Detroit is well-known for being a melting pot of musical styles. From Motown and funk to rock and techno, our residents have celebrated fusions between genres that yield innovative new sounds. This week, the Boulder-based electronic jam band EOTO bring their unique style of dance rock to the Motor City. Detroit Music Magazine had a chance to catch up with Jason Hann — one-half of the duo — as EOTO were preparing for a rare performance in Detroit.
EOTO last performed at this year’s Electric Forest Festival. The group — which also includes Michael Travis — have also played both Rothbury Festivals and most Electric Forest Festivals, as well as headlined each Electric Forest as members of The String Cheese Incident. In the past few years, The String Cheese Incident have held super-jams with other artists, including Lauryn Hill in 2014 and Skrillex in 2015. Hann reflected on how much fun it was for the band to have Skrillex perform live on stage with them as a front man, rather than as a DJ, and he also let us know we should be ready for more super-jams in the future.
EOTO have been performing for nearly a decade, and their style has evolved over that period. At times the group have focused more heavily on certain genres, but they have also tried to balance their sound without restricting themselves. Hann explained that their live performances are completely improvised; they do not play prerecorded tracks. This means all notes and vocals are played and looped live, without a safety net or rehearsal. Each performance is unique, allowing the band to incorporate an extremely diverse range of sound. Today their sets can range from house and electro to dubstep and drum’n’bass, as well as everything in between. Hann and Travis want to take the audience on a journey each night, and every show promises a different experience.
And what about Hann and Travis’ own sonic journey? What musical influences paved the long, strange trip that has brought EOTO to Detroit? EOTO’s earliest performances took inspiration from groups such as STS9, Lotus, Bassnectar, and Tipper, as well as UK act The Bays, who only performed improvised sets and did not release any music. After the duo were introduced to dubstep at the Shambhala Music Festival in 2008 by DJ Skream, their sound changed dramatically as they incorporated dub into their sets.
When asked about any potential future albums, Hann once again emphasized the band’s focus on live performances. While EOTO could easily jump in the studio and grind out new tracks much like they do in a live setting, it doesn’t feel right for them to reproduce their live performances without an audience. Hann explained that EOTO feeds off audience engagement, adjusting their sets based on crowd responses and pushing the sounds that evoke the most energy.
While Friday’s show may only be their second appearance in Detroit, EOTO are no stranger to the Great Lakes State. With strong followings in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and Pontiac, their favorite venues in Michigan have been the Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury and The Crofoot in Pontiac. Later this year, look out for an EOTO and Friends Midwest tour featuring members of Umphrey’s McGee. We are excited to see what the future has in store for EOTO and hope this performance marks the start of many more in Detroit.
EOTO perform with G Jones on Friday, August 21 at Populux. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $17.50 and can be purchased here.
Photo courtesy of eotomusic.com.