The following 3 tracks were recorded live via LostinSound‘s newly acquired audio recorder at EOTO‘s show at Harpers Ferry on October 17th, 2009. ENJOI!
After the sold out Harper’s Ferry show (presented by JMP Live) ended, most of those in attendance, as well as those who couldn’t get in at all, were looking for that one spot in Allston where everyone would gather to rage after EOTO‘s inspiring set. The residents of 20 Pratt St. knew they wanted to offer up their house for the afterparty, so they booked DJ Jaminic to spin in the basement and hauled a 1/2 keg of Pabst Blue Ribbon into the kitchen. Being one of those residents, I had a bad feeling that the entire under-21 show would attempt to make their way into our basement, filling up the place with too many strangers who would cause chaos and unrest. I was right.
An hour after the show, most of the space in the house was completely full. People were somehow still making their way through the front door, a line of people kicked at the back door, and groups of people were unmonitored by us residents and our friends watching out for the house. There was even some deranged homeless guy with a bottle of Seagram’s who was harassing the girls trying to clear him off the premises. At that point, I was handed Leah DiBiccari’s cell phone who’s caller ID read “Jason Hann” and I confirmed that it would be alright if the band headed over soon. We made a group decision to kick the people we didn’t recognize or know out of the house. The music was shut down and the randoms started piling out, as I saw Jason Hann scramble downstairs to the basement, smiling and giving me a wave.
It was perfect timing to get the party on a more comfortable level, as Michael Travis and Jason Hann began playing our instruments on the basement stage. It was an amazing feeling to know that two legendary musicians (formerly of String Cheese Incident) were having fun knocking back a few beers and playing improv with my roommates in the basement. I noticed that during the show, and at 20 Pratt throughout the night, these guys were constantly smiling. Its pretty clear that EOTO loves what they do and the people they play for. The LostinSound crew informed me that Hann had happily agreed to an interview for the site, so I went into one of the upstairs bedrooms and typed up a list of questions on the spot. After a quick pep talk with my Space Carrot, Hann came into the room and the LiS crew listened as he recorded the following interview:
JASON HANN INTERVIEW
R: What was your favorite festival this summer?
J: Rothbury was definitely amazing, and Shambala, which is up in Canada near Nelson, B.C. That’s a really incredible festival because of the way its laid out, the way its run, and the amount of inspiration I come away with. A lot of the festivals we go to have similar lineups, bands that we’ve seen a lot, and that’s great for the kids in the area who don’t get to see them a lot but going to Shambala is just such a different thing. It’s so different from any other festival, so we like that a lot. And Rothbury was just run so well, everyone’s bringing their A-game, it’s a special place, and incredible amounts of fun.
R: When did you start incorporating a vocoder into your live performances?
J: I don’t speak into a vocoder, but Travis uses an MS 2000 vocoder with a microphone attached to the keyboard, and when he sings into the keyboard it combines his voice with whatever sound is on the keyboard at the time. In my world, I’ve created a lot of effects in the computer to affect my voice and make it sound like it’s coming through an AM radio, or a bullhorn, things like that. I also have a pedal that’s tied into my microphone that lets me change the pitch. I can make myself sound like a robot voice, a low voice, a woman, a little child… it does all these things, just to have some kind of variation.
R: If you had to guess, how many unique songs would you say you’ve created this summer?
J: Oh my god dude, I don’t even know how many we do during a set. It’s gotta be in the thousands just from the summer. There’s these two guys who live in Colorado who go through an entire set, break it down into songs, name them and archive them.
R: Could you describe what you believe would be an ideal future for the underground live music community?
J: As far as EOTO goes, I think one thing that we really try to do is… well you know, there’s other bands out there where there’s almost a character the kids have to be to go to a show, with the flat brim cap, part super ghetto.. I think what we’re doing, even though we’re playing Dubstep and gnarlier sounds, it’s still all about people dancing together and partying together. We don’t care, wear tie dye, be an urbanite, whatever, just come down and get down. We’re not trying to do anything more than playing music that people just wanna get down together with. Some people purposely go for a certain type of crowd that they want at their show… we just want everyone to come and have a good time, and overall put out a positive vibe. That’s the similarity with String Cheese- it’s about people gathering, looking at each other with smiles on their faces.
R: What musicians do you find yourself listening to lately?
J: I’ll go down the list of DJ’s I like a lot: Excision, SPL, Roommate, Headhunter… I like the UK guys, Nero, Caspa, Rusko and Benga.
R: EOTO seems like it’s constantly on tour. What keeps you on the road?
