EOTO: A New Kind of Dub-step
“San Diego is super special for me, we are ready to dive right in for you guys and rage it Friday and Saturday night,” said Jason Hann of EOTO before their two night run at Winston’s in Ocean Beach this past weekend.
EOTO is a 100% live improvisational electronic, dub-step group that is one of the most successful side projects of the popular jam band, The String Cheese Incident. The group was started by percussionists Michael Travis and Jason Hann in 2006 when String Cheese was on hiatus, and they made their first live appearance at the Sonic Bloom festival in Bellvue, Colorado that May. The idea to move electric was born, of course, through jamming. It began as a way for the two to unwind and have fun after String Cheese rehearsals and eventually progressed into the innovative dub-step phenonemnon that we saw taking over the music scene in Ocean Beach this past weekend. Jason, who lives in California explained, “I would usually stay at Travis’ house after practices in Colorado and we would come home, set up some instruments and just jam…eventually we had the most fun playing electronic stuff and looping different parts. Once we realized that String Cheese would be breaking up we decided to take this thing and go for it. We started at the first Sonic Bloom and eventually began booking about 200 shows a year which just allowed us to get better and better.”
EOTO’s live, improvisational style and use of organic instruments stays true to the jam band roots but lets out electronic reverberations that send the crowd into a rave like, whomping motion. With their unique style and incredible energy, they have certainly found their place in the electronic/dubstep movement that has become so prevalent in music today. When asked if he thought EOTO’s music contributed to any sort of cultural revolution, Hann answered, “Our music is about working toward living together, respecting each other and just letting your freak flag fly and not feeling the pressure of the drama that exists on a day to day basis. EOTO is part of a musical revolution. The technologies we use combined with sites like YouTube and Myspace are allowing young kids to learn and produce music, and they look to band like us to help them learn how to make it.” Even other artists have taken tips from EOTO— after opening for them on a west coast tour, popular electronic artist Mimosa asked Hann about the voice box effect that he used during the show and began using it in his own recordings.
EOTO has toured all over, visiting cities around the country both big and small. They stand out in the electronic genre because they are not simply a DJ layering beats, but musicians playing off of one another’s melodic vibrations. As Hann put it, “It separates us from anything else that is going on in that scene, it’s all super connected. The way that we approach it is that you should be able to rage your face off, close your eyes, bend into the moment and get as deep as you want to get. You know it has a different kind of impact on people that care, people that understand it’s not just someone pushing buttons. It’s really weird seeing a band making noises that some producers and artists spend hours in a studio trying to create.”
It is clear that whether or not fans are aware of the innovative methods being used, they like what they hear. EOTO over sold by 40 tickets their first night at Winston’s and had similar success the second night. Crowds of people, of all ages, flooded into the small venue to see the duo and they were not disappointed. It was a great time for both the musicians and the crowds that danced until almost 2am both nights. EOTO is currently on spring tour, cruising through the southwest the month of March and hitting the east coast in the month of April. The group will also be working with renowned visual artist, Zebbler, later on in the tour who will be adding even more entertainment to the act with his construction of the visuals for the show. They are a talent to keep an eye on through the summer months as well with performances scheduled at festivals like Summer Camp, Wakarusa and recently announced Electric Forest.
By: Mackenzie Gilchrist and Marisa Marlowe