though we are rock dudes we saw how fun ska can be. Will we record other ska songs?
Probably not, but we had fun. You know, everyone has a day job. Mine just happens to be editing books—
for my press and freelancing. As a musician you are influenced by your job and when
you read and edit a book over five times, it will influence you. So yeah, I have a few
more. I wrote a song about a book called Darryl by Jackie Ess, and Girl Like a Bomb by
Autumn Christian. “Darryl” will be on the debut album. Also, if we ever get in a bidding
war with an agent, I’d be down to add that The Dionysus Effect will record a song about
the book in the contract.
RRX: The book the song is named after, “In Defense of Ska,” was quoted in a
Rolling Stones article. As far as the song, it may be six degrees of Kevin Bacon, but as far
as you being the publisher of that book, it’s gotta be heaven. How did you find out about
CP: I feel like this is a Gene Simmonsesque moment of cross-branding and business
maneuvering. I’m really grateful for how well the book is doing. A friend from Twitter
took a pic and tagged us. It was just surreal. I’d obviously love to be in Rolling Stone as a
musician, but it still feels pretty damn awesome to be in there as a publisher. I’m
definitely living in ska heaven right now.
RRX: So, you are the publisher of CLASH Books, with your wife, Leza Cantoral.
And CLASH has a really interesting collection, some of which we’ve featured here. So, do
you think books surrounding the music scene, music genres, etc. have any kind of
advantage in getting out there? Do you think there could be a “music fiction” genre
CP: My life is pretty much books and rock n roll so I’m all for mixing those two
things I love. I think it all comes down to fans and how passionate they are. I learned
right away how passionate ska fans were with the sale of the ska book. As an editor you
end up reading a book at least five times and that book will inevitably affect and
influence you. Songs come from all types of places, why not books too?
RRX: You all recently played your first show as The Dionysus Effect. Let’s hit the
five ‘W’s – where, when, and how was it. Okay, two W’s and an H. There’s always so
much energy on a first set, between excitement and nerves. Even if it’s back in your
mind, you always know you’ll remember it forever (if you’re sharp.) So, what will you all
CP: It was just fun to be up there. I love playing live. We’ve been so much about
song-writing during Covid but now I feel that fire to share these songs and play them
well. I feed on the energy and just seeing people dancing to our songs—there’s nothing
RRX: Now that you’ve got the first show under your belt, do you have other shows
on the docket? Any festivals or goings on you have your eyes on? Your first album drops
in September – do you plan on doing a show for it, or at least a barbeque?
CP: We definitely want to be gigging this Fall. We’d love to play all over the Capital
Region and NYC/NYC adjacent shows. Not sure about barbeques but would love to play
some college parties.
RRX: This is where you answer the question I didn’t ask. What’s the proper wine
for the Effect? What exactly is the defense of Ska? Educate, enlighten, emote – the floor
CP: Man, I love wine and Dionysus but right now for the effect to happen is to see
people drinking a cold beer with us playing live at a venue. That’s how the true effect
happens. With defending ska, you either gotta read the book or listen to the song.