J: One thing that probably keeps us the freshest, since were improvising every night, is that we don’t really get a chance to get sick of the same songs. Even if we get a little bit tired of what we’re doing, we encourage it to push on and become the next thing. Even if the same theme comes up during a couple of shows, by the fourth show it’s developed into something completely different. Hopefully people that haven’t seen us for even a few weeks will come back and say wow, your sound has changed. That keeps it fresh, and the other part is, we’re working our asses off. If you’re a new band trying to do it, every city you go into, try and find some people to street team, try and get the word out to make that city count. Make sure you go back to that city again. Even if no one shows up, you gotta go back there, you gotta make it count. It’s so easy to book a gig, go to the city, and depend on the promoter to get people there for you, but the truth of the matter is that most of the time clubs that have bands every night of the week don’t promote hard for any one of those bands in particular. You just have to be all over trying to get people from the area, ask them to help get the word out next time you come through. It’s so important, it takes a lot more work to do that, but you’ve just got to do that. We’re seeing other guys from String Cheese going on tour and they’re having a hard time too. It’s definitely a reality check that you can’t depend on being part of a big band to get people to come out, you have to go out there and work it still. When String Cheese played in 2006 at the Tweeter Center in Boston, EOTO did an aftershow at Harper’s Ferry, and only 7 people showed up.
R: Can you describe the differences between PRAANG and EOTO?
J: EOTO is just me and Travis doing our thing, PRAANG is me and Travis doing our thing with the addition of Steve Kimock doing his thing and Jamie Janover doing his thing. Travis and I throw down a dance beat but Steve plays guitar solos over it, which makes us play differently, makes us play a little more like a band interacting, so we don’t necessarily adhere to the same things that we do when Travis and I are just a straight dance band, as far as the pacing. In PRAANG, we listen to how the guitar solo is building and follow that, and try to take it to a different place, then do something else and make some other transition. So it’s great, but it sounds pretty dang different than EOTO. We haven’t done any Dubstep with Steve Kimock yet, so it’ll be interesting to see what he does with that.
R: Is String Cheese Incident interested in touring again?
J: I don’t think anyone is interested in touring, like for example, a three week run Monday to Sunday. What we’re interested in doing is, when we do get together, making them super special shows, like Rothbury, and making that as incredible an experience as possible. In this day and age, if you’re trying to tour in a bus, you get your ass kicked all the time, it’s super expensive to be on the road, and playing the same songs… that can be rough. If we’re just doing a few shows, and making every one of them count, that’s awesome. What’s important in the String Cheese world is that when we do get together, that it’s way over the top and people leave saying that was awesome. It’s about making it special.
With their new EP “Fire the Lazers!“, Michael Travis and Jason Hann continue to provide amazing tracks for us to get down and grimy to anytime, anywhere; house parties, long car rides, or through our headphone earbuds. Whether it be Hann‘s pulsating high hat/snare progressions, or Travis‘ cool conglomeration of looped synthlines and womp workings, EOTO‘s improvisational superiority shines throughout.
I would have to say that all of these tracks are notable as far as the fun/weird factor goes, but “Are We Deady” and “Flying Red” are the musical lazer beams that really illuminate this album. I think I have clocked in probably around 60 minutes straight of soulful dancing to these two songs in the past 24 hours. Once again, as with so many EOTO recordings, there are various points and breaks which have the unique EOTO element we know so well. Alongside this quality constant, there are sections of songs in which the sound is so unfamiliar and “out there” that I can hardly tell I am listening to them still. I’d have to say this is one of my favorite aspects about EOTO; they are constantly improvising, constantly innovating.
Remaining Fall/Winter Tour Dates
Oct 26 2009.Attitudes w/DJ Rahbee.Blacksburg, Virginia
Oct 27 2009.Cosmic Charlies.Lexington, Kentucky
Oct 28 2009.Old Rock House.St. Louis, Missouri
Oct 29 2009.Bourbon Theatre.Lincoln, Nebraska
Oct 30 2009.Gothic Theatre w/ Zilla, Lynx and Janover AND a secret DJ. Englewood, Colorado
Oct 31 2009.The Grenada.Lawrence, Kansas
Nov 27 2009.the Grenada Theatre.Dallas, Texas
Nov 28 2009.the Grenada Theatre.Dallas, Texas
Nov 29 2009.the Conservatory. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Dec 1 2009.Georges Majestic Lounge.Fayetteville, Arkansas
Dec 2 2009.Revolution Room.Little Rock, Arkansas
Dec 3 2009.the Blue Note.Columbia, Missouri
Dec 4 2009.the Exit In.Nashville
Dec 5 2009.The Canopy Club.Urbana, Illinois
Dec 6 2009.Mad Frog.Cinncinati, Ohio
Dec 7 2009.the Hideaway saloon.Louisville, Kentucky
Dec 8 2009.club 828.Asheville, North Carolina
Dec 9 2009.the Apache cafe.Atlanta, Georgia
Dec 10 2009.The Engine Room.Tallahassee, Florida
Dec 11 2009.Freebird Live.Jacksonville, Florida
Dec 12 2009.The Pour House.Charleston, South Carolina
Dec 13 2009.The Soap Box.Wilmington, North Carolina
Dec 14 2009.Club Catalyst.Knoxville, Tennessee
Dec 15 2009.Crossroads Cafe.Huntsville, Alabama
Dec 16 2009.Newbys.Memphis, Tennessee
Dec 17 2009.Hal and Mal’s.Jackson, Mississippi
Dec 18 2009.One Eyed Jacks.New Orleans, Louisiana
Dec 19 2009.Last Concert Cafe.Houston, Texas